3 Deadly Ab Training Mistakes … and How to Fix Them!

When we get a new person interested in training at our Sacramento, CA kettlebell gym …

Or, when someone inquires about my distance coaching program …

The first thing I ask them about is their goals!

Because I need to know exactly where they are at, what they are looking to accomplish, and if/how I can help.

One of the most common areas folks want to focus on and improve is their abs.

But even though so much new information on the best way to train your midsection has come to light in the last few years, a shocking number of people are doing it ALL WRONG when it comes to ab training.

That’s why I wanted to put together today’s article on - 3 Deadly Ab Training Mistakes … and How to Fix Them!



3 Deadly Ab Training Mistakes … and How to Fix Them!

1 – Wasting Time With Traditional Ab Exercises

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, took men and women participants and had them perform 7 of the most popular ab exercises, every workout, for 5 days/week.

The result?

They didn’t lose a single pound. Had no change in body fat percentage. And not an inch around their waist was lost.

So STOP doing traditional ab exercises, if you want results. Do movements like the ones described on this page instead.

2 – “Feeling The Burn” Not “Burning The Fat”

If your goal is to lose belly fat, isolated ab exercises like crunches and sit-ups are too small of a movement to create a fat burning effect.

Sure, you may “feel the burn” after a few hundred crunches, but don’t let it fool you… you’re doing nothing to melt the layers of fat covering your midsection.

For example – try the side plank with a hip lift. It works a TON of muscles in and around your core – you’ll feel it right away!

SIDE PLANK WITH HIP LIFT – Begin in a full plank, with hands under shoulders, and feet and thighs touching. Squeeze abdominals tightly and open right arm straight into the air turning body to the side so right foot rests on left foot. Squeeze through waistline and lift right leg up in line with hip. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to plank and switch sides.

3 – Not Enough Time Under Transition

The classic “bodybuilder’s way” of doing ab workouts with traditional sets and reps are a waste of time.

Athletes like Gymnasts however, maximize their time by engaging their core, while transitioning from one movement to the next.

This keeps belly shrinking tension on your core longer, so you can develop the flat midsection or startling six-pack you desire.



People everywhere are training their abs HARD, and are not getting the results they could be.

Following the tips in this article are a great start to get better results from your efforts.

Also be sure to check out the new Olympic Abs Training program – it codifies these concepts into an 8 week blueprint that you can use to get your midsection looking the best it ever has:


Here’s to abs by the end of summer! -

- Forest Vance
Certified Personal Trainer
Master of Science, Human Movement

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Barbell Complex Challenge Workout

Here is a another sample workout from the Challenge Complex program for you to try:

Choose a weight that you can use for ALL exercises. Try not to put the bar down throughout the set. Rest up to one minute between sets.

6 reps of each:

- Bent over row (hinge at the hips, keep that back flat!!)
- RDL (stands for Romanian Deadlift — back flat again, drive the butt back and load up those hamstrings)
- High pull (same hip hinge motion but make sure to keep the bar close to the body and snap the hips to get it up)
- Front squat (elbows up!!)
- Push press (hip drive to get that bar off the collar bone — you shouldn’t have to start pressing ’till the bar is past your eyes!)
- Burpee with push up (hands on OR off the bar for this one)

Do 4 to 6 rounds total.

Learn more about Shawna’s Challenge Complexes program and grab your copy here. 

Train hard, talk soon -

- Forest Vance
Master of Science, Human Movement
Certified Personal Trainer

PS - Be sure to check out the dumbbell complex workout I posted yesterday too if you haven’t yet:


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5x40x5 Dumbbell Complex (great travel, at-home workout)

I am in Vegas this weekend meeting with the Renegade Fitness Entrepreneurs group.

This has been a GREAT trip so far because:

- I flew out of a local, small airport, and it saved a TON of time and hassle
- I found a fantastic place to stay that is a bit off the strip (but still close to the action)
- The hotel has with all the ammenties that are important to me – including a great little workout room

HOWEVER – as I’m sure you know – travel is not always this smooth.

Many times there are hassles with airport parking, getting checked in, and delays. The hotel you end up at is not always ideal. And you can never count on there being a solid gym.

One piece of equipment that seems to be commonly available though is dumbbells. They have at least a few pairs in most all gyms. And most people also have a pair or two lying around at home.

Today’s workout is one from a program that I fall back on when travelling, or training at home, quite frequently – Challenge Complexes. It’s got 34 killer complexes like this one, that you can knock out quickly, for a great total – body workout anywhere:


5x40x5 Dumbbell Complex

Choose a weight that you can use for ALL exercises. Try not to put the DB’s down throughout the set.

Get as many reps as you can of each exercise in 40 seconds. NO rest between moves – “flow” from one move to the next.

Rest approx 30 seconds after completing full complex, repeat for 5 rounds:

front squat alternating shoulder press
push up renegade row
weighted burpee
wall sit alternating bicep curl
alternate 1 legged RDL

See the full program for video demos of each exercise


I love Challenge Complexes, and continue to come back to it (I’ve owned the program for 4 years!), because there are:

- 10 dumbbell complexes
- 17 barbell complexes
- 8 kettlebell complexes

To choose from.

It’s laid out so that you can use it as a full, on-going, structured routine … OR, you can pick a workout for one of your conditioning days while you are on the road, or at home, or whatever, and just get busy.

There are also GREAT ideas in this one if you are a trainer or coach, that you can use with your clients.

Try the sample workout, then get your copy of the full program:

Challenge Complexes

- Forest Vance
Master of Science, Human Movement
Certified Personal Trainer

PS - If you read the sales page closely, you’ll see MY testimonial for the program. That should tell you that I am serious when I recommend this program to you!

Learn more and get your copy of Challenge Complexes here

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Arnold’s “secret” muscle building technique

Have you ever heard of “loaded” or “resisted” stretching?

It’s one of the single most powerful techniques you can do for improving stubborn muscle groups.

Basically, you take a moderate weight, lower it into the maximum stretched position of a stretch-focused exercise, and hold.

Arnold used to do this in his workouts to build his incredible chest. He would hold the bottom position of a flye for 45-60 seconds (at the end of a chest workout when his pecs were pumped full of blood).

There is one key with this technique though, that even when some people try it, they often miss ..

You can’t just passively maintain the stretch. That will work to some extent, but if you want REAL results from this method, you have to “resist” it.

For example, take hanging from a pull up bar. Hang completely at the bottom of the movement for a full stretch, then pull your shoulders down into the sockets and activate your lats and get up into a bit of a hollow position … and hold that.

If it takes 20 units of muscle “energy” to actually pull yourself up, exert only 18 or 19, so you’re ALMOST doing it, but not quite.

The key thing is that you’re not really “stretching” like in the way you do with most static stretching…you’re resisting the load in the stretched position.

There is a big difference.

And you will feel this difference the first time you try it.

I had mentioned this new program yesterday. It’s called “Anabolic Stretching.

The focus of this program is on resisted/loaded stretching like I described above…and it can dramatically speed up muscle growth, strength, and recovery.

This stuff works.

I’ve actually used very similar protocols to what you’ll find in the Anabolic Stretching program in my own training. This is really good stuff.

And I’ll be straight up honest with you … the website is a little hypey. However, the actual program you’ll get is science-based, rock-solid and not expensive ($9).

It’s absolutely worth the price.

Give this stuff a try. You’ll like it a lot.

It’s not easy (in fact, it’s quite painful), but it WORKS.

Get your copy of Anabolic Stretching here.

Train hard, talk soon -

- Forest Vance

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Anabolic Stretching?

kettlebell stretching


That’s the first thing that I thought when I heard the term, “Anabolic Stretching“.

But the main problem with conventional stretching programs is that they often work against your body’s physiology, rather than with it.

So when I learned more about the concept, it started to make SO much sense.

You see, if you take a tight, cold muscle and expose it to prolonged “standard” stretching, you could incur scar tissue and micro-tearing, which could then lead to muscle weakness, inflexibility, and injury.

Obviously that’s not what we want.

What we want is to use stretching to supercharge your muscle, and bulletproof your body.

And that’s what Anabolic Stretching is all about!

I am now a big fan. I have started to implement these techniques to get even better results myself, and with my training clients.

The “big idea” of the anabolic stretching concept is to hold a moderate weight in the fully stretched position of an exercise for anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds.

An example would be to hang from a pull up bar for 30-60 seconds.

Or, to hold the bottom position of a KB pullover for the same amount of time.

You’d do this immediately post-workout, focusing on muscles you worked that day.

I will be back soon with more info on the method, with more sample routines and details on how to incorporate it into your training, etc … but if you are interested and think you could benefit from this, I highly recommend you just drop the 9 bux to get the full Anabolic Stretching program, using the link below:

Anabolic Stretching

To your stretching success!

- Forest Vance

PS - You probably didn’t know that stretching can dramatically speed up muscle growth, strength, and recovery. Learn more at the link below:

Anabolic Stretching

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Contrast Training

ct contrast training

Contrast training is another interesting way to incorporate power training into your workouts.

It’s based off what’s called “post-activation potentiation” (PAP). This is when a muscle’s explosive capability is enhanced when it is forced to perform maximal or near maximal contractions.

It’s a simple way to train strength AND power … but it also increases your work volume during a session, and can help improve overall work capacity!

In it’s simplest form, contrast training looks like this:

1) a loaded movement, followed by

2) an unloaded “equivilent” movement

For example – you do 5 reps of bench press at about 75%. Then, rest for 30 seconds, and perform 10 explosive push ups.

Another example – 5 trap bar deadlifts at about 75%. Rest for 30 seconds, and perform 10 squat jumps.

It’s nice way to incorporate strength with the lift, and power with the explosive move.

To see how to best incorporate this method into your training program, check out:

=> Pillars of Power Training

It is a course from Nick Tumminello and Fitness Revolution, just released this week (and currently up at 50% off thru tomorrow night to celebrate).

If you are a trainer yourself, or if you are a serious lifter, I highly recommend Pillars of Power Training.

– A Comprehensive 10-Video Course On Power Training
– A 66-Video Exercise Library
– 3 Power Training Bonuses

It is VERY extensive … and much of it is done in lecture – style by Nick, so you’ll really be able to sit down and absorb the info, and take extensive notes.

Of course, you also get the course in written format, so you can skip right to the good stuff too if you want :)

Check it out and get it on sale now using the special link below:

=> Pillars of Power Training

Train hard, talk soon! -

- Forest Vance
Master of Science, Human Movement
Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist

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interesting – 5 min breath routine to try before next workout ..

Logan Christopher – creator of the Upgrade Your Breath program – says:

“Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth with emphasizing breath as part of my routine. There’s just lots of different things to do in life. I’m always working to adapt and shift what I’m doing.

Lately, I added breath work back in, and in a very sustainable way. Because what I’m doing only takes five minutes. Yes, there can be tremendous benefit from doing a half hour of breathing exercise, but I’m more aiming at a minimum effective dose. Currently, this involves four breath exercises:

1 – Wim Hof breathing, for twenty breaths.
2 – Exhaled breath hold for time.

(repeat steps 1 and 2 for two rounds)

3 – Vacuum for four reps, doing different versions of The Rope with each.
4 – Chakra alignment breathing for 3 reps.

That’s it. Then I move onto some other movement drills.

In the beginning, it took just 5 minutes. It’s gotten just a little longer than that because the breath holds are expanding.

Yet this barebones breathing routine does a lot for me. I notice better energy throughout my day. And because it is progressive with the breath holding as well, I notice benefits in my endurance training too.”

Do you have 5 minutes to do something like this? Do you think you could benefit from a similar routine?

Logan has over a decade’s worth of experience, study and practice with this stuff. And he’s condensed it into a 78 page guide – the only one I know of on the topic, of its kind.

This could be the missing piece that takes your training to a whole new level!

Check it out below – get details on the drills above, plus 30 or so more like them:

Upgrade Your Breath

Look forward to hearing how incorporating a breath routine into your training helps you -

- Forest Vance

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“Minimalist Strength” Workout – Day 3

I just downloaded this “14 day sample pack” from my friend Travis Stoetzel’s Minimalist Strength program.

Loving the workouts.

And got a sample one for you to check out below!


“Minimalist Strength” – Day 3

1A) Every Minute On The Minute, for 10 Minutes:

Odd – Barbell Snatch Grip DL x 3 – HEAVY
Even – Step Broad Jump x 6 Total

REST 2 Mins

2A) 5 Rounds For Time Of:

6 KB Single Arm Power Snatch
6 KB Single Arm Thruster (Same Arm)
6 KB Single Arm Power Snatch (Opposite Arm)
6 KB Single Arm Thruster (Same Arm)

*15 Min Time Cap

3A) MOBILITY Finisher

2 Min KB “Rock Bottom” Goblet Squat Hold


Nice one, eh?

If you liked that workout, you’ll LOVE the 14 day sample pack.

The BEST news is .. Travis has it up right now, 100% FREE! ..

Click the link below to claim your copy:

=> “Minimalist Strength” – FREE 14 Day Sample Pack

Keep training hard, and talk soon! -

- Forest Vance

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Bare Minimum Workout #10 – 2-Way Ladder Challenge

kettlebell childs post

Yesterday’s “Ladder Density Madness” BareFit Workout workout was a hit!

Lots of great email feedback.

And according to the Facebook, it got 90% more likes, comments, and shares than other posts on our page.

So let’s do another one!


Bare Minimum Workout #10 – 2-Way Ladder Challenge

Do the following superset as many times as possible in 20 minutes, resting when needed. In the first superset, you’ll do 1 rep of each exercise. In the next superset, you’ll do 2 reps. Continue in this fashion until 20 minutes are up, then move into the finisher.

1A) Chin-up or Strap Row (1, 2, etc., etc.)
1B) KB or DB Snatch (1/side, 2/side, etc., etc.)


Do the following superset as many times as possible in 5 minutes, resting only as needed.

2A) Burpee (5)
2B) Skater Hops (5/side)

No-Equipment Option (provided for ALL BareFit workouts)

Do the following superset as many times as possible in 20 minutes, resting when needed. In the first superset, you’ll do 1 rep of each exercise. In the next superset, you’ll do 2 reps. Continue in this fashion until 20 minutes are up, then move into the finisher.

1A) Stick-up (1, 2, etc., etc.)
1B) Total Body Extension (1, 2, etc., etc.)


Do the following superset as many times as possible in 5 minutes, resting only as needed.
2A) Burpee (5)
2B) Skater Hops (5/side)


I love Mike Whitfield’s stuff.

His workouts have been a big influence on me and my training style over the last 5 years, since we first met and I started following what he was doing, 5 years ago at an event in Denver.

I actually am doing the workout in today’s email, this afternoon for my weekend workout.

And I use ideas and from his various programs all the time in designing workouts for myself and for training clients.

If you want to grab 50+ MORE workouts like this one, check out the full BareFit program at the link below:

=> BareFit

Rock on!

- FV

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Ladder Density Madness “BareFit” Workout

If you feel like you need to be hitting your muscles from different angles …

Or that you need to be using “muscle confusion” in your training …

Or that it’s the latest secret trick that is going to finally get you the results …

The reality, the  LAST thing you need is a complicated exercise program when you are already busy and stressed out… not to mention you may not be that motivated

I wouldn’t be as motivated if I had to learn 15 new exercises just to get started. Geez, it would take longer to learn the workout than to actually do it…

So… forget the madness. You’re going to go in the opposite direction and skip the fluff to do MORE of what works like:

– A Push
– A Pull
– A lower body exercise
– An ab exercise

And it’ll be an easy to remember routine of 4 exercises or less

Call this the Go BareFit approach. You’re going to do to stay consistent and motivated by doing the bare minimum … without burpee contests, secret exercises, or any extra fluff

Step 1 - Pick ANY 2 days of the week to commit 20-30 minutes to exercise.

Step 2 - Give yourself 2 days of rest between workouts (so for example, you can do Monday and Thursday each week).

Follow a structured program that doesn’t have extra fluff, targets major muscle groups, and cranks up your metabolism to help you burn the most calories… plus one that takes you 30 seconds or less to memorize because you’re busy. (You don’t have time to waste trying to learn a complicated routine, right?)

If you can commit to 3 days a week, that’s even better… but 2 is the bare minimum approach and you can still see results as long as you promise yourself no fluff and do MORE of what works.

Yep. That’s about it. Here’s a sample:

Day 1: Ladder Density Madness 

Do the following and rest only as needed. In circuit one, you’ll do 1 rep of each exercise. In the next circuit, you’ll do 2 reps of each exercise. 

Continue in this fashion, adding one more rep with every circuit, until 20 minutes are up. Once you reach 20 minutes, rest 1 minute and move into the finisher.

1A) KB/DB Reverse Lunge (1/side, 2/side, etc., etc.)
1B) KB/DB Press (1, 2, etc., etc.
1C) KB/DB Row (1/side, 2/side, etc., etc.)


Do the following, resting when needed.

Jumping Jacks (100)

No fluff.

Here are 51 more NEW Bare Minimum workouts you can get started right away

You’ll also get a Zero Equipment version with every single workout, too.

And if you’re you a beginner we’ve got you covered. You’ll get 10 Beginner Workouts using the fluff-free Bare Minimum approach.

Go BareFit here

By the way, this isn’t your typical page you’re used to seeing. I was surprised my friend Mike called out the fitness industry like this …

You can check out the controversial headline by clicking here

To getting motivated and fit without the fluff! -

- Forest Vance

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