So I had more than a few requests as to how
EXACTLY to perform the Russian Ballet Leg Thrust.
And apparently I pissed some of you off by
directly linking to Pavel’s “Bulletproof Abs.”
(He said “pissed off” – is he allowed to say that
in an email…???)
Mind fart there. Forgive me. (It was 6am so it
was quite possible I wasn’t firing on all
So here’s the first part of the Russian Ballet
Leg Thrust, which actually sounds easy but requires
some coordination and is actually quite tough on
It trains the abs to stabilize the spine against
your powerful hip flexors.
(Remember I recommended that you stretch your
hip flexors yesterday to help your back.)
And it also overloads the deep muscles of your
back, which are also important for spinal health.
Here’s how you do the first step in the Russian
Ballet Leg Thrust sequence, which, is harder than
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet
together on the floor, arms relaxed by your sides.
2. Lift one leg and point it straight at the ceiling
while the other one remains bent on the floor.
3. Flatten your lower back against the floor and
keep it there for the whole set.
4. Inhale and squeeze your butt and slowly lower
your leg with your toes pointed, knee locked.
5. Go as low as you can while keeping your lower
back pressed into the floor. You should feel your
abs contract pretty much automatically while you’re
lowering your leg and lifting it – especially if
you’re keeping your butt squeezed.
*You should not create any discomfort in your
lower back. If you do, don’t lower your leg as
far and make sure you’re pushing your back flat
against the floor.
6. Hold your breath for the whole movement (unless
your doc tells you otherwise). This will keep the
tension on your abs the whole time.
7. If you can make it to the floor with a straight
leg, you can relax it if you want before lifting
it back up, or you can do the “evil thing” that I
like to do –
… pause my outstretched leg just above the floor
and hold it for a second or two.
This keeps all the tension on my abs. Just remember
that you have to be able to do this while keeping your
lower back pressed into the floor. Otherwise you could
strain your lower back.
8. Perform 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps of this per leg
three times per week.
Take your time and really work on lowering your
legs slowly and under control.
This will really help you strengthen not only your
abs, but your lower back.
And more importantly, you’ll make your Swings more
explosive and will stop leaning back on the top.
Each one is progressively harder on your abs and
requires more control on your part. Of course, your
reward is a stronger set of abs.
And stronger abs = more explosive Swings = more
calories burned. Nice!
Back tomorrow with some more of my favorite – and
highly unusual ab exercises that have made my
kettlebell training much easier.
P.S. If you find these emails helpful, please feel
free to pass them along to your friends and family.