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Exercise & Fitness Message Board

Exercise & Fitness Board Index

Re: Ab products
Aug 15, 2002
I simply refuse to use the ab-roller for the risk of the lower back. I enjoy hanging leg raises, Hanging side knee raises, cable crunches, crunch, and seated knee-ups for the abdominal muscles. I believe in quality, not quantity, for developing good abs. "I train abs three days a week, which I feel allows for optimal shape, development and recuperation between workouts. If they're sore from the last workout, I'll skip the next workout or cut it short.

I train my abs in a very deliberate, controlled manner. If you go too fast, you'll end up cheating and swinging your body and/or legs, which diminishes the effectiveness of the movement. Strive to feel that deep-down muscle burn by maintaining constant tension on your abs and not resting between reps.

Concentrate on exhaling during the exertion phase of the contraction, which is the top of the curl. This will actually enable you to more fully contract your abdominals.

I always hold and give an extra squeeze for a second or two at the peak contraction of the movement, making sure to fully contract and concentrate on the working muscle. How many reps you can do depends, in part, on how hard you contract at the top of the movement. I can do only about 15 per set because of my focus and intensity. If you're getting upward of 25-30 reps, you should think about slowing it down and contracting harder at the top.

Isolating your lower abs is next to impossible because the upper-ab region comes into play no matter what the ab exercise. So I always start my workouts with hanging leg raises because I feel they most effectively engage the lower-ab muscles. If I begin with crunches or something that works the upper abs, this area is too fatigued later on to assist when working the lower section of the muscle.

The routine I use is something I found through trial and error. Abdominal development is partially genetic, and everyone progresses at a different rate. Try a variety of ab routines and experiment with different exercises to find which ones work best for you.

Don't forget that diet is an overriding factor in developing good abs. You can train abs almost exclusively, but if you're overweight, you'll never see your six-pack. Train your abs diligently, keep an eye on your diet and do your cardio at least 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes in a fat-burning zone. Only then will you start to see results."

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