When a member of the Wild Geese coaching team issues a challenge, it rarely goes unanswered.
On this particular occasion the challenge was to find an efficient way of doing a Janda Sit Up, without the need of a training partner or specialised kit.
Participants in this challenge were:
1 – Dave G, the challenger
2 – Dave H, the challenged.
Dave G is our resident Meat Head, if somebody can lift something, he has to better it. So far his max effort Deadlift is 200kg, why only so far? Because when our next delivery of equipment arrives, he’ll have more weight to play with and therefor undoubtedly go bigger. He also teaches Muay Thai.
Dave H is our resident conditioning coach. One of Dave’s specialties is problem solving, finding new and unusual training methods and working out how to get as much training done with the least amount of equipment.
The Janda Sit Up is a quite possibly the ultimate in training for the Rectus Abdominis, or the 6 pack muscle. Normally when we do a sit up or crunch style movement the hip flexors (Psoas muscles) are heavily involved. The way to remove them from the equation was discovered by Dr Janda.
The good Doctor realised that he could use reciprocal inhibition to stop the hip flexors firing. He saw that if the exerciser was to fire their Glutes and Hamstrings (the hip extensors) then the Psoas (hip flexors) would not fire.
For a quick and easy example of recipricol inhibition, take the bicep and flex it, this will bend the arm. It’s opposite number, the tricep relaxes to allow the arm to bend. The hip flexor and extensor muscles are no different.
The problem has always been to get the hip extensors working while in a position to work the abdominals. Usually a training partner is on hand to hold the ankles while the exerciser tries to pull his heels in towards his backside.
We don’t like having to rely on a training partner, so we look for methods of doing it without.
After a few false starts, Dave H stumbled across a solution.
The Lat Pull Down, a machine we never use. The cable is just long enough with a couple of extra karabiners to allow the bar to be hooked under the knees. With some weight added the Hip Extensors have to work to keep the feet in contact with the ground and the Psoas are effectively switched off.
In the video Dave G does a few reps with 10kg, Dave H jumps in and attempts 20kg on the pulley. Dave G then just shows off with 20kg at the end.