Ab Workout

Words: Kerry DULIN

No one said that this was going to be easy, but few things of value are. Deal with it. If you’re going to go for the healthy look you might as well go the extra mile and actually be healthy.

When the fat starts to go, and it will, you want to have something to show. You are here because you wanted to get ripped, not skinny. So, plan on hitting the weights three times a week for an hour. Stick to basic, compound movements exercising the major muscle groups.

  • Bench press
  • Seated press
  • Curls
  • Squat
  • Dead lift
  • Crunch.

The above movements will work the entire body and when done properly will dramatically enhance your physique.

Ab Rules 

How often should I work my abs? 3-4 times a week. Let’s skip the anatomy lesson here and just focus on your abdominal muscles, which are divided into upper, lower and sides [intercostals and obliques, external and internal oblique, rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus and quadratus lumborum]. Your goal is to hit them all.

Couch crunch. Lie on your back in front of your couch with your feet on the cushion. Your calves should be at a 90-degree angle to your thighs. Now, with your hands clasped behind your head [do not pull against your head], raise your right elbow to your left knee.

Lower yourself and repeat with your left elbow to right knee. Repeat this movement ten times. For the next ten reps, keep your elbows together, raise your shoulder as high as you can and your elbows between your knees. Alternating between the side and the middle works the upper and side portions of the abdominal panel.

How many reps? You’ll know. Don’t cheat yourself. If you can’t do many that’s okay. Do what you can. When the burn sets in, stop. Rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat. When you have completed three sets, call it a day. It’s not that tough. After your muscles have adjusted and the initial soreness goes away, you should be increasing the number of repetitions that you can do.

Do you want a mid-section that you can be proud of, then prove it — don’t stop until you feel the burn.

Variation 

Classic crunch. Lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and hands clasped behind your head, bring your elbows to your knees. Hold for 2-3 seconds, while deliberately crunching [flexing] your abs. Your shoulders should be off of the ground during this time. Repeat for ten repetitions. For the next ten reps bring your right elbow to your left knee and repeat with your left elbow to your right knee. Follow the same pattern as for couch crunches.

Leg raises. Lie on your back with legs flat against the floor and hands at your sides; slowly raise your feet as high as possible. Your legs should remain straight during this movement. From the highest point, slowly return your legs to the floor and repeat. Go for the burn, once again, and repeat as above. These are great for working the lower abs.

Some people use resistance to work the abs, such as holding a weight against their chest during the movement. That’s fine, if you want large abdominal muscles that stick out beyond the plane of the stomach. I prefer the flat look and do not add weight. Why? Talk about over-training. My abs are better than the other guy and I don’t train them nearly as hard. Neither should you.

KERRY DULIN, a world-renowned fitness guru, first got into professional bodybuilding at age 40. He won his first bodybuilding competition at 41. Now 62, with a physique that would put someone half his age to shame, Dulin has what he calls ‘a manageable programme,’ 12+ top trophies to show for his fitness endeavours and a brace of health and fitness websites. He lives in the US [This article is published by special permission from the author. ©Kerry Dulin].

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