ABS: Exercising The Neglected Muscle Group

Complete Abdominal Training Guide!

ABS: Exercising The Neglected Muscle Group
Author Writter Image By: MuscleSports.net

Sculpt & Define Your Abs…

Complete and through guide for developing strong and fully functional abdominals!

The abdominals are a muscle group that many trainees fail to work. There are many different reasons for this. The abs are normally not seen; ab work is very repetitive and abs are very difficult to develop. It is also very easy for the average weight trainee to rationalize away a midsection that is flabby and 2 to 4 inches too large. The excuses are endless; I’m bulking up. I’ll start my ab work next week. I don’t have time. These are just a few. For these reasons many trainees carry an extra ten or twenty pounds around their midsection. I have seen some trainees go years without ever doing any abdominal work. These individuals work out faithfully but never work their midsection. Unless you are one of the few very fortunate individuals who have a naturally small waist and a high metabolism, you will pay the price for not working your abs. This price is called FAT.

It is very difficult to convince someone that you are an athlete in good condition when your stomach is hanging over your lifting belt. No matter how big your arms and chest are or how much you can bench press, a sloppy midsection is very hard to explain.


The abdominal muscles serve many purposes. They set off your physique, protect your internal organs and help you keep yourself in an upright position. Strong abdominals act like another set of back muscles when lifting heavy weights.

Having strong abdominal muscles requires exercising, just like any body part. Having a muscular midsection requires both exercise and diet. You can do countless sets of abdominal exercises, but if you don’t follow a good diet, slayer of fat will hide your labor. If you want a muscular midsection, you must combine both exercise and diet. In this narrative we are going to deal with the exercise portion only, but don’t neglect your diet. Diet will be discussed In a future article.

One thing you must remember is that your natural body structure will play a major role in the type of abdominals you develop. A thick waist individual will never have a tiny waist, but this does not mean he cannot have a muscular waist. Many competitors have competed successfully while having what would be called a large waist by bodybuilding standards. the trick is to build it so muscular and defined that additions in the delts and back help provide that "V" taper sought after in major competitions. Take what could have been a liability and turned it into an asset.

The abdominal muscles can actually be divided into three areas: the upper abdominals, the lower abdominals, and the obliques (sides). I do not feel that there is any one exercise that will effectively work all three areas. In order to have a fully developed midsection, a variety of exercises must be used. You must choose exercises that work all areas of the midsection, with special emphasis on your own particular weak points.

There is much debate concerning when and how often to do your abdominal exercises. Some individuals do their ab work before their workout; others do it at the end of their workout. Some individuals work their abs five or six days per week, while others only twice per week. Some individuals do their ab work completely separate from their workouts. I do not feel that any one method is superior to another. I have seen fine abdominals developed by each method. What you must do is find a system that you feel most comfortable with.

I personally train my abdominals five days per week. I work them In the morning immediately upon rising. I use a variety of exercises that work all areas of the midsection. This system works best for me.

I am not saying that you must work your abs five days per week, but I do think a minimum of three days are required. The abs are a muscle group and must be trained as you would any other muscle group. It requires hard work and at times you will want to skip the abdominals, but the effort will be worthwhile. A muscular midsection can really set off your physique and a flabby midsection will really detract from it.

In setting up your abdominal program make sure you include exercises that will work all sections of the abs.

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The following are some sample routines that emphasize complete development.

Routine No.1

  1. Jack Knives — 3 Sets 20 to 25 Reps
  2. Side Bends — 3 Sets 35 to 40 Reps
  3. Incline Leg Raises — 2 Sets 30 to 40 Reps
  4. Curl-Ups — 2 sets 10 to 20 Reps

Routine No.2

  1. Curl-Ups —3 Sets —25 to 35 Reps
  2. Incline Twisting Situps —3 Sets — 35 to 40 Reps
  3. Roman Chair —3 Sets —15 to 25 Reps

As you can see we favor higher reps for abdominals. We have found this system to work best.

The following are abdominal exercises and descriptions that you can incorporate into your routine.

Jack Knives

The jack knife is an exercise that has a lot of movement. Because there is so much body movement it is a great exercise for warming up, or if done in high reps, will benefit your cardiovascular system. Begin the exercise by lying flat on the floor. Extend the arms completely to the rear. The legs should be together and flat on the floor. In one movement bend at the hips, bringing your arms and legs up until you touch the top of your ankles with your fingers. When you are touching, your body should look like a “V”. Keep the arms and legs straight during the movement. After touching your ankles, return to the floor in a reverse movement and repeat.

Side Bends

Stand erect with your feet 15 to 18 inches apart and grasp a dumbbell in your left hand. Your palm will be facing your upper thigh. Place your right hand on your right oblique. Bend to the left as tar as possible and then bend to the right as far as possible. Perform the prescribed number of repetitions and then change the weight to the right hand and repeat the movement. Good for the obliques.

Incline Leg Raises

The leg raise is easy to do. Lie on a fiat surface in the beginning. An Incline bench can be used as you progress. Hold on to something immovable to the rear of your head. Bend the knees slightly while keeping your legs together and bring them up and slightly beyond 90 degrees with your body. You can go back further with the legs if you want to really stretch your lower back. Return the legs under control to the floor and repeat for the number of repetitions.


The curl-up is a simple movement. After you try a few you will discover it is also very effective and concentrated. To do a curl-up, you lie down in front of a chair. Your thighs should be tight up against the legs of the chair and running parallel with them. Interlock your hands behind your head. Now curl your chin into your chest and bring your upper back off the floor about two or three inches. Tightly contract the abdominal muscles, hold for one second, return to floor and repeat. This upper body movement looks like the first one-third of a situp.

Incline Twisting Crunches

Position a situp board on a 20 to 40 degree angle. Lie on the board with your feet at the high side and place them under the strap. With your knees just slightly bent, place your hands behind your head and tuck your chin into your chest. Twist your upper body to the right. Retain this position, then lower your torso down until your lower back touches the board. Return to starting position. Do the prescribed number of repetitions on the right side and then change the position of your torso to the left side and repeat the number of repetitions. You could alternate from left to right on each repetition If you wanted to.

Roman Chair

Seat yourself on a Roman Chair. Clasp your hands behind your head, lower yourself slowly to a parallel position, stop briefly and then slowly return to a starting position. You can eventually work up to holding a weight on your chest. Do not go below parallel in this exercise. It you do, Injury to the back may occur.


Hang on an overhead bar. Your feet should not touch the floor. With the legs together draw them up into your mid-section, bending at the hips and knees. Pull them in, hold for an instant; then return to the full hanging position for one repetition.


Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Place a bar or broom handle on the back of your shoulders. Grab the bar with both hands. Twist your torso to the left and then to the right by twisting at the waist. Do not move your head from side to side. Keep your back straight and your head up.

If you haven’t done any abdominal work In a while, start slowly. Remember that the exercise Is only half of the battle. Good dietary practices should also be followed.

Tags: abdominals core

Mary Joe
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Mary Joe....

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