Time to work those abs! When I was younger I spent a lot of time doing conventional sit-ups and leg lifts and a whole slew of things that involved flexing and twisting your spine. I equated a good ab workout with the pain I felt the next day! Now I’m not quite so young and I can tell you, 20-some years later I’m still feeling all those sit-ups and leg lifts but for all the wrong reasons!
Fortunately a while back I tuned in to some basic common sense regarding the back and the abdominals. Now when I work those abs I do more crunching and less flexing and I am much better for it. Continue to work those abs but allow me to present to you some rules to live by as you strive to sculpt your stomach!
Find those abs
We all have those elusive turtle-shell abdominals, trouble is that much-sought after 6-pack is hiding under a layer of fat and often that layer of fat may be thicker then we wish. So rule number one is burn the fat and discover your inner abs! Easier said then done but sit-ups and leg lifts do not burn fat. Restricting your diet and caloric intake burns calories and makes you lose the pounds.
Bottom line: if you want to see your abs, change your diet and do more cardio! While you’re dieting you need to continue with your workouts. The road to chiseled abs is a long one and anybody who tells you different is yanking your chain. DNA and body-type play a big part in your ability to chisel out of 6-pack, but with a dedicated crunch workout and a strict diet the day will come when you once again can see past your belt-line.
Crunch don’t Flex
The basic crunch is performed by lying down flat with legs extended or flexed at the knee. You simply curl your upper-body up from the floor. You don’t want to raise your back all the way up lke an old-fashiond sit-up. You-re curling up from just belo your sternum. The benefit of crunching is that the arc that you follow to work the abdominals (between the sternum and pelvis) is much shorter than a conventional sit-up. Experts finally admit that the crunch movement puts less pressure on the back.
Rule number two then is to work the abs to their max but without lifting yourself so far off the ground. There are at least a dozen or so varieties of the crunch that allow you to hit all parts of the abdominals, here are six of my favorites:
1. Feet on floor reach through crunch (4 x 100)
2. Feet on floor, hands crossed over chest crunch (4 x 100)
3. Feet on floor hands behind head crunch (4 x 100)
4. Feet on bench hands behind head crunch (4 x 100)
5. Weight on chest crunch (4 x 100)
6. Weight behind head crunch (4 x 100)
The number of reps you do is debatable. My arbitrary number of reps for most exercises is between 50 and 100. Do 100 crunches and thank me in the morning.
Hopefully now when you work those abs you have a broader foundation to draw upon. The great thing about crunches is they can be done anywhere (just like push-ups). And crunches can be done morning or night or whenever you felt the need to crunch.