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Posted: 6/6/2002 1:39:16 PM EDT
Okay, I've been working out like a fiend for the past few months and am really happy with the results - running an 8.5 minute mile, doing 3-5 miles every other day, not only wearing my old size 32s but needing a *belt* with them, and got the "jiggle factor" down to almost nil. So, what's my gripe? I'm getting no definition with my abs.

Basically, I've hit a plateau with a "three-pack" - noticeable (nowhere near "super-cut") definition inside the lower rib cage, then flat and tight the rest of the way down. I am *not* complaining about the "flat and tight" part, but what's the best way to upgrade to a classic six-pack?

My daily ab routine is 3 sets of 25 crunches, 25 "knee-crunches" (regular crunch position, flat on your back, try to pull your knees to your shoulders using your lower abs), 15 hanging leg raises and 25 of those "captain's chair" leg raises. You know, you support your weight with your elbows, etc. I don't want to add any bulk after putting all this effort into *losing* bulk, so I don't know if I should add weight/resistance, do more sets, do more reps or what.

Ideas? Questions about anything else I'm doing?

Thanks much,
Keith C.
Link Posted: 6/6/2002 5:40:01 PM EDT
Might just be genetics.That's 135 reps a day hitting the abs area at  diffrent angles sounds intense.[red]Try slow deliberate motion w/ea rep.REAL SLOW![/red]......Negatives, 1/2 reps 1/4 reps killlllllllll!CONSTANT TENSION!
Link Posted: 6/6/2002 5:40:28 PM EDT
I really don't know why the human body acts like it does. [:)]

You might want to try some weights or maybe eat more (if you are  losing weight really fast there might not be enough energy to build muscle like you want too)
Link Posted: 6/6/2002 5:55:29 PM EDT
Try some seated turns. Also check out this article:
[url]http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ice15.htm[/url] it points out that traditional situps will increase your waistline without impacting your abs (this compared to other ab exercises.)
Link Posted: 6/6/2002 7:27:12 PM EDT
If you don't mind my asking, how old are you and how much weight did you take off with that kind of dedication?
Link Posted: 6/6/2002 8:25:29 PM EDT

First off, I'd stop training abs everyday.  That whole "abs are different, they can be trained everyday" thing is a myth.  The best abs I've ever seen in person were on a guy who trained them 3 days/week.  They are no different than any other muscle- they need recovery time to grow.  The same for calves and forearms.  Typical gym myths.

Definition= very little fat on your stomach and big abs below the skin.  It's simple.  Cut some fat out of your diet if you can.  Do you lift weights w/ the running?   Definietly cut your AB workouts back to three/week.  Isolate your abs and train w/ intensity.  You should be sore the next day and not be able to work them out again.

The "pooch" on your lower stomach may prove to be very hard to get rid of depending on your age and genetics.

Good luck
Link Posted: 6/7/2002 6:44:35 AM EDT
What? No magic bullet? [:D] Actually, there's good advice in just about all of this. I've been winging it (other than asking questions here), so I haven't exactly been on a "program".

Mags: I *do* tend to just crank 'em out. The last ones are slow & deliberate since, well, I'm frigging tired. I'll try focusing the pace a bit more and see if I get anything out of it.

Nichcon: I used to lean towards the "mountain lion" technique of dining. Chow down about half my bodyweight in meat, then lay up under a tree for a few days.  Well, not that bad - but close. I quit the "one big meal" routine, but really dropped down my intake overall. Frankly, I just don't have enough of an appetite to remember to have small meals throughout the day. I'll give it a shot, though.

Skullworks: When I started working out (around Dec-Jan), I was heavy (no pun) into situps. Saw *much* better results with crunches and haven't gone back.

Boom Stick: No problem, but I haven't been "dedicated" for all that long. I'm 32, 5'10" and dropped about 20 lbs (~180-something to 161) from Jan-April. I'd started off pretty slow - mostly cardio - and wasn't even at my current routine at that point. I started to creep back up to 165 around May (I'm telling myself it's muscle) and am now bouncing between 162 & 166.

MP906: I don't have much of *anything* in my diet and just enough fat to stay healthy. Never hurts to review, though. I'm really hesitant to reduce the workout frequency because, honestly, I'm lazy by nature. I'm afraid that if I slow down a little, I'll start to slow down alot, then the "Idonwanna" excuse machine will fire up its engine. I have been using some weights, but nothing super-intense (this has all been "in my basement" exercising). I alternate days for upper and lower body, with the daily routine looking something like ab-weights-ab-weights-ab-weights, repeat for 3 sets.

To top it all off, I've been going to a Shaolin dojo 3x a week since January and just started cross-training at a Krav school 2x a week. If you guys knew how lazy I'd been my whole life, you'd probably LYAO. [;)]

Alright, stuff to try for a couple of weeks: eat more often, but watch the fat content; reduce the "ab days" from 6/wk to 3/wk; increase the intensity of the ab work with more deliberate movement and increased tension/isolation. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again for all the help, guys.

Keith C.
Link Posted: 6/7/2002 8:49:17 AM EDT

Abdominal definition is the result of low bodyfat and residual tension in the muscles.

Your abdominals can be divided into 4 sections...upper abs, lower abs, obliques, and the torso compression muscles (transversalis).  The transversalis are not activated by moving the torso and training them should be last on your list unless you want to do those bitchin' stomach sucks that the evil martial artists do in movies.

Also forget the obliques for now...training them usually just makes the fat on top of them stick out more.  Obliques should be second to last on your list.

Fifteen-percent (15%) of ab exercises target only the upper abdomen while another 5% target only the lower abdomen.  The other 80% target the psoas, hip flexors, and Lord knows what else (but not the abs).  That's why sit-ups and roman-chair sit-ups are not the most effective exercises.

If you want the best advice for defined abs in the world--bar none, buy "Legendary Abs" from Health for Life. [url]http://www.healthforlife.com[/url].  This exercise program will give you routines from beginner to advanced and will give you the defined abs you desire.  Whether you can see them through a low body fat is up to you.


P.S.  Check out...




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