Vince Gironda Abdominal Exercise (say no to crunches?)

Under Exercises To Build Muscle, Muscle Building/Routines, Muscle Workout Videos

Hey… Vince Gironda held many weird convictions.  Demanding that athletes ingest handfuls of liver pills every 2 hours and insisting that no music shall ever be played during training sessions at his gym is one thing… but to chastise bodybuilder for doing abdominal crunches, is CRAZY!

Well, Girdona did just that…. he hated the traditional crunch exercise and even kicked out athletes who performed them at his gym.  But perhaps there IS some method to his madness.

In the following video I take a stab at why Vince may have hated crunches and invite you to consider an alternative movement in order to flatten the abdominal area.

I don’t expect everyone to love this video or the concepts discussed… but if you have any insights into into probable reasons why “The Iron Guru” never crunched, please share below!  I’d love to hear your ideas :)

Oh, and speaking about Mad Scientists who create crazy exercises and say wacky things like “over training is good for you.” Nick Nilsson has allowed us to give away Vince Gironda’s out-of-print document to anyone who tries out his Mad Scientist Muscle workout program…

Click Here to see what I’m talking about => http://www. madscientistmuscles.com

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24 Comments Add yours

  1. gina
    September 15, 2010
    3:43 am

    When you say vacuuming do you also mean drawing in manuever where you pull belly button to spine and hold

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    leanhybr Reply:

    Yes!

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  2. Josh
    September 15, 2010
    4:59 am

    Hey Elliott, awesome video. I was just wondering what exercises you suggest for the TVA and facia?
    I know about standard stomach vaccuums – lying/standing/seated. Are there any other better exercises?
    Thanks

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Vacuums as well as Paul Check’s “Horse Stace Exercises” – look them up.

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    russ Reply:

    I think you should read his courses-he only reccomends isolated movements like crunches-he was against sit-ups. I believe he was wrong-i built incredible abs at 16-and still have em by doing regular sit-ups. Sorry VInce but they work -you wont die from doing a reasonable amount of ab work. However he was right about reducing bodyfat first-they will never show if youve got 10lbs of extra fat covering them. And he was right about workout tempo and volume burning an incredible amount of enegy. Ab’s work as both stabilizers-statically for instance to stabalize while you are doing say overhead presses,etc. And dynamically when you are doing sit-ups, crunches. Sit ups are the compound exercise for the abs-much like squats are for the thighs.

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  3. mike
    September 15, 2010
    8:13 am

    Great information Elliot. Fantastic to have an explanation into body “mechanics” as opposed to simply saying “do this” or “don’t do that”. I have learned a lot of important stuff. I wonder how many ‘trainers’ at the girlie gyms these days know this stuff, or believe it?? I’m not a trainer, but I would like to be. But getting my accreditation here in Australia means going and learning the ‘wrong’ stuff… Waste of money/time. In the mean time, I’m working out Underground style in my backyard with water containers for weights and at a local playground which is on edge of lake (pullups (2 different grips), feet raised push ups, and inverted bodyweight rows) where I also sprint on the soft sand. It’s harder to lift a 45lb water container above my head than a barbell of same weight as have to control it not just press it. I do kettlebell movements with a water container. Anyhow, enough of that. Thanks again for the deeper insight into correct exercise. Cheers!

    [Reply]

    Lachlan Reply:

    Hey mike I wouldnt be so judgmental of the programs here in aus, I am a personal trainer and I did the course and yeah I didnt agree with a lot of the things that they taught but it gave me a much greater understanding of what people like eliot are talking about and means I dont have to wait for someone who has the expertise to explain it in detail for me like this. its well worth doing to broden your understanding of how the body works and how the fitness industry works, something to keep in mind

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    leanhybr Reply:

    Great job Mike. I agree with what Lachlan says, having a solid understanding of anatomy and physiology in paramount.

    [Reply]

  4. Michael
    September 15, 2010
    8:14 am

    You made a point I strongly agree with. For the past several years, I have nearly eliminated crunches from my programs. You explained how I felt in detail. I’m going to have to look up Vince Gironda. He sounds like a wild dude. Great post.

    [Reply]

  5. Milo
    September 15, 2010
    1:50 pm

    This is good stuff, old school physical culturists like Charles Atlas and Eugene Sandow used to use vacuuming to strengthen their abdominals. It’s a great exercise.

    [Reply]

  6. D.M. Saunders
    September 15, 2010
    2:47 pm

    Hey Professor Hulse! The education you provide is AWESOME… I’m not even sure how I landed on your page… but I am hooked. I will definitley become a Tribe member

    [Reply]

  7. Joe
    September 15, 2010
    3:05 pm

    Hey Elliott,
    Great video! I love when Vince’s teachings are “re-discovered” not as the ranting of an asshole but as the genius it really was. In my experience, the “no butt” syndrome isn’t from a posteriorly tilted pelvis, but an anteriorly tilted one. When the pelvis rotates forward, as you desribed perfectly, the femurs are now in a position of relative flexion to the pelvis. This means that in normal walking, the thighs do not reach the angle of extension that would activate the glutes enough to keep their mass. I have a theory that the hamstrings start doing most of the hip extension at those angles but haven’t seen any research confirming this. So in the end, after so many years of not using the glutes you get the big gut/no butt syndrome.

    Keep up the great content

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  8. Christopher
    September 15, 2010
    3:27 pm

    The discs have a certain limit to how many flexion moments they can take before they breaks. Each of our tissues has a capacity. While doing crunches, we work the abdominal and hip flexors, but we also load the anterior part of our discs, chipping away at their capacity. If we come too close to surpassing our capacity, the disc gets injured. Much better to train the abdominals as ANTI-flexors, ANTI-extensors, ANTI-rotators, ANTI-lateral flexors…where muscles get loaded practicing stability, and entire surface area of discs shares the load equally. Reference Stu McGIll.

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  9. justin
    September 15, 2010
    4:12 pm

    hi elliot,
    thank-you so much for the information,it was absolutely fascinating and you explained it,in a simple common sense way that anybody could understand.i’ve only just started getting emails from you,but i’ve learnt so much from you already.you certainly know your stuff.
    i live in south wales and the personal trainers i’ve spoken to and other so called experts,dont have a clue about any of this stuff.
    i’ve loving the vince gironda stuff,as i am a big fan of his.it would be great if you could clear up and explain his theories on diet and supplementation,and their relevance to us in this modern world we live in.do you yourself follow any of his diet and supplement recommedations.vince said that milk and egg was better than whey .be great to get your thoughts on this.
    i’d love to come over to USA,one day and have you train me in person.i know i could learn a hell of a lot from you.thanks,once again and i look forward to your next email.all the best for the future and i wish you continued success in your endevours.
    justin.

    [Reply]

  10. Wayne Danewood
    September 15, 2010
    4:54 pm

    this cinching you are talking about is done in power forms of Yoga such as Ashtanga and Sunpower ( the form I practice) in the intense breathing exercise ‘ ‘Kapalabhati” or ‘shining skull’ , it is a cardiovascualr exercise that dispels stale air from the body and hyper oxygenates the blood prior to a working session.

    At my Club we’ve had 2 body builders who’ve had massive improvements to their waist over a short period of time doing this exercise.

    [Reply]

  11. Bob Hess
    September 15, 2010
    6:49 pm

    Great job explaining that Elliott. I never completely understood it till now. I just finished a 26.2 mile inline skate marathon this past Saturday and my lower back got very sore and tired. It stayed that way for a few days but at least I know why, now. I intend to do more of these races next year and I would like to fix it so I don’t have to deal with that soreness and stiffness any more. Is there anything you could suggest to us to help with problems like this?

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Hey Bob… first, you’re a maniac!

    Next, you’ve got to be stretching your calves, hip flexors and pec minor on a daily basis… oh, and your adductors (groin)!

    search youtube for now, i may make a DVD all about this soon.

    [Reply]

  12. landon
    September 15, 2010
    6:56 pm

    I have a question!?!?

    First of all thank you very much for this video, probably one of the best pieces of advice for S&C I’ve ever heard or seen.

    With the vacuuming technique how long do you prescribe to hold it for, and should this be done during your workouts, when you’re just walking around, or anytime at all?

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    yea, ive done both…. while going about your day is really effective.

    [Reply]

  13. Leith
    September 15, 2010
    10:59 pm

    So how do you “vacuum”?
    I have been working my abs by lying down with my calves over the bench, weighing my legs down with a plate and then I hold a EZE curl bar (currently 50kgs) across my chest and sit up bringing my chest to my knees.
    I also perform weighted incline leg raises.
    I found dead lifts seem to balance it out.

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  14. Rich
    September 16, 2010
    2:03 am

    Dr. Kareem Samhouri (Dr. K) has a video on his web site (Double Edged Fat loss) that demonstrates the vacuum technique. Good stuff Elliott!!!!

    [Reply]

  15. wrestling workout
    October 8, 2010
    6:57 pm

    This is a great video Elliot. Thanks for taking the time to detail abdominal development without overdeveloping the hip flexors! It’s super important that is oftentimes forgotten about.

    [Reply]

  16. wrestler strength
    October 22, 2010
    11:41 am

    I started incorporating these concepts into my ab training…damn! They have never been more sore!!

    [Reply]

  17. Brian Lederman
    November 12, 2010
    11:53 pm

    Them reason todays bodybuilders have excessively thick waists is because of the rampid use of groth hormone. All athletes on all levels use it but bodybuilders are the worst. It makes all tissues grow, therefor with any “core” stimulation via stability the waist will grow. Squats, deadlifts and many other base exercises will stimulate this unwanted growth. Thats the reason why many of todays bodybuilders train like pussies- machines, cables, seated movements- to take that thoracic stabilization out of the workout. They don’t need those movements, the drugs do the work.

    [Reply]

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