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BEAST MODE AB WORKOUT BY LOU FERRIGNO
The abdominal muscles, in conjunction with the serratus and obliques, comprise the focus of the physique from the front. The complete development of this area is the key to great first impressions – on stage and off. Without full development and muscular definition in this area, your physique will look incomplete.
Because the general thickness of the muscle in this area is so shallow, you must be relatively lean to show them. You may have them, but if they are covered with even one-quarter inch of fat, they will be invisible. This is in contrast to say, the bicep, which will retain its visible shape to a much higher degree even with a little “padding.” Working this area out is one thing – “seeing” it is another.
Builders, you will not be able to keep rock-hard, visibly-etched abs at all times. As you gain overall body size and weight, you will put on some fat. Continue to work the muscle while on a gaining program and when you decide to cut up, the muscle will be there. How much is too much? When gaining, abdominal area should look smooth but not soft or squishy.
The abdominal muscle, as we’re referring to it here, is actually one long thin muscle that runs from your rib cage to your pubic bone. It is crossed by three flat tendons creating an 8-section grid whose upper portion is known as the six-pack.
The serratus muscles can be found in your upper abdomen connecting the ribs and the scapula. They help the general movement of the shoulder and arm. The serratus is known as the “Boxer’s Muscle,” since it’s responsible for the movement of throwing a punch.
The obliques wrap your abdomen on both sides. They provide stability and strength to the torso and back muscles.
More is not better. More is just more. Abs need to be worked out right. Don’t overwork them. Let them rest too. So start out slow and low.
Knee to Chest: Sit on a bench. Recline about 45 degrees. Grip the bench for added support. Lift your feet off the ground. Now, fold your legs into chest while contracting your torso towards your knees. Return to original position slowly. Concentration and balance are essential to the correct execution of this movement. If you want extra weight, balance a plate across the instep of your foot. This motion will probably be very jerky in the beginning, but stick with it. Eventually it will be smooth and fluid.
Hanging Leg Raise: Hang from the high bar. Bring your knees to your chest while contracting your torso towards your knees. Come down slowly. If you want to really work out every muscle, twist your hip slightly and raise. With the added twist, you’ll gets all of the muscles working together.
Vertical Pulley Crunch: Start with the rope attachment on the overhead pulley. Kneel down with your knees slightly wider than your ankles. Your lower body should remain in the same basic position throughout. Do not allow your butt to move towards your heels. Pull down towards the floor until your elbows touch. You should feel every inch of this exercise. Be slow and deliberate. Do not use your arms. Concentrate on pulling down with your torso.
Knee to Chest
Hanging Leg Raise
Vertical Pulley Crunch
This is a very complex routine and requires some experience to complete. If you’re just getting started, try one of these (20-30 reps, 1 set):
Elbow to Knee Crunch: Lay down flat. Hands behind your head. Do not push your head up with your hands. Bend your knees and bring your legs up into a sitting position. Bring your elbow forward so your arms hug your face. Now contract both upper and lower abs so your elbows and knees meet. Your butt should come off the mat as should your upper back. Do this exercise slowly.
Flat Leg Raise: Lay down flat with your arms down to your sides. Palms down. Raise your legs a couple of inches above the floor. Bring your straight legs up as far as you can go – but no further than 90 degrees. Now return back to the position hovering over the ground. Be slow and deliberate. Do not swing.
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