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  1. #1
    Member dan991's Avatar
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    So you want abs....

    and you think its impossible, you do crunches, etc., etc., etc. First of all- EVERYONE has abs. You want a deep 6 pack... work for it! Abs are NOT genetic... they are earned! Yes- some of it is diet and body fat; but not as much as you think. You can be as high as 12-14% body fat and still have a fully visible deep six pack.

    To build abs like you see on the cover of Men's Health; you need to understand how your abdominal wall is built. Most people focus on hitting only the outer abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis & external oblique) when a majority of "the look" actually comes from you internal ab muscles (transversus abdomins & internal oblique).



    It is VERY hard to hit the internal ab muscles; crunches, conventional leg lifts, and side bends barely hit them and you'll never get anywhere near failure by doing those exercises. Chances are- you already have enough outer ab muscle mass to give you the look you want; now you need to define it which will happen when your internal abs are up to par.

    When you start building your internal abs, two things happen and sometimes very quickly. First- your internal abs will start to "suck in" your stomach. You will visibly see that within a couple months your midsection will get smaller. Take a side view picture now- and take one a couple months down the road. You will see that width of your trunk has changed and you've gotten thinner. This is because the internal obliques will bring in your entire abdominal wall.

    Second, you will start to see definition of the outer abdominal muscles. This is because the internal abdominal muscles "tuck under" the outer abdominal muscles and will push your outer abs outwards giving you that deep cut look. This is where you are going to see your "6 pack". Essentially, you have two muscles stacking on top of each other. To have a 6 pack- this MUST happen and it will. The outer ab muscles by themselves can only get so big and you need the inner ab muscles for the definition.

    The difference between this



    and this



    is the inner ab muscles and how well they are built. If you have the first pic already- you've probably never really hit your internal abs.

    There are a few common mistakes that most make that need to be addressed before we go into the work out.

    #1 Put down the weights. Do NOT use weights when working ab muscles. Ab muscles are small- and weights won't help you get a 6 pack. Forget doing crunches with plates and using the ab machine at the gym. Usually you will end up with a "girdle" appearance meaning you have little definition and just a hard puffy stomach. You'll end up looking bloated more than anything; which will make it even harder to get the look you want.

    #2 Don't over train- 2 maybe 3 times a week tops. Start out with one. After a few months go to two, and then after a year move into 3.

    #3 Quality over quantity- the number of reps does not matter; its how well you do those reps that counts. Cheating doesn't help you- it hurts you. You end up teaching your body that the motion you are trying to accomplish needs secondary muscles (i.e. back, hip flexors, etc.) to complete the motion. That's not a good thing- you need complete isolation. One good rep is better than 5 bad ones and the higher rep counts will come over time.

    #4 Crunches- those are warm up. They aren't primary building/toning exercises. The reason they are not is because there are so many other muscles involved with doing a crunch that you will never exhaust all the ab muscles to get you where you want to be. It will take you a decade of doing crunches to get what you want.

    #5 Speed & Failure- There is no rest between sets here; because you need to get to failure every single time. That's hard to do when you take breaks between sets. All the sets below should be done back to back with the only rest being the time it takes you to get from one work out station to the next in the gym. Do the sets in sequence back to back with no rest; you'll get faster gains because you are putting constant stress on the abdominal wall.

    #6 Do the whole routine- every time. You want to hit your abdominal muscles from multiple angles. Like I said earlier- reps don't matter. If you can only do a couple reps and you hit failure; move on to the next exercise.

    Before I get to the routine, one thing that you need to remember is that there are two important rules that applies to every single exercise. The first one is always keep your core tight. The second is to let your core do all the work. Its easy to cheat with your shoulders, back, etc. Focus on using only your abs. You will cheat- its almost impossible not to especially at the beginning; but focus on using your core.

    To help minimize cheating and having to worry about other things, I highly recommend you use these arm slings:



    Some gyms already have them and if not, do yourself and favor and buy your own. They are relatively in-expensive and you can take them to the gym with you. Its hard to focus on working your core when you have to worry about holding yourself up and stopping yourself from swinging. These will help you focus on keeping all the tension on your core. You can connect them to the pull up bar, the smith machine, etc. I use mine at the gym but also use them at home with one of those door frame pull up bars, or you can hang them in a basement from a metal bar in between a floor beam.

    Here is each exercise. If I can find it, there will be a link to a video showing you how to do it, as well as any important notes.

    Decline Bench Crunches: This one is obvious. Just a standard crunch on a decline bench. An important note- THIS IS A WARM UP exercise. At first, do 10-15-20 whatever you can to failure. You can take a small breather after this before moving into the actual routine. After this though- no rest.

    Hanging Leg Lifts: You've probably done these before. Some important notes however are that first; it doesn't matter how high you come up. You don't have to bring your legs up any higher than your waist to make an L of your body. The most important thing is focusing all the tension on your core and using your ab muscles to bring you legs up. You do not want to be swinging to bring your legs up. You want a very controlled rep both up and down. A good way to time it is to count to 5 both ways as your legs travel. You want to bring your legs up and back down in a controlled fashion while keeping your core tight and focusing on your abs doing all the work. You will feel some pressure in your hip flexors and maybe in your groin. That means that your abs are weak and other muscles are trying to kick in to assist; that's a good thing because it also means you're hitting your abs. The hip flexor/groin feeling will go away with time as your abs get stronger. Here is a video link to this exercise, but don't pay attention to how high she is going up as it doesn't matter. You can go up only a foot and still get the same impact to your ab muscles. Focus on not swaying and cheating with other muscles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_QQ1QJ-4ig

    Hanging Leg Kicks: This one is pretty simple. You're hanging and kicking like your swimming. Here's a video to something similar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CjXU94jdGU Now.. you want to do this hanging, and you don't have to kick very far. 4-6 inches is fine and you don't have to bring your legs up very far. The trick is to keep your core tight while you are doing it. Because your kicking, your going to start rocking a little. Use your core to stop the rocking. That is where the actual work out is; not from kicking.

    Hanging Side Leg Lifts: These are hard, really hard- but they work and quickly. This is what these look like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWYLp2G8ixU

    Keep legs completely straight (don't bring your knees up). You can do these side to side (with a pause in the middle) but its better to do one side at a time. One day you'll be able to not rock at all as well as not move your upper body above your waist. Keep your core tight and focus on moving your legs up and sideways (at the same time) without rotating your upper body above your waist and rocking. This is the exercise that gets rid of love handles and sucks in your stomach as its hitting your inner obliques directly and your outer obliques can't help them. You will feel this in your hip flexors, and again that will go away with time. Failure with these is considered to be when your upper body starts swaying. When that happens- stop and move on to the next exercise. Be happy if you can do more than 3 reps without cheating. I can do 30 on each side after 2 years. Now I do 10 on each side and hold for 10 seconds when I get to the top.

    Hanging V: These are sometimes hard to explain. Essentially you are doing the exact same thing as the Hanging Leg raise; except as you bring your legs up you start to spread them in a controlled fashion so when your legs are waist high they make a V. Control it back down and bring the V back in so when you are at rest your feet are touching again. This is a transition exercise from outer ab to inner ab. This is where you start to get into muscle control and one day you'll be able to "roll" your stomach like this dude (watch at 25 second mark): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sldbsAzqf8

    Wood Chop High to Low: This is a good one. Here is a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbscBF209CY however a few things. First of all, use one hand and put the other behind your back. Second- go from as high up as you can, and come all the way down to your toes. You want to try and touch your toes essentially as this will give you the full range of motion. You want to keep your core tight, and use your core to rotate you as well as bring the weight down. Do not load a bunch of weight on this exercise. 20-40 lbs is more than enough and you can tell if you have too much weight on the machine if your shoulders kick in to help you move the weight. You want to be able to do 50+ reps per side with this so if you can't too much weight. Its okay to also do these with light dumbbells or no weight at all. Myself I use a 20 lb dumbbell but start with the machine and focus on form. You should keep your arms completely stiff and your core should be doing the work; otherwise you are cheating. This exercise is awesome for those of you that play golf because its gonna put a lot of power behind your drive when you T off.

    Wood Chop Low to High: Same as above, but now you set the machine to the lowest position and your driving upwards . Again, keep core tight and let your core do all the work. Picture this as grabbing a golf club and swinging upward to hit someone in the chin.

    Decline Bench Twist Crunch: Simple decline bench twisting crunch. Do these till you can't anymore. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIapHNvuUoo

    Leg Cross Twist Crunch: Just like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArPeDeGsZEA Do these till you can't anymore.

    Now, here is the routine. This routine should be done once a week and shouldn't take you longer than 20-30 minutes tops. If it takes you longer than that; you're cheating and resting between sets. Each exercise should be done in this specific order (there's a reason for that, its called guaranteed failure).

    Decline Bench Crunches: 1 x Failure
    Hanging Leg Lifts: 1 x Failure
    Hanging Leg Kicks: 1 x Failure
    Hanging Side Leg Lifts: 1 x Failure (each side)
    Hanging V: 1 x Failure
    Wood Chop High to Low: 1 x 50 (each side)
    Wood Chop Low to High: 1 x 50 (each side)
    Decline Bench Twist Crunch: 1 x Failure
    Leg Cross Twist Crunch: 1 x Failure

    Again, do these in order; and with no rest in between sets.

    Another thing you can do at work, laying on the couch, sitting on a plane, and pretty much anywhere are called "Vacuums". These are awesome in working you inner ab muscles. You should not do them on ab day- do them on your off days or a few days after your ab routine. I do them on the couch when I'm laying down watching TV. At first, do them in the mirror so you can focus on (and see) sucking your abs in as far as you can. Don't be discouraged if you can't suck in very far (that means you have very weak inner ab muscles) because it will come with time as you build a strong core. Do as many as you want/can. Suck in- hold for 30 seconds, release for 10 seconds, repeat. Hold for as long as you can if you can't do 30 seconds.

    For the ladies, you can do Kegel exercises to work your Pelvic Floor at the same time. Suck in the Vacuum and do a Kegel a the same time. For some women it is easier to do both at the same time because your aponeurosis muscle interconnects somewhat into your Pelvic Floor. You get twice the benefit as your inner abs are the core muscle used during thrusting (sex, women on top) and if you train your body to do a thrust and Kegel at the same time... you're significant other is going to love you for it.

    Here is the Vacuum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwvj5Izthc4

    Let me know if anyone has any questions an I'll try to answer the best that I can. Do this routine for 2 months, once a week the first month, twice a week the second month... take a before and after pic. I promise it will work....

  2. #2
    Elite PFM's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    If I don't diet for shit and hardly train my abs WTF are these?

    GENETIC!
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  3. #3
    Elite PillarofBalance's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    The shape of your abs, just like every other muscle is determined by tendons and attachments.

    But just to be clear OP, are you suggesting that spot reduction of fat is possible?
    "Overzealous dosing" -Jin

    Rest in Peace Robot Lord. First round of Natty Boh is on me when I make it up there with you brother.

  4. #4
    Elite PFM's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    Originally Posted by PillarofBalance View Post
    The shape of your abs, just like every other muscle is determined by tendons and attachments.

    But just to be clear OP, are you suggesting that spot reduction of fat is possible?
    Tendons and their attachments are genetically locked in and cannot be altered without surgery.
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  5. #5
    Member dan991's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    Originally Posted by PillarofBalance View Post
    The shape of your abs, just like every other muscle is determined by tendons and attachments.

    But just to be clear OP, are you suggesting that spot reduction of fat is possible?
    No.. not at all. My minor is in Kinesiology.

  6. #6
    Member dan991's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    Originally Posted by PFM View Post
    If I don't diet for shit and hardly train my abs WTF are these?

    GENETIC!
    No... they aren't genetic. Everyone has abs. Most just don't fully develop them because they don't train them right.

  7. #7
    Elite PillarofBalance's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    No spot reduction...

    <------ Breathing a sigh of relief.
    "Overzealous dosing" -Jin

    Rest in Peace Robot Lord. First round of Natty Boh is on me when I make it up there with you brother.

  8. #8
    Member dan991's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    Originally Posted by PillarofBalance View Post
    No spot reduction...

    <------ Breathing a sigh of relief.
    LOL... technically you can't "burn off" fat, you missed that discussion earlier, lol. It tends to get everyone worked up, lol.

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    Elite grind4it's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    Yea, I don't know shit from shinola. I do know this. I used every ab scheme know to man to get my abs to pop, then get razor sharp. Including the a lot of the techniques you mentioned above. The stone cold reality for ME (I am sure I am probably a genetic outlier) the only way I gained the abs that I wanted (as pictured above) was by drilling my diet down. In conclusion for me my abs are a indicator of my diet/body fat and the amount of water I'm holding. Honestly I rarly do direct ab work at this point, but I am compulsive about my diet.... I'm not a doctor and admititly don't know shit. These statements are based on my experiance.

  10. #10
    Elite Big Worm's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    no, not really.

  11. #11
    Elite DF's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    Damn! There are a bunch of grumpy ****ers in this thread.

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    Re: So you want abs....

    Diet = 80%
    Genetics = 10%
    Exercise = 10%

    Haven't done an ab exercise since 1992. I have abs that are half an inch deep.

    See avatar for visual.

    Diet.

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    Re: So you want abs....

    Originally Posted by Cashout View Post
    Diet = 80%
    Genetics = 10%
    Exercise = 10%

    Haven't done an ab exercise since 1992. I have abs that are half an inch deep.

    See avatar for visual.

    Diet.
    cashout is on point

  14. #14
    Member dan991's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    Originally Posted by Cashout View Post
    Diet = 80%
    Genetics = 10%
    Exercise = 10%

    Haven't done an ab exercise since 1992. I have abs that are half an inch deep.

    See avatar for visual.

    Diet.
    I'm not sure I agree with that 100%. Of course with ALL routines a proper diet is required however it doesn't make up 80% of "having abs". Everyone has abs and the most difficult part in getting them to show is having enough muscle mass in your abdominal wall. You can have a clean diet, do crunches day/night, and still not have a 6 pack showing even with low body fat. Abs are like any other muscle in your body; you have to train them properly, feed them properly, as well as maintain them.

    Genetics do come into play but that's more in respects to shape, size, and not necessarily visibility IF you eat clean and have lower fat level. There use to be a myth that said that you had to be under X percent body fat to have a 6 pack which is bullshit. I've gone as high as 18% body fat and you can still see my abs (all of them) but what you also see is a lack of definition in respects to muscle separation. I have very deep abs though and have been working them for years using the above routine which over time I have modified for myself. Most people can't do but a few reps of the above routine as they have never isolated the internal abdominal muscles.

  15. #15
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    Re: So you want abs....

    The difference between the 2 pic's is cut clear it's called resistance training, one guy don't do much of it at least for his abs the other dose and you can see it in the muscle mass of his body also but most of all diet is key to have them abs.

    You don't get abs like the 2nds pick without resistance training to the abs.

    This was my point on another thread that I didn't get out to clear.
    Knock Em Down and Keep Em Down!

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    Re: So you want abs....

    I'm gonna agree almost 100% OP.

    Allthough I agree that diet still has the biggest roll in seeing your abs, I DO know that I use to coutnless sets of various ab excersises with minimal result. Last summer I started focuses in on more of my core developement instead, some of the excersises you mentioned here, and I noticed a huge difference. My body fat stayed reletively the same as well as my diet but my abs really came out.

    if you're fat, you can do all the abs you want but you wont see shit until you diet. if you eat clean and have a BF% in the lower teens, there are definately excersises you can do that bring them out.
    "Whatever life throws at you, put it on the bar and press it"

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    Re: So you want abs....

    Okay, now you are mixing apples and oranges.

    You started off talking about the "visual" aspect of being able to "see abs" and then switch over to a performance measure of people not being able to do your routine. Those are totally different measures and one has noting to do with the other. To make that point even more completely, I'll tell you that there are guys on here who don't have a quarter of the chest development I have but they can out perform me on the bench press all day long. As, you wrote, 'm sure I could not perform your routines efficiently but you can see by looking at my avatar picture that I have outstanding abs in every respect. So, again, visual and performance are two different measure and can't be interchanged to make your point.

    I am a bodybuilder. Besides myself, I've put plenty of guys on stage at national shows over the last 12 years. So the only prespective I'll address is the one I know - appearance and therefore bodybuilidng.

    I never have my guys do abs. The reason is simple - if you are training in a bodybuilding style there is a high level of ancillary work load directed o the abs. The abs get tons of it. No need for direct training.



    Originally Posted by dan991 View Post
    I'm not sure I agree with that 100%. Of course with ALL routines a proper diet is required however it doesn't make up 80% of "having abs". Everyone has abs and the most difficult part in getting them to show is having enough muscle mass in your abdominal wall. You can have a clean diet, do crunches day/night, and still not have a 6 pack showing even with low body fat. Abs are like any other muscle in your body; you have to train them properly, feed them properly, as well as maintain them.

    Genetics do come into play but that's more in respects to shape, size, and not necessarily visibility IF you eat clean and have lower fat level. There use to be a myth that said that you had to be under X percent body fat to have a 6 pack which is bullshit. I've gone as high as 18% body fat and you can still see my abs (all of them) but what you also see is a lack of definition in respects to muscle separation. I have very deep abs though and have been working them for years using the above routine which over time I have modified for myself. Most people can't do but a few reps of the above routine as they have never isolated the internal abdominal muscles.

  18. #18
    Elite PillarofBalance's Avatar
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    Re: So you want abs....

    Originally Posted by Cashout View Post

    I never have my guys do abs. The reason is simple - if you are training in a bodybuilding style there is a high level of ancillary work load directed o the abs. The abs get tons of it. No need for direct training.
    If someone asks how I train my abs my answer is the same always. I do squats.
    "Overzealous dosing" -Jin

    Rest in Peace Robot Lord. First round of Natty Boh is on me when I make it up there with you brother.

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    Re: So you want abs....

    Originally Posted by PillarofBalance View Post
    If someone asks how I train my abs my answer is the same always. I do squats.
    Amen to that ^^^^ I front squat so I get lots of stress on my core.

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    Re: So you want abs....

    Originally Posted by PillarofBalance View Post
    If someone asks how I train my abs my answer is the same always. I do squats.
    Exactly my point. I've said that same thing and gotten the "okay, whatever, dude!" look for years with that answer.

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