Rational Abdominal Training

Ab training is as simple and comprehensible as biceps training yet, for some reason, more training crap has been written on this bodypart than any other.

Ever read those fitness articles that allegedly tell guys how to develop their abs? I'm sure you've seen the images of a guy holding a broom handle or light barbell over his shoulders and twisting his torso from left to right as a means to lose his love handles. A waste of time! Or holding a dumbbell in each hand and bending from side to side. Forget it!

It's just as important to know what doesn't work as it is to know what does work. If you spend weeks in the gym doing ineffective and inefficient exercises you'll get discouraged and give up. That's why most people buy a yearlong gym membership then stop going after a dozen-or-so visits. By contrast, there is nothing more motivating and encouraging than steady, measurable progress toward a specific goal!

Why TV Abdominal Machines Are a Joke

You've seen all those exercise gadgets on late night TV - lightweight gizmos that make it easier for you to rock back and forth while doing a crunch. Have you noticed that none of them allow you to add serious weight to increase intensity? Some have rubber bands or similar devices to add a bit of overload but it's a trivial amount.

I work with male clients who have progressed to the point of doing crunches with 300+ pounds! That's the kind of power and level of development your abs are capable of. So fiddling around with cheap exercise equipment or those electric belts that "stimulate" your ab muscles using the minuscule power of two flashlight batteries is beyond laughable. Let's see two AA batteries generate the power to lift a man's torso and 300 pounds 20 times in one minute. Please.

Goals and Measurements 

The first thing you need to know is that 'love handles' are created by the deposition of extra fat around the midsection. (This is common in men, whereas women tend to have extra fat deposited in the hips and thighs.) So to target this specific area and create specific goals we need to know the measurement of your midsection. Wrap a tape measure around your abdomen at the widest area of your 'love handles' and record the measurement. Also, you really should measure your bodyfat percentage since one of our principal goals will be to reduce fat.

Once we have 'before' measurements of your abdomen and your bodyfat percentage we can create a program and monitor progress every step of the way. Remember, measurement prevents wasting time on things that don't work and it offers very motivating feedback regarding what is working.

Step 1: Burn More Calories

There is no real secret to losing fat; you need to burn more calories than you consume. A great way to do that is to engage in low intensity aerobics such as walking on a treadmill, using a stationary bike, or whatever. The real key is to make certain that the intensity is low enough so that you can do it every day of the week.

That means you should be able to carry on a normal conversation or talk on the telephone while you're doing this exercise. Higher intensity than that requires more time off between workouts and that means less activity and fat burning. Over the longer term, nothing beats adding more muscle to your body as it increases your 24/7 calorie burn and makes it easier to keep the fat off. (Easier to do lots of things, in fact.)

Step 2: Tighten Abdominal Muscles 

The most intense exercise you can do to target your abdominal muscles is to perform weighted crunches. Adding weight to crunches increase the overload to the target muscles and allows you to employ progressive overload, which is an indispensable condition to muscular hypertrophy.

Lie on your back with the handle of a low pulley behind your head. Grasp the handle and pull the slack out of the cable. Using your abdominal muscles, raise your shoulders and upper torso off the floor while lifting the weight stack two inches. Use a weight you can only hold in a static contraction for five seconds. Each time you do this exercise try to increase the weight ten percent.

Note: You can get a complete, brief, ultra-high intensity workout from my SuperRep Abs e-booklet. It's also included in the Mega Deal.

Step 3: Widen Your Upper Body 

A wider midsection can be visually minimized by a having a wider upper body. While you are whittling down your midsection, it really helps to add a little more size to your upper body and create more of the vaunted 'V shape' that is so desirable.

The single best exercise for this is the lat pulldown. You can perform this exercise in the conventional way but if you really want to increase efficiency and intensity try doing it the Static Contraction way with a weight that is so heavy you can only hold it for five seconds in the first two inches of the downward range. You have to feel it to believe it!

Step 4: Measure, Measure, Measure! 

Once per week you should measure the girth of your midsection and your bodyfat percentage. Even the slightest improvement in these measurements in one week is enormously motivating. When you have a goal it is very important to be able to measure progress toward that goal. Don't forget this important step.

In a Nutshell 

Reducing 'love handles' is a simple matter of reducing overall bodyfat through daily low intensity calorie burning and tightening the underlying muscles to improve shape. Perform the recommended aerobics every day and perform the recommended exercises twice per week in your first month and once per week for as long as your exercise weights increase. If your weights do not increase add two extra days off until they do.

Soon you'll have a masculine, hard midsection, lower overall bodyfat and a great V-shaped taper to your torso.

Train (your abs) with your brain,


In the spirit of well-rounded self-improvement and spending fitness time wisely and efficiently, this Static Contraction article was brought to you by the Latin proverb:

Imperare sibi maximum imperium est.

To rule yourself is the ultimate power. (Seneca)

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