Abs ...

  • Is it ok to do abs everyday ...? just curious ...

  • Abs are just like any other muscle Joe. They need to be worked hard, then left to rest and repair. Follow the original Body for Life book for best results.

  • Oh boy did I have a good ab workout today.  i started doing planks today and my bady was shaking.

  • That's great ... just wanted to make sure coz i want to achieve my goal specific plan and i do not want to jeopardize it ...

  • Joe just wanted to share this with you about abs.  One of our regular Guest Book posters put this up.  She has great abs, but English is not her first language.  I hope it helps.  Sorry I think it has the html coding still in it.  I don't have time to take it out right now.  It also has her responses to questions asked.

    Danayou asked my 2 cents about how to do abs. Here is what I think, be patient if my writing is a bit strange, it’s difficult for me with words (and in english), and this is not about big knowledge, just my little experience. Lets think about a classical crunch:

    1. Keeping in mind the ANATOMY of the rectum abdominalis muscle is a must for everybody, beginners and seasoned athletes. I have seen lots of people working harder on their hipflexors (iliopsoas) then on their abs while ’doing abs’. Our efford should be all about bringing sternum and pubic bone closer together. If I am not doing that appropiatley, I am not reaching my goal of a good abs workout, wasting time and energy. <p>

    2) BEGINNERS: Correct posture(ask a coach, not your friend, to show you. Your chin should always be the size of your fist away from your clavicola,that is the bone you touch if you lower your chin. If you hold the head in that position, you are looking about 45 degrees upwards to the ceiling. It should be a natural position. For your lower back: if I put a paper sheet under your lower back, I should NOT be able, during the whole exercise, to pull it out of there. In other words: do not iperextend your back at any time to prevent ecessive pressure on the often fragile lower back. Relax your neck as much as you can. That needs a bit of practise, but you can do it. As for arm position, I use 5 different to increase difficulty level.)
    O.k., correct posture, work slowly, feel the burn, that’s it! Take the 1 min rest between sets (you should need it!), but not one second more. Taking longer rest changes the effect of your sucessive set VERY much.(happens if you chat inbetween sets) <p>

    3) ADVANCED: a) Correct posture all the time. When you think you are going slow, you are not. Go slower. Is it hard? It should be.<br>
    b)When you are ’up’ in a crunch, you are not done. Squeeze 20% more to contract the muscle to the max!! Now exhale all the air so that you contract the trasversus abdominalis muscle too. Still not finish! Lower the upper body VERY slowly. (While the breathing is an optional, the rest is not. Most of the time we do NOT contract 100%, but 80% or less) You should feel the NEED for 1 min rest after all your sets, exept maybe the first 12 wich I consider a warm up. <p>

    4) EVERYBODY: It is easy to be carried away by the show-of-factor. By doing reps in the ’saving energy mode’ we can impress others and ourselves more easily. Avoid. You should sqeeze out of every single rep the last drop of energy, and if you are fried after 4 reps, it doesn’t matter, that is the way. Next time you will do more. No shortcuts here. If you really want strong abs, you can’t afford to cheat. <p>

    5) Keep things SIMPLE. I see overcomplicating as a trick of the mind that misleads you. By focusing on complicated things we loose easily, without noticing, sight of the basics. No need. Here my biggest abs-lesson I learned doing the Italian National Aerobic Championship. Only 4 (four!) very slow simple crunches were required in the race routine. Easy? No way! The judges were waching the form of the crunches EVERY split second of 4 long reps (positive and negative contraction). That’s the way to do your abs. Try to be THAT focused on your SIMPLE workout. <p>

    6) INTENSITY: After all I said earlier, it is understud that intensity by doing a sincere workout is a MUST. From many years of teaching and observing, I know that most people overestimate themselves greatly when it comes to their abdominal strenght. Most people, if mantaining good form, do not need to add a big deal of weight. Even sitting on the crunch machine, if max concentrated mentally (wich is not easy, but we should always aspire to), most do better with less weight. Has mental laziness something to do with exercise? Yes, a lot! At a lower level you can go away with it, the more advanced you become, the more you will need, and hopefully be able, to use the mind to your advantage. It is a learning- process. (that never stops) <p>

    MYTH: The biggest and seemingly hardest to overcome is this: ’more is better’. NOT TRUE!
    The amount of abs given by BFL is ENOUGH if you give max effort. Don’t think:’ Oh, maybe this was not really a 10, let me do a few sets more. Take note on your journal and next time do as prescribed. Hit your 10, more so, if abs are important to you. Then you don’t need more abs in numbers. <p>

    Finally (and here fail many gym-rats, because they want abs, but want eating and drinking without any restriction more! Even the best killer abs are invisible if we hide them under a good layer of fat. But that’s nothing new. <p>

    One last point. I do more for my rectus abdominal muskel then I do for my obliqui. As a woman I find good equilibrium by still exercising them, but focusing more on the rectus abdomini, it gives me that ’flat looking belly look’. To much obliqui gives me the slim stomach but with less curve on the sides. Maybe this is not true for all women, but for me personally it is, I have noticed that. Of course this is not a problem if hevily overweight. It’s one of the fine- tune things for already lean women. For men, I like the shape they get from exercising both muscle groups equally! Very nice! <p>

    Sorry if this is a really long post. But even if it ’spices up’ the workout of one single Gb reader, then that’s fine..Dana, this is all nothing new, I know. But I hope it gives you some input to enjoy your abs workout, that I guess, you are already enjoying, even more. Or to bring more awareness to it, wich is also a good thing.. <p>

    Questions Answered<p>


    ,sorry, I have not seen your questions before.
    Yes, while doing a crunch, I would hold my lower back on the bench all the time. (sit ups are different. Crunches are more gentle for the back, but both are very valid exercises. Depends for whom.)
    breathing: I did not say that breathing is not important, of course it is! but I have seen that beginners are usually better of if they just breathe in a natural way.To much confusion complicates a simple thing! Clarification for experts that want to complicate things in a reasonable way (that still makes sense to me): do the crunch ’up-phase’, then do an aditional ’little-more-contraction’ to make sure you have max contraction (usually we CAN do more!) and NOW exhale while still beeing up (you make a stop there, right? it is during this stop that you put!! out all the air and contract that way the musculus trasversus), done that, you turn slowly, in an ACTIV way, down. But remember: the most important thing is to bring sternum and pubic bone as close together as possible. That’s more important to really focus on than any breathing, in my experience. That is why I said, that this, lets call it ’trasversus-breathing’ is an optional.
    The bench on the picture is a normal declined bench.