After you finish this article read BODYBUILDING, FAITH AND FINDING THE REAL PRIZE. It is the exclusive Faith & Fitness Magazine interview with Ben Booker.
Guys how about some good news? According to Ben Booker, the 2010 Bodyspace spokes model, “Most people have a 6-pack hidden beneath a layer of fat.” He should know. He has found his 6-pack and you can too. Ben says the number one requirement is, “you must get a hold of your diet.” For some that may be the bad news. However, if you can maintain a lower-fat healthier lifetime diet you’ll need some abdominal exercises that are proven to tone those muscles in your midsection even more.
As with any exercise it is important that you first consult with your primary health care provider to assure that you exercise within the context of your specific health needs and physical limitations. Then every time you exercise it is also important to DO IT RIGHT. Poor form in your exercise routine will result in strain and injury to your body while having little to no benefit to the muscles you actually want to develop. So, pay attention and learn how to do Ben’s favorite ab exercises correctly. Better yet, print it and ask a personal trainer to work with you the first time.
FULL ROTATION HANGING WIPERS
The full rotation hanging wipers is one of my all time favorite ab exercises. It incorporates your entire core. It is one of the more advanced exercises. You must grab the pull up bar with your arms at about shoulder length apart and pull your body up off the floor. While keeping your back as straight as possible, you must hold your legs together and bring them in front of your body from bottom, side, above your head, opposite side, and back down to the start position. This will be one rep. Your second rep will be the opposite side. If you do one set to failure, reaching between 8 to 20, take 90 seconds rest and repeat 3 more times. Each time you will achieve failure through less repetitions.
If you are a beginner your range of motion may not be as great as someone who has mastered this exercise. Have someone spot you. Their presence can help in many ways both in terms of actually doing the exercise and motivation. Don’t worry about others in the gym watching you. They are wishing they had the guts to try it. Is it hard to get your legs above your head? Sure, you bet! Press toward the mark for the prize.
STANDARD LEG RAISE
The next exercise is a variation of the hanging wiper. Instead of starting from one side and ending on the other, this time you will begin with a standard leg raise. While keeping your legs together, you will raise them forward and then drop them to one side instead of straight back down. Then you will repeat and drop them to the opposite side. This mainly will target the upper and lower abs while still incorporating some obliques.
Don’t get sloppy with your form. Mentally focus on exercising those abdominal muscles. You can work your glutes and legs some other time. Is there some pain on that face of yours? Good!
DECLINE BENCH SIT UP
My next favorite is more of a conventional style routine. The decline bench sit up. I like to do 3 sets of these to failure, sometimes allowing 60 seconds or up to 3 minutes rest in between each set, depending on what intensity you want. I usually start by alternating my body from knee to knee on my first set. My second set is the standard straight sit up. Then my final and third one is all three. I do all sets to failure, usually reaching no more than 20 to 30 reps. Try keeping your hands behind your head, but not using your hands to pull your head up. Mentally focus on your abs trying to only use them.
Whenever my program calls for a low rep day I have to use the ab machine to reach failure. If I am only doing 4 to 8 reps, the sitting ab machine works great. Again, you must focus mentally on your abs, trying to not use your feet very much to pull down. I usually sit with my arms crossed and set the pad to as far back as I can. To avoid injury, you must start in a comfortable position and do a weight that is suitable for the amount of reps you are aiming for. If you are not doing it correctly you could put unwanted stress on your lower back.
Using a stopwatch and choosing a rep range that you can achieve failure on is a crucial part of my workout. If you want to BLAST those abs, only allow 60 seconds between sets of 13 to 15. Do 5 sets at this speed and you will know a new sense of failure!
PAIN – SACRIFICE – ABS!
Start today to improve your overall diet and build your abs with these exercises. You’ll find both the exercise and the diet have a certain amount of pain associated with them. Don’t give in or give up. Instead, celebrate the sacrifice. Your abs won’t be the only thing that gets strong and defined. Your determination, confidence and your spirit are going to get in great shape too.