Q: I have a problem that seems almost insurmountable. I’ve been training for 10 years, but I’m unable to attain any degree of definition in my abdominals. My other bodyparts have improved greatly over the years, as has my strength. I’ve tried all of the accepted abdominal exercises’situps, crunches, leg raises and so on. Nothing works. Can you help?
A: The exercises you’ve tried are only a small part of what’s required to attain the six-pack you desire. Exercises alone, no matter how sophisticated they are or how diligently you perform them, will never produce the desired results.
To get a hard, muscular midsection, you need a consistent three-pronged attack:
1) A proper nutritional approach.
2) Aerobics at a high level of proficiency.
3) A specific exercise program.
That’s a lot easier for me to write than it is for you to do. After all, you’ve been trying for 10 years to achieve a degree of hardness that has eluded you. That’s a clear indication that you must change your diet. I suggest you start by reducing your carbohydrate intake, slowly at first, until you reach a point at which you’re losing five to six pounds a month while retaining both your strength and overall muscle size. At the same time incorporate an intelligent aerobics program into your routine. Start by jogging. Work up to a maximum of two miles every few days. That will begin to make serious incursions into the excess bodyweight I’m sure you’re carrying. After about six weeks switch to interval running. Jog a half mile on a running track to warm up; and then begin by sprinting a straightaway, approximately 100 yards. Walk the curve, then sprint the next straightaway. Do that eight times, for a total of one mile. After a month of intervals, go to 12 30- or 40-yard sprints only, with minimal rest between. Do them up a 30-degree-incline hill, if possible.
After a month or so of incline sprints plus the diet, you can expect some of the abdominal muscularity that has eluded you all these years. As for direct ab work, do four sets of situps on a very steep incline’60 to 70 degrees. Go to failure on your first set, and then reduce your reps by five on each successive set. After completing the situps, turn around on the same incline, grab the top and do three sets of leg raises. Do the first set to failure, and then reduce each successive set by five reps.
Do all that, and you’ll wind up with a great set of abs. Take before and after photos. You’ll be amazed. IM