Abs. Everybody wants them, but few have the balls to get them. What's this bullsh*t I see in every friggin' magazine? I see a pretty boy or a hot looking chick in the latest fashions on a Swiss ball doing the latest style of crunches.
Swiss balls ain't the answer. While they can help (I use one myself at times) to get to the core of abdominal training, you must first analyze your diet. You can have a keg in the off-season, but contest-time, you want a six-pack.
There have been contests where, a few weeks out from the show, I haven't even started ab training. Yet everyone around me will comment how deep and separated my abs are. And then there are the times that I started my ab training sixteen weeks out from a show and, yes, there has been a better difference training them than not training them. But the bottom line is diet first, then training.
My Favorite Ab Exercises
My usual ab routine starts off with
rope crunches. This exercise was first introduced to me in 1984 by
John Hnatyschak, and to this very day, it's been the staple of my ab routine.
I do this exercise with different variations. Most of the time I like kneeling down holding the rope above my head and pulling my elbows down to my thighs. Standing up and pulling it the same way and sometimes twisting from side to side does the trick also. You really feel a great burn and of all other exercises you really get a good squeeze in the abs.
Lying Down Leg Raises
My next favorite ab exercise is the
Lying Down Leg Raise. The way that I perform this exercise is a little different than the way that I see others in the gym doing the same exercise.
I like to lie down, keep my legs bent, and have a four pound medicine ball between my knees. This gives the exercise some added resistance. I bring my knees to my chest with a slight lift in the hips and when I return my feet, they go back into the starting position.
The last exercise I usually do in my routine is
crunches. Again, I lie down with my knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Before starting the exercise, I raise my head gently off the floor in a relaxed position.
I pretend I'm pushing my face to the ceiling, lifting my shoulders off the floor, and then returning back down without letting my head relax on the floor.
With each of these exercises, I usually do four to five sets and around twenty to thirty reps. But I move very fast from exercise to exercise. I sometimes triple set. I also perform the routine in a
cardio manner. I just keep going until I get about twelve to fifteen sets total.
When you wonder why your abs are not coming out and you're busted your ass and not getting any results, you have to analyze your diet. Doing an extra set or a few extra reps are not going to make your abs come out magically.
You have to eat five to six small meals a day, spaced out every three hours throughout the day, and you have to eat right. Here is an example of a diet that you can follow over the course of twelve weeks. I can assure you that if you folllow a diet like this and train your ass off, you will have etched abs like the guys in the
Typical Meal Plan
Leading Up To A Contest (3 Months Out)
This is typical diet that I follow over the course of three months leading to a major contest. I hope that this information can shed some light on your ab training. It's really not that hard. As long as you follow it to the letter and be true to yourself. As I tell others, "What you eat in private shows in public."