today I'm gonna show you how to perform Knee Tucks. The Knee Tuck is the first step of the Convict Conditioning Leg Raise Progression. This progression series was invented to build a solid core which is important for nearly every daily life movement (and also for almost every movement in every sport). The big advantages compared to crunches are that all abdominal muscles are involved in every exercise of the Leg Raise Progression (not just the central abs but every muscle of the waist) and that you build up functional strength (because muscles from the whole body interact within that exercise). For calisthenic beginners (like me) this exercise is a really hard one! I was used to do hundreds of crunches and other isolated ab exercises but when I started with the knee tucks I realised that my abdominal strength is not able to stabilize the whole body through the core. In my former routine was neither interaction within the midsection nor within the whole body. It takes some time until the core gets used to an exercise like this (actually it's more realistic than crunches but our bodies lost the ability of doing what they should do). Don't lose your motivation on this just because you can't manage a lot of reps in the first few sessions. Little by little your midsection will get used to it and you can increase your reps...some nice side effect are that you get a stone-hard core which prevents your vitals and improves your posture. So just keep on exercising and you'll see improvements in a short period.
Let's come to the how-to-perform explanation:
Sit down on an edge (chair, bench, bed etc.). Now lean back a little and grab the edges of your choosen seating-accomodation. Straighten your legs with your feet together like you can see at the beginning of the video (your heels should be a little above the floor). Now bring your knees up until they are around 6-10 inches from the chest (your abs should be tightly contracted). This movement should last 2 seconds. Hold this finish position for 1 second. Now move back slowly to the start position (2 seconds). Start the next rep. Your feet shouldn't touch the ground during the exercise and your stomach should be at work the whole time! If you can't manage to meet the target instantly, do as much reps as possible until you can do the requested amount. The 2-1-2 cadence is very reasonable for this exercise (ab muscles have mostly slow-twitch fibres). No shortcuts allowed here!
Target: 3 sets of 40 reps
Paul recommends to do this exercise only once a week but I prefer to do it twice (see "The Plan").
At my youtube channel (Andreas Heller) you can already find more videos to the Progression Series (I'm gonna explain the exercises in further postings).