The Just-About-Ultimate Guide to 6-Pack Abs

Discussion in 'How to Get in Shape' started by MrSander7x, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. MrSander7x

    MrSander7x The Champ

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    MrSander7x's Ultimate Ab Workout Guide:
    Ok, here's the deal, there's alot of crap going around the boards about how to build muscle the fastest. Some of that stuff is good, but most is a bunch of b.s. This guide, created out of boredom and madness, is a toned-down explaination of excersises performed by bodybuilders and world-class athletes.
    You don't neccesarily have to do all of this, but it's just about the best way to get those 6-pack abs.

    1. Ab Myths
    Ab myth 1 - If you train abs every day, you're guaranteed a 6-pack.
    -Abs are like any other muscle, it needs rest too. You wouldn't do 100 bicep curls every day would you? **Although we use our core alot, crunches, leg lifts, and other exercises are not a natural motion and therefore should not be done every day for risk of overworking them. Also, all muscles rebuild during rest. If you don't give a muscle time to rebuild, it won't. End of story. Finally, studies show that being in a constant state of overtraining can lead to more laxity in your muscles. That means they'll appear softer and less defined.

    Ab myth 2 - Sit-ups build your abs the best.
    -Sit-ups are possibly the worst exercise for strengthening your abs. Your main ab flexor does most of the work and you run the risk of causing abnormal forward curvature in your lower spine as well as back pain.

    Ab myth 3 - Crunches build abs the best.
    -It is usually the last excersise in a lifter's workout and overuse of crunches can cause bad posture.

    Ab myth 4 - You can eat junk food as long as you work out right after.
    -Having a diet, which helps w/ fat loss is extrememly important to building/uncovering ab muslces. Look in McDonalds next time. How many people in there have a 6-pack?

    Ab myth 5 - It takes years to get good abs.
    -It all depends on how you train. Training in the correct order and reducing the fat around them is key. People have different body types, it may take a few weeks for some but longer for others.

    Ab myth 6 - You can lose your gut and get a six pack by doing ab excersises.
    -Plain and simple: Your strong abs will never show if you have a layer of fat covering them.

    Ab myth 7 - Work your abs to failure.
    -Its not always the best option because it can lead to overtraining. Mix it up with a number of reps to stop at and going to faliure.

    Ab myth 8 - Someone elses workout will work for you too.
    -Everyone's body is different, just because a workout works for someone doesn't mean it will produce the same results. Half of working out is figuring what works for YOU.

    Ab myth 9 - MrSander7x is a professional trainer.
    -No, but i've been around them long enough to know what i'm talking about (i.e. a world class dead-lifter, 2 competitive bodybuilders, a AAA baseball trainer, several personal trainers, Marines, a Navy Seal, a physical therapist (that can max out almost any machine in the gym) and many others). However, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER take my advice over that of a licensed doctor or professional.


    Other Facts:
    -Side crunches don't get rid of love handles, in fact, I'd sugest not doing them at all. Fat loss is the most important.
    -Situps w/ weights can lead to overstrengthening certain parts of your abs = lower back pain.
    -Nobody is born w/ great abs. It takes lots of work and determination though.
    -You can't completely isolate upper or lower abs, but you can put greater emphasis on either.

    Now that we have that over with, time for the exersises

    2. Excersises
    Crunches - Lay down on the ground, so your knees are bent slightly w/ your feet flat on the floor. W/ your hands curled behind your head, slowly lift your shoulders off the ground, squeezing your ab muscles q/ each raise. DO NOT PULL YOUR NECK UP, but make it a natural movement. Lift only your shoulderblades off the gound and hold for 2 seconds before going slowly to the ground. Don't let your shoulders rest. Do 3 sets of 35 w/ only a few seconds in between sets.

    Knee Ups - Sit on the edge of a bench, grabbing both sides w/ your hands. With your legs extended out, slowly pull your knees to your chest, sqeezing ab muscles once again. Hold for 2 seconds and release. DO NOT BOUNCE. 3 sets of 25.

    Knee Raises - Hold an overhead chin-up bar w/ your arms spread just wider than your shoulders. Feet shouldn't be on the ground. Slowly bring your knees towards your stomach so your knees are locked at a 90 degree angle. 3 sets of 10-20.

    Twist-Crunches - Raise your shoulders off the ground as in normal crunches and slowly twist your upper body from side to side. Right elbow should turn to your left knee and back. Try 2 sets of 25 with as perfect form as possible.

    Pikes - Lay down on your back, arms straight out, legs at 90 degrees, lift your shoulders to touch your toes. At the same time, your lower back/ass should be slightly off the floor. 2 sets of 25 reps followed by crunches will intensify things.

    Scissors - Lay on your back, hands behind your head and legs a foot or so off the ground straight out. Twist your torso and bring up your opposite leg so, for example, your right elbow is touching your left knee. Switch sides and repeat 30 times.

    Weighted Crunches - Set up a double rope (v-shaped rope w/ 2 knobs at the end) at a cable machine if you belong to a gym. Grab it with both hands, and bring them to the side of your head. Slowly bring your elbows (and the weight) down to your knees and hold it for a few seconds. Try 3 sets of 30 at a decent weight.

    Hanging leg raises - Hang from a dip-bar/lat pullup bar. Bend your knees slightly. Raise your legs to about your belly-button (don't swing legs but focus on abs). As usual, hold for 1-2 seconds and bring them down slowly. 2 sets 15-20 reps.

    Leg thrust - *I just learned this one and it's great* Lie on your back w/ your hands under your ass for back-support. Your legs should be straight up in the air. Tighten your abs so your legs and lower back go STRAIGHT UP towards the ceiling. Slowly let down. In this one, it's more important to sqeeze your abs tightly than to do alot of reps. 2 sets, 15-20 reps.

    Stability crunches - Find a stability ball at a gym. Lay with the center of your back on it and do crunches from there.

    Leg Raise - Lie flat on your back, arms out at your side. Lift your legs (keep them straight) until they are at a 45 degree angle and let them down slowly. 3 sets of 25-30

    Bicycle Crunches - Same as twist-crunches but to the same side. Right elbow to right knee.

    Side Crunch - Find a stability/exercise ball, lay on your side, torso off the ball, and contract your obliques (sides of stomach) and hold for 2-3 seconds. Do 15 reps, swich sides and repeat.

    Side Leg-Lifts A.K.A. Windshield Wipers - Lie flat on your back with your legs 90 degrees in the air, arms spread out to the sides of your body. Lower your legs to the right until they are 6-10 inches off the ground, bring them back to the top and go to the other side. Do 15 reps of each, 2 sets.

    Plank - Get in pushup position but with your forearms flat on the ground. Contract your abs and hold for 30-90 seconds depending on your strength. Repeat twice. If you want to make it harder, put your forearms on a bench and your legs on an exercise ball.

    There you have it, some of the best and easiest exercises around.

    3. Ab machines
    Most of them are good, especially the ABench. If you want to get one, try to find one that has changeable resistance. However, don't rely on these machines. The key is, these won't lower the amount of fat your have coving your abs. **I would suggest, instead of using your money to buy an ab machine, spend it on a gym membership.

    4. Cardio workout
    Run, bike, swim or walk. Cardio workouts increase metabolism and help you burn off that layer of fat covering your abs. Heres a fairly simple, but effective workout:
    1. Warmup at an easy pace for 3-6 minutes
    2. Perform 30-60 seconds of HARD exersise (almost as hard as possible, such as sprinting)
    3. Perform one minute of moderate exercise (a well-paced jog) to give you time to catch your breath.
    4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 7-12 times.
    5. Cool down at an easy pace for 3-6 minutes.

    **Make sure you stay in your heart-rate zone! Its between 145-180 beats per minute (possibly slightly lower depending on your age). When you're in that heart-rate zone, you're burning fat and strengthening your heart the most. When you're below 145 bpm, you're not working hard enough to cause a noticable loss in fat. Basically, you're just gonna lose water-weight from sweating. HOWEVER, if you're above 180 bpm, you're putting alot of stress on your heart. Even worse, instead of burning fat, you're body is going to start burning muscle, and that's never good. I would suggest wearing a watch when you do cardio. Take your pusle with 2 fingers on the artery on the side of your neck every once and awhile. (Don't use your thumb because it has a different pulse, or your wrist because it has a weaker pulse). Count how many beats you had in 15 seconds and multiply by 4. You could also get a heart-rate monitor. They're very handy in measuring heart-rate and timing how long you're in your zone. I suggest somewhere around 20-30 minutes. DO NOT GUESS! People who guess are on average 30 bpm's below their actual heartrate.

    5. Diet
    None of this will do much if you're eating pizza and cake on a regular basis. Quit counting calories or fat, it's more hassle than you should go through. It all comes to just making healthy choices. Choose an apple over a candy bar. Maintaining and stablizing your blood sugar levels is important to building muscle and burning fat.
    Also, make sure your body has enough nutrients. Eat fruits, whole grains, berries, vegetables, nuts and lean proteins (fish, lean beef, etc). Eating healthy is essetial to getting great abs. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water.

    6. Personal Trainer
    If you're serious about getting in shape, I would definately suggest it. In all honesty, most people don't know enough about their bodies, nutrition and exercises to meet their goals. If you aren't happy with your current progess, I would consider it.

    7. Program
    Like I said earlier, what works for one person doesn't always work for another. Be sure to mix up your exercises so your performance doesn't plateau. However, if you'd like a starting point, here's my current ab workout (it changes every month or so).
    Days 1, 3, 5:
    3 sets of 35 crunches, 3 sets of 25 twist-crunches, 2 sets of 20 Scissors. 5 minute break. 2 sets of 20 pikes, 1 set of 15 knee raises, 2 sets of 25 leg raises, 60 second plank. 3 sets of 20 leg thrusts, 3 sets of 30 bicycle crunches, 3 sets of 30 crunches.

    Days 2, 4, 6:
    5 minute warm-up jog, 30 second sprints, 1 minute jog. Repeat for an hour w/ 2-3 5 minute jogs included. 10 minute cool-down.

    Day 7: Rest

    8. Video - ":08 Abs" Video Link - Provided by Duskwolf

    9. Summary
    Once again, if you eat right, exercise smart and really put effort into your workouts, you'll have a 6-pack in no time. Those magazine-cover models work out every day and are on a strict diet, so don't worry if you don't see those kinds of results quickly, or ever. Just keep working, set goals and get stronger. It's not easy, but it's definately possible. Plus the chicks dig it.
    Fitness theory always changes, and so should your workouts. In the meantime, I'll keep this post updated to keep everyone here informed.
    I hope this cleared up some of the confusion that has been going around here, and if you need anything, feel free to PM me any time. Stay Healthy, Live Strong.

    Peace
    -Sandy

    *Special thanks to Duskwolf for the help and support

    **Added in after 1st post
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2007
  2. Prodiginus

    Prodiginus Tensai

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    i think this is sticky-worthy
  3. original_bboy

    original_bboy now that's skill!

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    neat-o, hope this will answering those never ending 6 pack questions
  4. B.b.O.y. KenG

    B.b.O.y. KenG Trying to be a powerhead

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    I have a question.
    I've been kind of chubby up until 8th grade, and now I am 5' 6.5" at about 130lb.

    I've been working on abs for a while now, but they still don't naturally show, but when I kind of pull my stomach down (?) it shows 4 packs

    Should I work more on burning fat? Or just keep on working on my ab work outs?
  5. original_bboy

    original_bboy now that's skill!

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    sounds like to me both
  6. B.b.O.y. KenG

    B.b.O.y. KenG Trying to be a powerhead

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    I've been running and sweating a lot lately, like I was in track for a couple months, I do foot work ONLY sessions for about 30 minutes straight, and it doens't seem like its going any where.

    My abs got really strong though; I can hold L-Sits, and other abs related moves..I was hoping maybe if I work my abs enough, it'll go through the fat, because I'm not fat, so...Yeah. ><

    NOw getting back to the orignial question..which one should I focus on more? I mean it's not like im gonna do the less of one of them, but do the other one MORE.
  7. original_bboy

    original_bboy now that's skill!

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    I say experiment with other work outs. such as V ups, hollow crunchs, hollow holds...those are the hardest ab work outs for me
  8. B-Boy Ryouko

    B-Boy Ryouko New Member

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    To get abs, you have to burn the fat surrounding them; to do that, you have to burn the fat on your entire body. There is no such thing as spot reduction (taking away fat from one area of your body). However, the only ab exercise you really need is the hanging leg raise. Hang from a pullup bar, relax a second to decompress your spine, then, with your legs straight (don't lock your knees), try to pull your legs all the way up vertically, then lower them slowly back down. DO NOT swing them. Also, DO NOT look up at the sky as you struggle to do the exercise, as this will biomechanically change the exercise and take a lot of work off your abs. Look dead ahead.

    This exercise is fantastic to perform after heavy squats and deadlifts as it will decompress the spine. It also builds up good grip strength since you are holding onto the bar. Finally, it also demands you get flexible hamstrings, as you are trying to pull your legs up vertical. And, it develops real, true abdominal strength.

    Do like 3 sets of 5 reps or 5 sets of 3 reps or 5 sets of 5 reps. If you hang from the bar and only have enough strength to pull your legs up one-fourth of the way, then so be it, pull them up that one-fourth, then lower back down, and repeat for 3-5 reps. You'll gain in strength.

    Do this exercise like everyday or every other day (experiment to see whcih works best for you).

    And I will have to disagree with MrSander7x, not saying he is wrong, but everything I have read from pro bodybuilders goes against his saying not to work abs everyday. Abs are not like every other muscle. You can work them about 6 days a week and have one rest day and still be fine. The same thing with calves. However, most muscles must have at least one rest day in between their being worked out (preferably two days if you work them hard). Abs are an exception from my understanding.

    As he says, strong abs does not equal a six-pack. You can do three sets of situps each day and have great looking abs if you burn all the fat off, yet you can have a gymnast who's abs barely show, yet they're super strong, because he is a gymnast. This is how a bodybuilder can look a lot stronger than they really are.

    Basically, do the hanging leg raise and work out and do good cardio to burn fat and you will get good abs (basically everything MrSander7x said).
  9. MrSander7x

    MrSander7x The Champ

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    Ryouko - I agree, there is no way to reduce fat in specific areas of your body.
    However, I don't understand what makes you think all you need is one exercise for abs. Hanging leg raises targets your lower abs the most, but you need to work the rest as well. Take this for example: Would you only do lat pulldowns for your back? No, because it only targets one area. Also, if you work out alot, you'll notice that the increase in your performance will plateau (your muscles will get used to it) if you don't switch exercises. Its the same with abs. Also, the bad thing about hanging from a pullup bar is that you are only stay there as long as your biceps, wrists, and back will allow, although most people don't have much trouble. Ask any bodybuilder, trainer, whatever. They will NEVER do just one ab exercise.
    Are you kidding me?? I'm sorry but you may need a biology lesson.
    Working on abs every day has been in debate just about forever. Many believe that doing ab work every day is fine as long as you use only your body weight. (Mainly because abs are slow-twitch muscle fibers that we use constantly throughout the day, and therefore supposedly need more work). I asked a good friend of mine (a trainer at Edward's Health Center, IL) and he (and the people he's talked to) mostly agree that you should not work abs every day (No more than 4 times a week). The reason is, although we use our core alot, crunches, leg lifts, and other exercises are not a natural motion and therefore should not be done every day for risk of overworking them. Also, all muscles (yes, abs are a muscle) rebuild during rest. If you don't give a muscle time to rebuild, it won't. End of story. Finally, studies show that being in a constant state of overtraining can lead to more laxity in your muscles. That means they'll appear softer and less defined. Thats why you vary workouts and use weights. Ultimately, it's your decision, but I would spend your time on something other than ab exercises every other day (such as biceps, back, or a muscle you don't normally work). It will be alot more productive than just droning away at crunches all the time. If you insist on working them every day, make sure to vary the core muscle groups you work(abs, obliques, erectors).
  10. chaiboi

    chaiboi New Member

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    hey... how heavy would you consider jump rope then? cuz i usually do them about 2 - 4 minutes long with about 20 second rest in between each minute... is this a better cardio? or is it on par with jogging/sprinting?
  11. Prodiginus

    Prodiginus Tensai

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    ^that sounds good. but when in those 2 to 4 mins add take like a 30 sec period and take it up to full, and i mean just jump rope as fast as u possibly can, just like u would do when jogging.
  12. chaiboi

    chaiboi New Member

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    ahhh thnx... thats gonna kill my calves though heh heh... ummm what about... instead of doing 20 sec rest periods, i start with normal pace jump rope for about 2 mins, then stop and stretch my calves for about a minute, then go the last minute as fast as i can?
  13. Prodiginus

    Prodiginus Tensai

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    1.normal pace for 1-2 mins
    2.take 30 sec-1 min full power
    repeat for 30min-1 hour =)
    only completely rest if u can't take it anymore, by rest i mean no activity at all, but avoid that, the point of a cardiovascular exercise is to stay moving. and u can't move if u stretching, right? the normal pace stage should allow you to catch ur breath, otherwise, add another step preceding step 1 and go on a even slower pace than stage 1.
  14. MrSander7x

    MrSander7x The Champ

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    jump-roping's fine. I forgot to mention earlier: Make sure your heartrate stays inside the range of 145-180 beats per minute. If you're below that, you wont be burning any fat. However, if you're above, you'll be burning muscle, and thats almost worse. Wear a watch and check your heartrate by putting 2 fingers on the artery on the side of your neck (don't use your thumb because it has a different pulse). You can also get a heartrate monitor. JUST DON'T GUESS. People who guess are, on average, guess 30 bmp lower than they are actually at. I actually wear a heartrate monitor when i run sometimes (it costs about $80), but i've gotten great use out of it. I try to stay in my heartrate zone for 30 minutes. But do what you can with what you have.
    Good luck, stay strong.
    -Sanders
  15. MisterAsianDewd

    MisterAsianDewd NewB User

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    WOW this will help me a lot caus i just started to do sit ups wrong Thanx!
  16. B.b.O.y. KenG

    B.b.O.y. KenG Trying to be a powerhead

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    WOW. I never knew that.

    Shit I think i've been running at over 180 bpm.

    Can you tell physically/mentally if your burning fat and your heart rate is super high?
  17. Prodiginus

    Prodiginus Tensai

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    ^well, u can't rly tell if ur running at the correct pace for a heartrate that'll allow you to burn fat jus by feelings, at least, i can't o_O
  18. MrSander7x

    MrSander7x The Champ

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    After you've been checking your heartrate for awhile, you can better guage what your heartrate is at, but not perfectly. I can almost always tell when i'm between 130 and 190 bpm, but i'm usually 10-20 bpm off when i try to guess. That's why its always best to check your pulse from time to time. Get a heart-rate monitor. They work wonders.
  19. SwipeMasta

    SwipeMasta New Member

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    how long do you have to run to loose fat quickly? I usually run 50 min. everyday, is it enough?
  20. bboy-hypernova

    bboy-hypernova New Member

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    50 min should be enough, jesus u guys r crazy
    i run 30 min a day max, and im skinny as hell

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