The Sunday News
I will admit I have a rather strange approach to training abs. I know many people who write down their sets, reps, exercises and days trained but I have never done that.
For me ab training is something I do before my workout or in the middle of it or between sets or after I have finished weight training or doing cardiovascular work, in other words whenever the mood hits me but I always do it.
The diet connection
In my quest for more defined abs I discovered something of incredible importance diet. I used to eat anything I wanted, cakes, ice cream, pizza, French fries you name it, chances are I ate it. Then I started experimenting with my diet. First I cut out the processed fried and sugar laden foods.
That made a big difference. Next I reduced my total daily fat intake to no more than 25 grams. Wow, my abdominals became sharper and more defined and I could see ab muscles I never knew I had. I have found a little psychological trick that works well in helping me keep my abdominals razor sharp.
I pretend I’m allergic to fat. For five days during the week I try to keep my fat intake below 25g.
Then on the 6th and 7th days I may have something sweet or a slice or two of pizza. However, an average of 25g of fat per day is my limit.
Anyone can prepare low fat meals that taste great and will allow you to keep your midsection sharp and defined.
All it takes is a little time and planning since I lead a very active life many times I don’t have time to cook. I have found a diet that has worked very well for me and my busy schedule.
Here it is. Remember low fat eating is the key.
The exercise connection
Following a low fat diet of course I had won only part of my battle for more defined abdominals. I still had to develop my abs. that took an exercise plan, one that up to that point I hadn’t considered.
A bodybuilder can do many exercise crunches for the middle and upper abs, knee ups for the lower abs, leg raises for the middle and lower abs, raised twists for the oblique’s. When I would ask people in the gym to recommend ab exercises I got so many, some were best responses so I got confused. I finally realised that that I would have to experiment to find the best ab routine.
Stay out of the comfort zone
I’m a big believer in mixing up my ab routine and doing something different each work out because I get bored quickly and training should be fun. Each workout I change the exercises sets and reps. This keeps the ab muscles confused and never allows them to grow stale.
I see many people do the same thing every workout for their abs. Sure, they are moving the abdominal muscles but they are not really making them work hard.
Feel each rep
The most important points to remember about abdominal training are:
1.Use strict form.
2. Do each rep slowly from start to finish.
3. Inhale at top of movement, exhale at bottom.
4.Go for peak contraction and the burn.
The work out
1. Crunch 4 sets 30 reps
2 Rope cable pull down kneeling 4 sets 30 reps
3. Lying diagonal crunch 4 sets 30 reps
4. Standing side bend 4 sets 25 reps
5. Hanging knee up 4 sets 25 reps
—Additional information from online sources. The writer Simon Gama is a fitness trainer at Bodyworks gym in Bulawayo.