At this point we have the three rules needed to begin putting together a synergistic abdominal conditioning routine:

  • Rule 1. Avoid exercises that activate the psoas muscles and require a body position that allows the back to arch.

    Effect of Rule 1: We eliminate many "standard" ab exercises-Straight-Legged Sit-Ups, Roman Chair Sit-Ups, Incline Board Sit-Ups, Bent-Legged, And Feet-Under-Couch SitUps.

  • Rule 2. Work lower abs before upper abs.

  • Rule 3. Do twisting (oblique) upper ab exercises before straight upper ab exercises.

    Effect of Rules 2 and 3: We sort the remaining suitable exercises into general categories reflecting the order in which they should be performed-first: exercises mainly involving lower abs; second: exercises involving twisting movements; and third, exercises mainly involving upper abs.

    Remember, synergism means finding a way to exercise so that each aspect of your workout reinforces all other aspects. We've explained the logic behind the general order of exercises. Arriving at the most effective specific order within these categories has required years of careful experimentation.

  • The Abs routines will take as close as you wish to the Greek sculptor's idea of a well-defined midsection. The total amount of time you'll spend on one workout will never exceed ten minutes.

    The time it will take to reach your goal depends on your present physical condition and the consistency with which you train. It won't be long, though. If you don't have much excess fat, you should see results within a couple of weeks. Mild soreness, however, should come after the first or second workout--a definite indication that something good is happening!

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