May 06, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
I discovered this unique abdominal exercise about a decade ago in the e-book The Bodybuilding Truth by Nelson Montana. According to Montana, abdominal development is genetically determined, and classic movements such as sit-ups and leg raises are ineffective for the abdominals but extremely effective for the psoas (hip flexor) muscles. Montana believes that the abdominals respond best to contraction, not movement, and are stressed to a much greater degree when attempting to stabilize. You’ll understand what he means by “attempting to stabilize” once you try the exercise.
Okay, this is how it works. Sit on the ground with your legs bent to about 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Tuck your chin into your chest, round your back, and grasp the outside of your thighs close to your knees. Now lean back until your arms are straight – make sure to keep your chin tucked in and back rounded while you’re doing this. Once your arms are fully extended, slowly raise them up until they are pointed directly overhead. If you find it difficult to maintain balance, you can move your feet out a bit to make it easier. The closer your feet are to your hips, the more challenging the exercise is, and vice versa. I typically prescribe 10-12 reps holding each contraction for 5-10 seconds.
For years I introduced this exercise as the “Montana Ab Stabilizer” but it did not catch on. I recently coined it the “Reclining Field Goal” instead and that scored! (People always remember a catchy name.) As I mention in my article On The Road To Inactivity, this exercise requires no equipment and can be performed anywhere. Drop to the floor right now and give it a shot. I think you’ll be surprised at how challenging it is.