Advanced Abdominal Exercise Progressions – The Jacknife

For most of us in North America, beach season is now officially over. I experienced this first hand with the chilly downpour I was trekking through yesterday.

I also know this to be true because I get less and less questions like, "How do I get ripped abs?"

It’s not only the regular population that asks me these things, but also the pro and amateur fighters I train.

Well the short answer to the question is – eat clean. Super clean.

So clean that Mr. Clean feels like he hasn’t showered for 3 days.

Do that long enough and you’re bound to have a chiseled mid-section worthy of washboard status.

But with respect to exercise, training the core is all about function.

One of the most important concepts to understand and train is your ability to activate your hip flexors (psoas/iliacus) while maintaining core stability.

This becomes especially important when you’re throwing knees or kicks.

If you’re like most people I work with, whenever you fire your hip flexors, your abs automatically crunch and your pelvis tilts under (posterior tilt).

This is NOT beneficial because you lose the ability to rotate through the hips when it’s not in neutral position, decreasing the amount of rotation you get when you throw a roundhouse or big knee, thus decreasing it’s power.

Also, doing this brings your face closer to your opponent, so you’re head is more in range of your opponents counter-attacks – not good unless you enjoy getting KTFO!

So the video below will show you a simple exercise progression you can use to train this extremely important quality to improve the power of your kicks by increasing the strength of your hip flexors and improving your ability to stabilize your core when your hip flexors fire.

Work your way up to 15 repetitions of each progression in PERFECT FORM before moving on to the next progression.

And after you watch the video, as always, I appreciate 2 things:

  1. Your Feedback, Comments and Questions
  2. Hitting the ‘Like’ button

Thanks!

And finally, here’s the vid ๐Ÿ™‚

In my Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning program, I have the Jacknife as a key exercise in the program.

If you’ve got the program and you feel ready to increase the difficulty of this exercise, use one of the variations that I show you in the video.

And if you want to make sure you’re doing this exercise at the right time in your program and it’s a part of a balanced and periodized program specifically for MMA, go get my Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program today:

 

 

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YaleDanHow To Kick HIGHER and Boost Kick POWERMikeJ Lu Rodriguez Recent comment authors
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Yale
Yale

Hey Eric, I’m from South Korea. Thanks for you great vids. I just have a question for you. What do you mean by eating clean? Low calories? Low fat? Low carbs? Um.. Let me tell you about my real problem. I started training MMA and crossfit 2 hours everday 5 times a week for about 2 months. My overall body looks much better and I do have pretty clear abs(But not shredded abs). But over the 2 months that I have been training, my body weight hasn’t changed much. I do have six packs, but my tummy bulges out. I think it is due to visceral fat. I have a healther diet than a normal person. I only have veggies and low fat milk and one egg for breakfast. For lunch I mainly have rice and sidedishes(Occasionally I eat burgers, pizza,etc. For dinner I have tofu salad. And after working… Read more ยป

Dan

Thanks, Eric. I’m 67 and my grandson got me to join him taking Karate classes (Tang Soo Do). Despite my lower back injury I can’t wait to try these exercises. I appreciate what you’re doing. Keep it up.

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[…] The Jacknife – this exercise trains your hip flexors; the single leg version is particularly helpful to improve kick power […]

Mike
Mike

Hey Eric,
I have a question regarding the progression of this exersise where you completely extend your body on the ball until it is straight. When i perform this exersise i sometimes experience this weird feeling in my lower back, it is not painful, it feels like my lower back is bending backwards, i watch myself do the exersise and my back seems predominantly straight so i dont know why i get this sensation of my back bending backwards. Is this normal? Do you think it is where im placing my feet on the ball? i find the closer the ball is to my hips when fully extended, the less i feel the stretch. Just wondering if youd know what it is or what i can do about it.

J Lu Rodriguez
J Lu Rodriguez

im always looking for variations to work my abs and this one is awesome Eric. Thanks for sharing all your trainnings that really work for MMA practicioners and fighters, you are a good inspiration.
God bless you

Will
Will

At 72 years of age I intend to avoid things like the squared circle like the plague. That said, I couldn’t wait to try the exercise out so I rolled out my stability ball, paused the play, and tried it. I loved the buzz I got with the two legged version. Will work on the stability for the one-legged version. An observation: remember to breathe!

Steve
Steve

Killer…thanks, never thought one doing the one legged version…will do

Ian

Yo Eric-

First off, thanks for your Bulletproof Back program, which helped me heal a moderate herniation that I had about 6 months ago while doing a bunch of yard work. The deep abdominal activations, psoas stretches, and posture suggestions (don’t let that lower back round forward!) have helped me to no end.

Anyways, this exercise you show here is a good one. My 62 year old dad does these sorts of swiss ball exercises a few times per week and kicks my ass as far as abdominal conditioning goes. I will try and incorporate these moves into my routine so I can put the old man in his place.

Thanks again,

Ian

jason
jason

Killer exercises! You have helped me to no end with your videos. Thanks, and keep them coming!

derek
derek

Hey man, ive been doing those exercises for quite a while now bt with a medecine ball and ive also been like,holding the ball in a clinch as though it was an oppenents head,then tensing my core,lifting the ball above my head and sort of mimicking the movement of the clinch knees,bringing the ball down quickly and stopping quickly again as my knees reach/come in line with my elbows,hope thats understandable,i added that and the jackknife to my workout regime in april for 2 weeks and got toned/ripped sooo easily! jst wanted to let you kno and see wat you think.
Write me back man looking forward to seein wat u think.

Eric

Try actually throwing the ball down when you throw the knee… adds some more explosiveness to the one you’re doing…

Mickael
Mickael

Nice!!! Is it ok to use a weight west? and what if you have your hands om a medicine ball?

Eric

For this exercise a weighted vest could be used but I’d be concerned about your form with it especially your posture. Don’t underestimate this exercise!

Francis Paquette
Francis Paquette

Nice exercice!! Love the variations!! Keep doing your great job!

matjaz

Hi Eric!

Thanks for your vid. very good explanation.

Best regards Mattias

Stevo108
Stevo108

Good, clear explanation. Thanks for taking the time to make the postural considerations so explicit.

Paul M
Paul M

Hey Eric, thanks for the vid! Best explanation/instruction i’ve seen of jacknife exercises!

I’m in week one of the UltimateMMA S&C Program, definitely looking forward to working towards this exercise in the next couple of months!

Garrett Ellison

Hey for the strength and conditioning book how do we send the money to you

Barrett
Barrett

Hey Eric great format .I’m in week 5 of your MMA Shred.I really appriciate
your attention to detail it really has helped me. Stay strong bro keep the
workouts coming. That new one the Flat Jack rules I really felt that one can’t wait to show it to the guy’s in the Muay Thai class.Your technique for work out progression was very helpful.

dragonmamma/naomi
dragonmamma/naomi

I know I can do the two-legged variation. I’ve got to try that one-legged version at the gym tomorrow; looks tricky. (But I still won’t get shredded abs; I’m too fond of chocolate!)

peter
peter

Great variations. They also fit with a new program I’m trying – add sets by the mad scientist.

mlo
mlo

Those look tough! I will be challenging my Core and MMA class with those next week. I very much appreciate you posting the video’s. Thanks Eric!

Eric

The Flat-Jack absolutely SHREDS the lower abdominals… ๐Ÿ™‚

Pete Williams

Fantastic stuff! I herniated a disc in my back training up to my last fight, fortunatly it popped AFTER! So this sort of stuff is great for when I can start training again, I figure there is going to be some serious atrophy in my erectors and my core strength! Since I am wearing a back brace…

Cheers Eric.

E-ROC
E-ROC

I’ve used the jacknife exercise before but I have never seen that variation. Good to know! I would do a jacknife exercise followed by a plyometric pushup. Good stuff as always.

ruddy
ruddy

Hi Eric!
Tu es parfait cou comment ?

Eric

Hi Ruddy.

Unfortunately I have NO IDEA what you just said… :/