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Workout 1 - Abdominals

Each month here at we will include a 6 week specialization program, geared towards strengthening a specific, possibly not-so-LEAN body part... This week we will start with a program that will get y'all in shape for the beach this summer with a sexy set of washboard abs. Now, it should be mentioned that one of the primary purposes of good ab training is to contribute to the health of the lower back, hips, and lower extremities, but I'm sure most of you would settle for just looking damn sexy with your shirts off!

Your abs should be worked like any other muscle, in that they need time to grow, or in this case to shape. Don't think that by performing ab exercises every day you will get the abs of your dreams in one week instead of six; it's never going to happen. Follow the same program schedule as normal, and work your abs twice a week as you normally do, on days 1 and 3 of your schedule. Your abs should be worked BEFORE your weight circuit, and generally speaking, start with your weakest area (lower abs) up to the strongest (upper abs).

After a warmup and stretches, perform the following

a) Hanging Leg Raises
sets: 2 x 20
speed: 5 second holds
rest: 30 seconds.

Hang from a chin-up bar with your hands spaced slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Your legs should hang straight below you, knees bent with your toes pointing to the floor. Tilt your pelvis upward, then slowly raise your legs as high as you can. Do not arch your back, as it should stay rounded during the lift. Pause for 5 seconds, then slowly lower your legs and repeat. Rest for 30 seconds and then perform a second set.

b) Lying Leg Thrusts
sets:2 x 25
speed: 5 second holds
rest: 30 seconds
Lie flat with your arms at your sides, tucked underneath your buttocks. With your legs and feet together, raise them so that your thighs are almost perpendicular to the floor, with your knees slightly bent. Lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor, then raise your legs towards your torso by curling your pelvis up towards your ribs. Straighten your legs, thrust your pelvis up, and push your toes towards the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds, lower your legs back into the starting position, then repeat.

c) Reverse Crunch
sets: 2 x 25
speed: 5 second holds
rest: 30 seconds
Lie flat on the floor with your hands extended out to your sides for support. Keeping your knees bent, bring your legs up to a position where your glutes are a few inches off the floor and your knees are a few inches from your face. Hold for 5 seconds while contracting your abs, then lower. Rest for 3 seconds then perform a second set.

d) Quarter Sit-up
sets: 3 x 20
speed: 5 second holds
rest: 30 seconds

Lie flat on your back with your hands touching the sides of your head. Keeping your legs together, bend your knees and draw them up until your legs form a 90 degree angle with your thighs perpendicular to the floor. Curl your head and shoulders off the floor, hold for 5 seconds, and return to the start position and repeat. Rest for 30 seconds, before performing another set.

Remember, you can have the strongest and buffest abs in the world but if they are covered by a layer of stomach lard, then you can't really show them off. So here are some quick tips for midsection reduction and quick fat loss:

1) Keep up the Cardio
If your goal is a smaller midsection, the best way to burn maximum calories is through at least 20 minutes of continuous, intense cardio.

2) Reduce your fat intake
To successfully reduce body fat, you must decrease the amount of total fat grams and calories in your diet.

3) Increase your intake of lean protein
Protein builds muscle; by eating a high protein, low carb, low fat protein such as chicken breasts, egg whites, tuna, etc., your body is building muscle while lowering it's total body fat at the same time. Also, try to include supplemental protein in your diet; getting 1 to 2 grams of protein per body weight can be tough so adding a high quality protein can be an easy and effective way to keep your body in an anabolic state.

4) Eat small, frequent meals
Eating is thermogenic, in that your body burns calories while breaking down food; by eating more frequently, your body remains in constant burning mode, and your metabolism is revved up.

5) Drink plenty of water and avoid carbonated beverages
Drink at least one gallon of water per day, but stay away from carbonated drinks since they will cause bloating and water retention.

6) Eat more fiber
Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, is essential to health and to the reduction of bod yfat.

7) Use a non-ephedrine based fat burner to help boost metabolism
At some point or another, everyone's metabolism begins to slow down, and we need a little "jumpstart". However, no matter how slow your metabolism, or how unhealthy you think you look, you should never risk your health in your pursuit of the ideal body.

That's it! You are on your way to sexy summer abs, and in 6 weeks you will be thanking me. Don't forget to send us your before and after photos, and if you have any questions, don't be shy, send them to

Written by: Barry DeHart (04/28/04)