The Ultimate Ab Workout
There are many good reasons for wanting a slim, flat, firm muscular waistline. Probably nothing improves your appearance faster than reducing the size of your waist, and no other single muscle group makes your physique look so polished and finished. Having great abs and a small waistline changes your whole body shape; suddenly your shoulders look wider, your taper and V-shape improves, your legs and upper body appear larger, your symmetry improves and your whole physique sparkles with that something extra that people find alluring and attractive.
People tend to associate a small, flat, muscular waistline with youth, athleticism and physical well-being. And sexiness! Let's face it, a tiny waist is sexy, and we all want to be thought of as sexy, attractive and desirable. It's probably the number one reason why people train and go to gyms - to look good to other people.
In this article we'll be telling you exactly how to do that, WITHOUT you having to buy an ebook. All the information is here.
Keep Tension On The Abs Throughout A Set
Abs are like any other muscle and should be trained as such.
On sit-ups, go down only halfway, and stop an inch or two from the top. When doing leg raises, never let your feet touch the ground. Always keep your body in motion — no pauses at either the top or bottom of the movements. Fight gravity and resist slowly when lowering your upper body or legs during ab exercises.
When doing any ab exercise, always be tensing and squeezing your abs throughout the movement, trying for contractions, just as you would when training biceps or pecs. Don't worry about how many reps you do per exercise; just go for the burn and try and get those contractions.
Don't Use Weights When Training The Abs
Using heavy weights in ab training not only limits reps, encourages poor form and could cause an injury, but worst of all it also builds mass which is the last thing a bodybuilder wants to do, add mass to his waist.
A big, thick, powerful waist, while essential to a wrestler, weightlifter, powerlifter or football lineman, is useless to a bodybuilder. It makes the muscles of the upper and lower body seem smaller, it ruins your width, V-shape and taper, destroys your shape and symmetry and is just not as aesthetically appealing as a small, tight, muscular waistline.
The exception is on leg raises and Knee-ups from a chin bar are one of the best lower ab exercises, knee-ins for the lower abs, but even here, the weight used should be small, say 10 or 15 pounds. The reason for this is that it is hard to build up any size in the lower ab region without the use of small weights, and there is little danger in thickening the waist from these two exercises.
An Ab Workout Should Be Like An Aerobic Workout
Since no weight is used on most ab exercises, the only way to create intensity to cause a burn in the abs is through higher reps and shorter rest periods between sets. You have to train the abs vigorously and intensely. You can't do that resting five minutes between sets.
Pick three or more exercises and do them all nonstop. After one cycle or giant set you can rest one minute. Then repeat the cycle another two or three times. This creates very high intensity, promotes sweating and fat burning, and gives the abs a strenuous workout.
The entire ab workout should not take more than 15 minutes. Train your abs like this three or four times a week and you should receive maximum ab development.
Aerobic exercise speeds up your metabolism, gives you increased fat burning, and strengthens the heart and lungs. If you are more than 15 pounds overweight, and have a slow metabolism (endomorphic), do a minimum of 30 minutes aerobics daily. After several months, build this up to 45-60 minutes a day. This can be in the form of walking, jogging, cycling, stair climbing, aerobic classes, rowing machines, the StairMaster, etc. It doesn't matter which activity you do as long as you do it on a regular basis.
If you are only 15 pounds or less overweight and tend to be naturally muscular (mesomorphic), you can get away with 30 minutes of aerobics three or four times a weekon the days you're not weight-training.
If you compared the champions from 20 years ago with the current crop of stars, you may notice that today's champs tend to be much more muscular. Aerobics is one of the main reasons today's champs are so much more ripped.
Your Ab Routine
This is a simple routine. It consists of only three exercises, the seated twist, the crunch, and the knee-up from the chinning bar.
The crunch works the upper rows of the abs, and the knee-up works the lower abs, the twist works the obliques and intercostals (those muscles on the sides of the waist below the serratus).
Do the three exercises as a tri-set — that is, all three exercises consecutively without rest. Do four or five trisets. Done properly, the whole ab workout should not take more than 15 minutes, but at the end of those 15 minutes, you should be drenched in sweat and you should be experiencing a deep ache and a burn in the abs.
The first exercise to do is the knee-up from the chinning bar. This is the hardest exercise of the three so it should be done first when you are fresh.
Using lifting straps to help you hold onto the bar is a good way to extend your ability to do reps of hanging leg raises. Pull the knees up as if you were trying to hit yourself in the chin. The motion should be similar to that of curling a barbell.
Make an effort as you lower your knees not to allow them to drop down below your waist. The abdominals pull the ribcage and pelvis together and are not involved in lifting or lowering the legs.
Remember to be squeezing, tensing and contracting the abs throughout the whole movement. Try for 15 or 20 good reps. Whatever your limit, go till failure. Without any rest immediately lie down on a bench or on a floor mat and do crunches.
Crunches give the upper abs a very hard workout. The range of motion is very limited (4-6 inches) so it is important to keep tension on the abs by not going down too far. You really want to be squeezing the hell out of the abs each rep, crunching the abs together as the name of the exercise implies. Try for 20 to 30 reps (but go to failure) and then immediately grab a broomstick or light pole and do twists.
A broomstick offers enough resistance for most people and 100 or more twists should be done per set. The twist works the obliques and intercostals (the muscles on the sides of the waist ). Never use heavy weight for the twist, and imagine that your legs are set in stone, only turning your upper body. Start slowly to warm up and to stretch the muscles, slowly increasing your swing.
Stick To It
Six weeks on this routine, along with aerobics and a low-fat diet should bring you great results. The thing is to be patient and allow yourself enough time to lose the fat that's covering your waist so that your abs can be seen.
Getting great abs is hard work, but it will be worth it this spring the first time you go out in a bathing suit or lie out to tan. Don't give up. You can do it.
I have a few more suitable stomach exercises in another article titled Flatten Your Stomach And Chisel Those Abs. It has detailed descriptions and more videos.