Forge Your Abs of Steel

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Question: I need a new routine or two that will chisel my abs. What routines do you suggest to do the job?
Answer: Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you are doing your cardio, eating clean, drinking plenty of water and have your body fat in the range that you can actually see muscle movement around your waistline. Though the abdominals you are interested in developing are considered the “six pack” you actually have four areas that need to be trained: upper abs, lower abs, obliques and intercostals. One exercise that hits all these areas with the most intensity is the bicycle crunch. Do at least 50 reps, that’s 25 for each leg done at a moderate speed. Extend your leg all the way out and keep it parallel to the floor. Most correction on this exercise is done when people bend the leg too much or even lower their legs and hit the floor with their feet to ease the discomfort this exercise causes. Complete your set and without resting begin doing side hip lifts from the floor. Prop yourself up on one arm while lying on your side. Place the free arm across your midsection and your legs stacked on each other. Lift your hips off of the floor until your body is in a straight line and then lower it back down repeating for 15 reps. Flip over and do the other side without resting. For the third exercise use an incline sit-up bench. This is the only exercise we encourage our clients to slouch while doing the movement. Also cross your arms across your chest or place your hands on either side of your jaw during the exercise. This along with not going too deep on your reps, only parallel to the floor, protects your lower back and keeps tension on your abs. Do 20 reps and don’t rest at the top by going all the way up. Keep the tension on your abs. You need to do three circuits of these within 9 to 12 minutes.
Another high intensity routine uses rope crunches for your first exercise. Do 20 reps without going all the way up or rocking back on your hips and legs to take the tension off your abs. Keep the rope securely in your hands against your forehead. Follow those with 20 hanging knee raises. On these the intensity tip is to actually raise your legs high enough to change the tilt of your pelvic bone pulling it up towards your shoulders and controlling the down stroke. Finish with bag kicks. Hopefully your gym has a heavy bag. Do them Billy Blanks style and pull your knee up and across your torso to emphasize the tension on your abs and forcefully contract them as you strike the bag. Do 20 kicks for each leg. Complete 3 sets of each exercise within 10 minutes.
Your abs should be on fire with either of these routines.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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