Archive for the tag - six pack

Video: Six Pack Secret Exposed!

For the last few weeks, I’ve been participating in YouTube’s Next Trainer program.

As part of the program, we get video assignments. Two weeks ago, we were charged with making a holiday-themed video – and so I made one about the worst holiday foods. This week, we had to create a core-themed video. While an ab workout would be the obvious choice, I thought it would be more interesting to explain why crunches and situps don’t necessarily result in a six pack.

Check out the video and let me know what you think!

Pilates-Style Ab Workout! [Video]

While I was on my recent week-long Pilates adventure, I learned a new ab exercise called “100s” that I’d like to share with you. It’s powerful, effective and you can do it pretty much anywhere.

It’s important to incorporate new exercises into our routines. It keeps our bodies evolving and helps prevent plateaus – so I’d recommend that you give this one a try.

Watch the video below.

The Best Lower-Ab Exercise EVER!

When doing a hanging leg raise, it's important to extend the legs all the way up.

Of all the lower ab exercises that exist, one stands out above the rest: The hanging leg raise.

When done right, it’s extremely powerful and effective. Unfortunately, most people quit half-way through each rep – when their legs are only parallel to the floor. To do it right, lift your legs up until they point to the ceiling, and are entirely perpendicular to the floor.

Here’s how to do a proper hanging leg raise:

  1. Locate a vertical bench at your gym. If you don’t have one, then you can do the leg raise while hanging from a pull-up bar (pictured at right).
  2. Raise your legs up as high as possible – much past halfway (anything less is really just a hip flexor exercise). Ideally, your legs should point directly to the ceiling, and the bottom of your spine will curl forward.
  3. Hold for a second, then lower your legs back to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  4. Repeat until fatigued (it shouldn’t take too long!).

Try do do a few sets of hanging leg raises in each of your ab or lower ab workouts.

Also, you may want to try this tip: Once your lower ab muscles become fatigued, simply bend your knees so that your legs are no longer straight. This will make the exercise a bit easier, and continue until your muscles fatigue again.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Six-Pack Tip: Faster Crunches for Ripped Abs.

Tall, dark and delicious! Can I get an amen?!

I’m about to rock your world with some new research. Sit down for this one.

You’ve probably heard that, when it comes to the speed at which you perform strength training exercises, slower is better. The idea behind slow training seems logical. By going slow, you remove all the momentum from your movements – and so all the tension is directly on your muscles. It seems to make sense, but new research is proving otherwise.

It turns out that super slow training is significantly less effective than traditional training. One study showed slow training strength gains of 15% compared to gains of 39% for traditional training.

But wait, there’s more.

Additional research has been done on the variable of speed in abdominal exercises – and crunches, in particular. Researchers divided participants into 4 groups, and had those groups perform crunches at different speeds (1 crunch per 4 seconds, 1 crunch per 2 seconds, 1 crunch per 1.5 seconds, 1 crunch per 1 second). Turns out, the participants in the fastest group – 1 crunch per 1 second – had the highest amount of muscle activation.

In actuality, the results shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Compare the legs of a marathon runner to the legs of a sprinter. Sprinters, who engage in fast bursts of rapid movement, have very muscular legs.

Of course, this isn’t a green light to rush through all your exercises. But it does mean that increasing the speed at which you crunch can be a good thing. But increase the speed slowly; progressively build up to a faster pace over time. And remember that form shouldn’t be sacrificed for speed!

Newsflash: Ab Workouts Won’t Give You a Flat Stomach.

Yesterday, I was hitting the gym and chatting it up with a new member. He was asking me about a few of the machines, including one that works the obliques (aka side abs). He was totally excited to try the machine out, and explained to me that he’s trying to get rid of his “love handles” and extra fat around his waist.

But alas, the belief that ab exercises will reduce love handles or create a flat stomach is one of the most pervasive exercise misconceptions out there.

Ab exercises build and strengthen abdominal muscles. They do not convert fat tissue into muscle. And they don’t shrink your midsection. In fact, it’s impossible to target parts of the body from which to lose weight.

If you have a belly, and embark on a comprehensive and ass-kicking ab workout, then you’ll likely develop much stronger and bigger ab muscles over time. But those ab muscles will still be hidden under a layer of fat – and even the smallest layer of fat will hide a six pack.

If you want a flat stomach, then you need to do three things:

  1. Cardiovascular exercise. Cardio burns calories during and after exercise. It will help reduce body fat.
  2. Comprehensive strength training. Muscle does wonders to boost the body’s metabolism, so put into practice a total body strength training program. Adding muscle will increase the number of calories your body burns each day.
  3. Proper nutrition. A clean, healthy diet will complement your exercise program and keep body fat to a minimum.

So, if you aspire to showcase a washboard stomach – or just flatten things out a bit – then know that you can crunch your way until kingdom come, and it won’t make a whole lot of difference. Instead, do cardio, strength training and eat right. Simple and easy? No. But it works.

Crazy New Ab Exercise: Double Plate Press!

Truth be told, the double plate press isn’t just an ab workout. It works your chest, forearms, biceps and shoulders – but I feel most of the burn in my abs.

I freaking love it!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Locate two identical weight plates. Start small – with 5 lb weight plates. You really don’t need a lot of weight to feel this.
  2. Press the two weights together, holding them close to your chest. The smooth side should be facing outward. This is the starting position.
  3. Extend the plates straight out in front of you, so that your arms are parallel to the floor. You’ll really need to squeeze the plates together to prevent them from slipping! This is the most challenge piece of the exercise.
  4. Pause, and then return to the starting position.
  5. If you can do more than 8 or 10 repetitions, you’ll need heavier weights. Repeat for 1 – 4 sets, depending on your goals and available time.

It’s new, it’s different and it’s a lot of fun.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think. And, if you’re up for it – browse some of my additional ab tips and exercises.

Enjoy!

How to Kick-Up Your Ab Workout.

A lot of people do “more of the same” when performing exercises – and yet are unhappy with the results. Watch this video to change the status quo:

How Often Should You Exercise Your Abs?

Frequency of ab workouts is one of the great fitness debates. There are basically two schools of thought.

One school of thought argues that abs should be exercised everyday. Because our abs are stabilizer muscles, we’re always using them – whether it’s walking down the street, getting out of a car or sitting in a chair. And since our abs are accustomed to this heavy workload, we can train our abs more frequently than we would other muscles.

The other school of thought argues that it’s important to give our abs a day or two to recover. Because ours abs are not fundamentally different than other muscles, we need to let them rebuild and repair – or else we’re limiting our progress and set ourselves up for injury.

I take the middle-ground. I don’t think ab workouts are so much about frequency as intensity. If your ab workout is intense, and if it leaves your muscles feeling sore – then give your abs rest. Never exercise a muscle that is still sore from a previous workout.

Furthermore, for my own workouts, I’ve broken my abs into three parts: obliques (side abs), lower abs, and middle abs/upper abs. One each day, I focus on a different part. If I do my obliques today, I’ll do my lower abs tomorrow – and so on. And if I am sore from a previous ab workout, then I give myself a day of recovery.

How often do you exercise your abs? Let us know in the comments below.

P.S. If you dare, you should try out my 5-minute ab workout!

Six Pack Secret: Drinking Water?

The world's most famous six pack!

Since elementary school, our phys ed teachers have reminded us to drink our 8 cups of water a day. But why? It turns out they were on to something. Staying hydrated is associated with a number of benefits – including better definition in your abs.

Decreased risk of cancer, clearer skin and increased productivity are a few of the reasons to stay hydrated. But water also has another important benefit: Fat loss. Water curbs hunger (the body often sends a hunger signal when it’s actually thirsty), replaces sugary drinks and actually boosts your metabolism.

The findings of a water/metabolism study were reported in the The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The researchers tracked energy expenditures among seven men and seven women who were healthy and not overweight. The subjects, after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water, increased the rate of burning calories by 30% within the time frame of 30-40 minutes. Drinking water helps create the create the calorie deficit required for weight and fat loss. And less fat = more defined six pack.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. In the December/January issue of Men’s Fitness, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (famous for his abs) touts water as one of his top 8 six-pack rules.

Remember: Even a small layer of belly fat will obscure abs. So… exercise, maintain a clean diet – and drink tons of water. Cheers!

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about crazy abs, check out my “how to get a six pack” guide.

How to Get Lower/Bottom Abs.

The human body is beautiful in all its shapes and forms, but there is something especially sexy about a well formed six pack. As it turns out, the bottom half of the six pack is the hardest part to get. So, here are some tips for developing your lower/bottom abs.

Lose the fat

The lower abdomen is where men tend to store fat hormonally. And it’s the last place that we lose it. This fat is incredibly stubborn – and even if your ab muscles are strong, even a small amount of fat will keep them hidden from view. To develop a leaner midsection:

  1. Strength train. Strength training is the best kept fat loss secret. When you strength train, you build muscle. And muscle incinerates calories – often causing a calorie deficit (more calories out than in) that helps people increase definition.
  2. Eat like a caveman. A healthy diet is key. Exercise is important, but don’t forget that nutrition is the other side of that equation. Lean meats, vegetables, nuts, berries, etc. should take center-stage in your diet. For more information about diet and eating like a caveman, check out my Eating for Fitness program.
  3. Interval train. Interval training is incredibly effective at helping people lose weight. It boosts the metabolism for hours and is several times more effective than running at a constant pace. Learn how to do it.

Increase the muscle

99% of unveiling your lower/bottom six pack is shedding the extra fat. But when the fat is gone, you’ll probably want your abs to pop. To that end, make sure you’re doing ab exercises that target that lower area. Exercises like leg lifts, weighted leg lifts and hanging leg raises will do wonders.

Here’s how to do a leg lift:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor.
  2. Extend your legs straight out and keep your arms at your side.
  3. Folding at the pelvis and keeping both legs together, lift your legs off of the floor.
  4. Lift your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor.
  5. Hold, then slowly lower.
  6. Repeat.

Enjoy – let me know if you have any questions in the comments below! And remember to honor your body wherever it’s at. Six pack or not, you’re beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also – Check out my amazingly cute and body-positive Good Vibes Gym Bag. It just launched today – supplies are limited and I’m offering special savings!