Have you ever found yourself awake late at night thinking about how you are going to achieve your fitness goals? Your thoughts are playing in your mind at a pace that is impossible to measure or describe, asking yourself many infamous questions, one right after another, without having answered the first question correctly with even a hint of accuracy or enthusiasm? You continue to visualize in your mind and your subconscious the perfect you, the body that you can be proud of because it is healthy and fit. At the risk of sounding trite, every great athlete, male and female, has at one time or another experienced these same thoughts regarding their physique and how it will affect their performance in whatever sport they are proficient at participating in.
During my fourteen year Bodybuilding career I became more knowledgeable about my training, my diet, my supplementation intake, and most of all how my body will react to certain routines. I learned what exercises were more beneficial to expend my valuable energy performing to achieve my objective, and how to utilize particular exercises to my advantage by arranging them in the most advantageous manner to stimulate the muscle group that I was training. For this Newsletter I am going to discuss the focal area that is in my opinion the center of all healthy, fit physiques; the Abdominals. I do not recall ever meeting someone that was not concerned about their midsection. Everyone, both male and female alike, desires a flat stomach with a small waist line. The waist line is the location of the body that creates the taper to the overall appearance of ones physique. The Abdominal muscles are also the protective shield of the Abdomen region which contains in every human being, the digestive organs.
The Abdominal muscles are like no other muscle group in the body; therefore training the Abdominals is very different in how one approaches a workout routine. The one word that best describes Abdominal Training is, Repetition. Unlike training Biceps for instance, with sets consisting of 20 repetitions for shape, peak and definition, or sets of 6 – 8 repetitions for mass and size; the Abdominals require hundreds if not thousands of repetitions per month! Frightening? No, just very monotonous at times! However, when you begin to see the results of your hard work, you will enjoy training your Abdominals even more while you create a midsection that the great sculptors of the renaissance era would be proud to call their masterpiece carved in marble! Although there are many exercises that can be performed for the Abdominals, when I think about training my Abdominals three exercises immediately come to mind: Crunch, Leg Raise, and Oblique Side Crunch. The Crunch isolates the upper 65% region of the Abs, the Leg Raise isolates the lower 35% region of the Abs, and the Oblique Side Crunch isolates the notorious, if I may use this term, “love handles”. Below I have described a routine for beginners, intermediates and advanced level individuals in addition to a description on how to perform the specific exercise correctly. Remember as noted in my Health Disclaimer link, these routines are designed for 100% Healthy individuals.
| Crunch: 4 sets of 15 reps
|| 4 sets of 75 reps
|| 4 sets of 125 reps
| Leg Raise: 3 sets of 10 reps
|| 3 sets of 25 reps
|| 3 sets of 50 reps
| Oblique Side Crunch: 2 sets of 10 reps
|| 2 sets of 20 reps
|| 2 sets of 30 reps
CRUNCH: lying flat on a level floor, hands crossed behind lower head / upper neck supporting head, (not pulling), legs elevated and ankles crossed with upper thighs in vertical position, proceed upward as to contract Abdominals keeping back flat on surface while exhaling, and lower as to release tension on Abdominals while inhaling. Continue for scheduled repetitions.
LEG RAISE: lying flat on a level floor, hands tucked under lower back and upper gluteus region, legs elevated with knees slightly bent, raise legs to just short of vertical angle, and lower. Continue for scheduled repetitions.
OBLIQUE SIDE CRUNCH: standing with feet shoulder width apart and parallel to one another, arms at sides, contract oblique region from left to right and right to left, breathing at a comfortable rate. Continue for scheduled repetitions.
(If you experience any discomfort or short of breath, discontinue exercises and consult a Physician immediately.)
Conduct the routine that you consider yourself qualified for, and repeat it twice per week. Abdominals, like all muscles require rest to recover from training, so allow at least 48 hours between each training session.
Having Won Best Abdominals in the Mr. New York City competition at the age 15, competing against 78 other competitors, most of them ten years my senior or more, I think that you might conclude that Abdominal Training is something that I take very seriously. Numerous Winner of the Ms. Olympia competition, the great Cory Everson, once stated on ESPN while covering the California State Championships that, “Joe Carrero looks as if he has enough Abdominals for about three people!” I took this statement and observation on her behalf as one of the greatest compliments that I have ever had regarding my Abdominals!
I have shared with you my favorite and what I consider the most effective exercises one can perform for the Abdominals, and now it is all up to you! Approach and conduct your training in a determined, disciplined, intelligent scheduled manner, and create Abdominals that the Great Michelangelo would be proud to say he created out of stone! Everyone is a True Champion, discover the Champion in yourself and bring it to fruition! Fortitude Creates Champions!