The Bodybuilder Approach to a Six-Pack

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These exercises are performed for a once a week midsection blitz.  On other days, amidst other body part blitzes, three sets of side bends and sit-ups are performed.

Warming Up and Working the Midsection:

Dumbbell or Kettlebell Swing- Standing erect with one dumbbell or kettlebell grasped in both hands, raise the weight straight over head and swing it towards the ground and back through your legs as far as possible, while bending your knees as you go towards the bottom position.  Exhale as you go down.  Inhale and swing the weight back to the top position.  Repeat for thirty or forty reps.

Twisting Barbell Good Morning – Standing erect with a light barbell across your shoulders, bend forward at the waist until your body is at a right angle to your legs.  Twist towards your right, then towards your left.  Raise to the start and then repeat.  Keep your knees locked and inhale before you start your bend, exhale when you raise back to the start position.  Perform fifty repetitions.

Barbell Side Bend – Standing erect with a light barbell across your shoulders and your legs spread to about shoulder width, dip your left shoulder towards your left hip while contracting your abdominals.  Center your body and then dip to the right hip.  Repeat for fifty reps on each side.

Dumbbell Rear Side Bend – Standing erect with the dumbbell in your right hand held behind your buttocks and the other hand on your head, lean forward while raising the weight with a straight arm.  Perform fifty reps and then switch hands and repeat.

Stiff-Legged Dead Lift – Stand erect with a moderate weight barbell held at arms length in front with your palms facing rear.  Bend forward keeping your legs stiff and touch the floor with the weights.  Return to the erect position and repeat for fifty reps.

Decline Compound Sit-Up – On a decline sit-up bench, beginning in the supine position raise your upper body until erect, then twist the right and then the left.  Center your torso and return to the supine position.  Repeat for fifty reps.

Bent Knee Sit-Up – On a sit-up board, knees bent and your hands behind your head, raise your upper body while crunching your abdominals.  Lower your torso and repeat for fifty reps.

Compound Bent Knee Sit-Up – The same position as the bent knee sit-up except at the top of the move, twist your torso to the right and then the left before centering and returning to the start position.

Heel High Sit-Up – Begin with your calves and feet over a bench and your upper torso on the floor and hands behind your head, raise your upper body while crunching your abs.  This exercise may be performed as a compound move by twisting your body at the top of the move.

Jackknife Sit-Up – Starting supine on the mat with legs and arms extended, bend at the waist and reach for your toes with your hands, keeping both limbs straight.  Return to floor and repeat.

Over A Bench Sit-Up – With your feet hooked under a stanchion and your upper thighs resting on a bench, lower your torso backwards to a level position, then elevate while crunching your abs until you are erect.  Return to start and repeat.

Decline Compound Sit-Up – On a decline board with your feet elevated and your hands behind your head, raise your upper body while crunching your abs, and reach your right elbow towards your left knee.  Lower your body then raise again but reach your left elbow towards the right knee.  As you progress in this exercise, begin to use a weight held behind your head to add resistance.

Incline Compound Sit-Up – On an incline bench with your head at the top and your arms extended overhead, bend forward and touch your lower leg or feet with your hands, first the right hand to the left leg/foot and then the left hand to the right leg/foot.

Lying on Side Scissor – While lying on your right side with your left foot resting on a bench, your right hand behind your head and your left hand on your hip, raise your right left from the floor and touch the other foot while keeping your leg straight.  Repeat and then reverse sides.

Kneeling Back Kick – On your hands and right knee on the bench, kick your left leg backwards while keeping your leg straight.  Repeat and then reverse your stance and kick the right leg.

Dip Stand Leg Raise – On a dip stand raise your body to full height with your arms straight and then raise your legs until they are straight out in front.  Lower and repeat.

Incline Bench Leg Raise – On an incline bench lie supine with your hands holding the bench behind your head, raise your straight legs in front until they are at a forty-five degree angle with your body.  Lower and repeat.

Chinning Bar Leg Raise – Hang from a chinning bar with your hands widely spread.  Raise your legs until they are parallel with the floor.  Lower and repeat.  This may also be performed in a compound manner whereby you raise the legs alternately to the left and right sides.

Weighted Leg Raise – Lying supine on a mat, grasp a dumbbell between your feet and raise your legs overhead.  Lower and repeat.

There are many variations of each of these exercises.  Some of them are compound moves where you incorporate twisting or turning within the movement.  In others you may add weights, either held behind your head or grasped with your feet.  Or, you may bend your legs as you raise your legs, thus crunching the abs a little more.  It is wise to change your established routine every three months so that the muscles never get too conditioned to the moves, thus you continue to make them grow and define.

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