Posted by: 4pack | August 4, 2008

Abs In India…They Want 4 Packs Too

IT’S a grail we’re all supposed to covet: washboard abs and chis elled, chain-mail six-packs. So what’s your progress so far? Go to the mirror, lift your shirt, and … I thought so. Me too. Given that, perhaps a reality check is in order regarding abdominal training: what to do, what not to do and what to expect.A FEW TRUTHS

First, the abdominals are a complicated set of muscles: The rectus abdominis, which runs from the ribs to the pelvis; the obliques, on the side; and the transversus abdominis, a deeper muscle that forms a girdle around the body.

Developing them all requires three or four different exercises. Second, no matter how many ab exercises you do, it’s still quite possible you won’t see the muscles, or at least not all of them.

Because despite what they say, exercise is only part of the battle. The other part is diet: For most of us, men or women, the abdominals are not going to emerge until the body fat drops, maybe to as low as 10 or 12 per cent.

The point of this is not to disappoint but to reorient. It is important to pay atten tion to your middle as much of what we take for granted in daily life — standing, walking, lifting, running, dancing, casual athletics — depends on keeping the centre strong.


Leg raises, in which you lie faceup on the floor and use the lower abdominals to lift your legs.

Crunches, in which you work the upper abdominals by lift ing your upper body off the ground about a third of the way to the knees.

Crisscross crunches, which use the standard bicycle motion to work the obliques but include a three-second hold at the end of each twist.


Don’t buy expensive home equipment. The fancy ab machines that get peddled on televi sion or elsewhere generally get panned when physi ologists compare them with bodyweight exercises. If you want a toy to build your abs, get an inflatable Swiss ball for crunches and back raises. If you want a toy to build your abs, get an inflatable Swissball, which is good for crunches, back raises and many other exercises. or, if you have a partner to play catch with, try a weighted medicine ball.

Don’t use your hip flexors or, for that matter, your shoulders, neck or lower back to do work meant for your abs.

Don’t just do a million crunches. You need to balance things with exercise that works the rest of the abdominal girdle and lower back. And don’t obsess. The Baywatch body isn’t worth the time it takes to maintain, and often doesn’t work as well as it looks



  1. I’d say the diet part is the most difficult, at least it’s to me 😉

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