Salutations! (my fancy way of saying hello, just like Charlotte the spider). I’m sure everyone reading has been pacing frantically, checking and rechecking this blog obsessively, waiting anxiously for me to post some of the best ab advice you’ll ever hear! Okay, while none of those things are true (well, the latter part is up to you) what is true is that that it’s time to get down to abdominal, not to be confused with abominable, business. Bye-bye beer bellies, hello six packs. Ironic, but true.
I mentioned in Part I of this ab-crazed series that “How do I get a six pack?” and “How do I lose fat from my stomach?” are questions I receive multiple times a week. And because abdominal health is crucial to disease prevention, I’m happy to help guide the ab-searchers toward their goal… even if they don’t realize – or care – that healthy abs equal health all-around.
Even if you were naturally given a “thick skin” (and not the metaphorical kind), it’s not impossible to develop a six pack; difficult, yes, but not impossible. I’ve heard it said that weight loss is just 20% working out. That leaves a whopping 80% left to clean eating! But what I want to focus on – for now – is the working out slice of the pie chart (by the way, pies don’t help).
I recommend training abs every two days. But remember, to be able to see the abs, you’ve got to shed the layer of subcutaneous fat covering them. Eating clean – I don’t say “diet” because you won’t hear me then – and doing cardio for at least half an hour every other day are key to unlocking visible abs. If you don’t have time for cardio, then jump rope or run in place between your sets in the weight room ;-). Anything to keep your pulse elevated.
Okay, back to ab training. In each exercise, aim to hit 20 repetitions. But when this becomes too easy, make sure you add resistance! The following is what’s known as a “giant set,” which basically means you move from one exercise to the next without resting. When you complete the last exercise, you can take a break before starting the circuit again.
*NOTE* If you’re a beginner, perform just *ONE* giant set. Intermediates should do 2-3 sets, and advanced six pack seekers should aim for 4. Also, you’ll need a stability ball for three of the five exercises.
Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di
- Find a comfortable (not your bed!) surface and lie down on your back and bend your knees, placing your hands behind your head or across your chest.
- Pull your navel in towards your spine and press your lower back into the floor.
- Slowly squeeze your abs as you bring your shoulder blades 1-2 inches off the floor.
- Exhale as you come up, keeping your neck straight and chin up.
- Kneel behind ball. Lean forward to place lower arms on the ball.
- Roll the ball forward by extending your elbows while raising the arms until they frame your head. Don’t let your back sag.
- Return to starting position by engaging abdominals.
- Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head. Keep elbows back.
- Bring knees in toward your chest and lift shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on your neck.
- Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously twisting upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
- Switch sides, bringing right elbow towards the left knee.
- Slowly lower back down, but maintain a contraction.
- Lie on your back with legs extended, heels on top of the ball.
- Press your heels into the ball and lift your hips. Arms are down at your side, palms down.
- With your heels, pull the ball in toward your body. Your hips should remain in a neutral position; don’t let them sag.
- Slowly return to starting position.
Note: If you feel yourself pushing through your hands, turn palms up.
Russian twist on ball
- Hold weight or medicine ball in both hands, sit on ball with feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
- Extend arms in front of you so that your hands are at shoulder height. Walk feet forward and lean back until your upper back and shoulders rest on the ball.
- With arms extended, rotate your torso to your right until your shoulder touches the stability ball.
- Return to center, then rotate torso to the left, directing your outstretched arms at the same time.
- Return to center and continue to alternate sides.