Defining a Marvellous Midsection

How To Isolate The Abdominal Muscles

As a healthy individual I am displeased; no angry, at my no-results-training.

I am overweight, especially around my midsection, even though every night I faithfully perform 50 full situps and 50 leg raises.

But my abdominal muscles just refuse to show. Help me please.

I look forward to reading your new book when it is published, but for now please answer this letter through your regular column in MuscleMag International. I never miss an issue.

First, it should be understood that full situps and leg raises are not abdominal exercises. These movements work the Psoas Major and Psoas Minor group.

The Quadratus Lumborum are also utilized. The Psoas muscles connect the upper femur bones of the leg to the lower lumbar region of the spine. This large muscle pulls the upper body to a sitting position, or pulls the legs up, as in the leg raise.

You are also employing the Sartorius in the leg raise. The stomach muscles of Rectus Abdominus attach to the sternum and the pelvic basin and the junction of these two points.

To illustrate, lie flat on your back, roll your shoulders and head forward. At the same time raise your pelvis upward and back towards your chest. This movement is basically the only function of the abdominals.

To isolate the Psoas muscles so that you don’t inadvertently pull with them, spread your knees and pull your heels up towards your buttocks. Now, in this frog position place your hands behind your neck and perform ¼ sit ups. Cramp the Rectus at the top of the movement by performing one burn.

Treat your abdominals like any other muscle. Do no more sets and reps than you would on biceps, or triceps, etc. Add weight by holding a plate behind your head.

Let’s take first things first: get rid of all the fat you can before you start your abdominal program. Otherwise, you will be disappointed because abdominal exercise does not reduce fat. Only fast training where heart and lungs are involved will have any effect on your metabolic rate. And you must eat less at each meal.

Another aspect of which no one is aware, is that abdominal work should never be done by a beginner in weight training. Any abdominal exercises involve the Solar Plexus.

This is the area sometimes known as the “second brain” and direct abdominal exercises can stunt muscle growth in other areas, especially where the starting bodybuilder is concerned.

Efficient Ab Training

I am looking for a more efficient way to train my abs.

Is there an exercise that works both the upper and lower abs at the same time?

Yes, the incline leg raise.

Lie on a 30 degree angle, incline board, your head at the high end.

As the feet come up, lift your upper body off the board and crunch your abs together. This works both the upper and lower very hard. Try 5 sets of 12-15 reps.

Get a contraction on each rep.

What About Sidebends?

Vince, how can I work my obliques without adding size to them, especially at the sides? Should I do the side bend? I thought I read somewhere that you were against the performance of side bends.

No, never do side bends which will thicken your waist.

I recommend you do front bends. Hold a dumbell in your right hand, holding it behind your right leg. Now bend forward to the left, working the front of the left oblique.

Switch hands to work the right oblique.

Do 5 sets of 12-15 reps.

Follow this advice and you will work your obliques without adding unwanted waist width.

Defined Abdominals At Any Age

Until I saw a recent photo of yourself, I did not believe that any man of your age could posses such a magnificent physique. I was especially impressed by your extremely flat and well-developed abdominals.

I have a problem which I hope you will be able to solve for me. I have what you might call prolapsis of the lower abdomen. In that I mean that my abdomen is relatively flat down to my navel, but then there is quite a lot of protruding fat below my navel. Can this condition be corrected? If so, what exercises do you advice?

To perhaps assist you in prescribing a solution to my problem, in the past several years I have pared my weight from 175 to 135 pounds at a height of 5’4”.

I do not exercise with weights, but I jog three times a week.

The best exercise for your condition is: bend over and place your hands on your knees and draw the lower abdominal up as hard as you can and hold for a count of 2 seconds.

Repeat this for 50 reps every day.

Also, remember to hold this section in tight whenever you think of it. Walking, sitting, riding in a car, any time, any place. After a time, this will become a reflex action, and you not have to even think about it. It will become a normal subconscious thing with you.

How To Lose Your Gut

I need to lose my gut. How many situps and leg raises should I do to develop my abs?

None! Situps are not a good waist movement.

I was the first trainer to promote crunches. They are far better than situps or leg raises.

Perform 3 or 4 sets of 10-15 reps.

To lose weight you must eat less of all foods. Now!

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