Q: I’m getting ready to start on the Size Surge program, but I see that abs only get hit once a week, on Wednesdays. Can I add some ab work to one of the other two workouts?
A: You can, but I don’t recommend it. Your abs will get lots of solid indirect stimulation from all of the big exercises you’re doing on Monday and Friday—like squats, which you perform on both of those days. Squats are one of the best core moves you can do.
Dave Goodin, drug-free IFBB pro and IM columnist, just released his new e-book, The Texas Shredder Mass Workout, which is featured at X-Workouts.com, and here’s what he says about working abs:
“I train my abs once a week…. If your abs respond well and you train them too much, you’ll end up adding inches to your waist. I had that happen and backed off my ab training to reduce my waist size.”
After reading that and trying it, I discovered the same thing—my waist seemed to get smaller when I trained abs just once a week, even when my winter diet got less strict. Still better news is that a smaller waist will make your upper body look much bigger. Dave weighs 170 pounds at 5’7”, but he looks much bigger due to his small, detailed waist.
My favorite ab workout these days is the following:
Incline kneeups 4 x 10
Ab Bench crunches or full-range bench crunches 3 x 12
That gives me a full-range Positions-of-Flexion hit with only two exercises—midrange work with the incline kneeups and stretch- and contracted-position work with a full-range-crunch exercise. I do both in the 4X style, 30 seconds between sets, same weight on all sets.
Keep in mind that crunches on the floor don’t allow your lower back to arch and your upper back to move down past the plane of your lower back—so you never achieve the rectus abdominis’ stretch position. That’s the reason I do Ab Bench crunches or full-range bench crunches.
The Ab Bench has a rounded low-back pad, so your abs get a mild stretch at the beginning of each rep. With full-range bench crunches, you recline on a bench press bench, head at the opposite end with your feet on the bar. Scoot back until your upper back extends off the end of the bench so you can get a mild stretch in your abs. Now do full-range crunches, letting your shoulders go below the plane of the bench on each rep.
The Size Surge program calls for a couple of sets of incline kneeups and crunches at the end of Wednesday’s direct arms workout. Make those crunches the full-range variety, and that’s all you need once a week to score a tight, cut core.
Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on the POF DVD and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections it this issue. Also visit www.X-Rep.com and X-Workouts.com for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books. IM