The Core Milestone You’ve Been Missing
The V-Up is one of the most revered full core exercises that gymnasts and seasoned athletes utilize to build muscle and tone the entire core (and not just the upper or lower abs) making this exercise an easy to execute at-home drill that's sure to get your center in shape.
When you walk into any gym or fitness facility in the world or casually flip through a health and wellness magazine, you are bound to come across an athlete doing some of the most common core exercises known to human-kind: crunches and sit-ups. At GymnasticBodies we recommend more sophisticated and effective core exercise than the commonly re-visited core crunch sesh. The drill we're about to cover requires skill, coordination, and strength transfer, making it a more well-rounded way to earn that six-pack.
How to: Modified V-Up
In order to build your strength and skill to master the full V-Up, let’s start with the first progression. Once you’ve got a handle on the Tuck-up, you can begin working to the full for bigger core gains.
To begin the Tuck-up, lay down with your back flat on the floor, arms extended next to your sides, your legs straight together on the ground, and your toes pointed. Moving with control, initiate the tuck-up by pushing your arms forwards and bringing your knees straight toward your chest as closely as possible, aiming to compress your hips in as tightly as possible. Now try it again, remembering NOT to use momentum, but engaging your core to bring your knees to your chest, while keeping your back in contact with the ground.
Try implementing the Tuck-up into your core routine for 3 sets of 15 reps. Once you’re able to do these with ease and need more of a challenge, you’re ready to move on to the full V-Up!
The GB Foundation Series will get you started with V-up training right away. Start earning rock solid abs now!
How to: Full V-Up
Congrats on mastering the first progression! Now you’re ready to turn up the heat on your core routine with the full V-Up. Let’s give it a go! To begin, lay down with your back flat on the floor, arms extended straight above your head, and your legs straight and together on the ground, your toes pointed. Moving once again slowly and with control, and without momentum, initiate the V-Up by lifting your arms and your straight legs towards the ceiling, then bring your hands to your legs to create a “V.”
Remember that keeping your legs straight, and your lower back in contact with the floor, is key to getting max benefit from this movement. Now finish the V-Up by lowering your arms and legs down to the floor at the same time, with control. The compression piece of this drill is worked by how closely you come with your fingers to your toes (while keeping your legs straight). Try implementing this exercise in your routine, performing 3 set of 20 reps. Do this, and you'll be well on your way to a mighty strong core.
For more specific programming and many more progressions like these, check out Foundation One and get started with building the core you've always wanted.
Benefits of Strength Endurance
Training V-Ups comes with a whole range of physical benefits, so it makes sense that training V-ups the correct way comes with even more benefits. Meant to be done at high volume, this strength endurance drill is exactly what the abdominals, hip flexors, and other “core” muscles need.
Benefits of Posterior Chain Flexibility
Another huge benefit of training V-Ups is the posterior chain flexibility required to perform them properly. The biggest issue many people experience is that they cannot lift their legs high enough while keeping them tucked or straight. This is due to a lack of hamstring flexibility and pike compression, and this inability will continue to limit them in hanging leg lifts, L-sits, the superhuman manna, and press handstands. If you want to continue your GST journey, and turn yourself into a bodyweight beast made of flexible steel, it would be wise to spend the necessary time to completely master the V-Up.
GB Founder Coach Christopher Sommer has repeatedly emphasized the importance of mastering the basics first in order to progress in GST, and the V-up is a great example of one of these classic gymnastic basics.
How well, or how poorly you perform V-Ups can reveal a lot about your attention to detail (or lack thereof), and proper V-Ups will help open strength doors to more advanced exercises in the future. Mastering the V-Up is your first core training milestone in the GymnasticBodies Foundation Series and will be sure to set you up for some unbelievable strength gains later on!