Lie in standard bent–knee sit–up position (Fig. 10–a) and very slowly raise your shoulders and upper back about 30 degrees off the ground (Fig. 10-b). Hold for about one second. Return to starting position.
Note: Keep your arms in place (palms against back of your head, elbows out) but as relaxed as possible. Do not pull against the back of your head. Pulling won't make the movement any easier–it will simply put unnecessary stress on your neck.
One full rep should take at least 2 seconds.
CROSS-KNEE ABDOMINAL CRUNCHES
Lie in bent–knee sit-up position (Fig. 11–a) and slowly raise your shoulders, upper back, and right hip. Your right shoulder should aim toward your left knee (Fig. 11–b). Feel for a contraction along the right side of the abdomen. Hold for at least a second; then slowly return to the starting position. Alternate sides
Lie on your back with legs elevated so that your hips and your knees both form right angles (Fig. 12–a). Raise and lower your torso as quickly as you can.
An important difference between these and Abdominal Crunches is that in this case you should think "up" with the torso, rather than "to the knees," as you do during Crunches. This "varies the stress on the abs and assures greater definition (Fig. 12–b).
KNEE ROCK-BACKS LOWER ABS CONDITIONING
Begin in bent-knee sit-up position, feet on the floor, arms straight and extended, palms against the floor forming a cradle for your pelvis, as during Lying Leg Thrusts (Fig. 13-a). Roll backward until your knees hit your chest and your lower back comes off the floor (Fig. 13-b). Lower and repeat. In order to keep the abs contracted throughout the set, don't return your feet to the floor between reps.
Pace should be moderate-about 1 rep per second.
PULL-DOWN AB CRUNCHES
This last exercise is optional. Requiring equipment found in most gyms, it is included for competitive or very dedicated bodybuilders who wish to "fine tune" their abs.
Drape a towel around the cable connecting to a lat pull-down bar, so that by holding both ends you can pull the bar down.
Kneel in front of the machine, holding the ends of the towel, and pull down until your wrists reach the top of your head. Stay far enough from the machine that the cable reaches you at a slight angle, rather than running straight down (Fig 14-a).
With an Elastic Strap
Pull-Down Ab Crunches can also be done using an elastic band to provide resistance. Drape the band over the top of your chinning bar, a low tree branch, etc., grip both ends (Fig. 15), and perform the exercise exactly as described above.
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