Sippin' the Kool-Aid
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Lyin' in a puddle of sweat on the floor.
I started out with crunches. IMO, they're the easiest to do, easier than sit-ups. I did 15 a day until they got too easy, then moved to bent-knee sit-ups with my feet anchored. Some folks swear by swiss ball crunches, but those never did anything for me, even with a weight plate added, so after trying those, I just went to sit-ups on the floor instead. When those got too easy, I moved to straight leg sit-ups, feet anchored...those allow for some hip flexor assistance, so sound like they should be easier, but they are ab killers. From there, I started doing the straight leg sit-ups on the swiss ball, then started going for some hyperextension, reaching overhead and touching the floor with one hand. Those are the hardest I've done so far. If you get to those, make sure you lock your knees straight on the sit-up portion, to get that hip flexor assistance, because you will need it...don't worry, it will still need plenty of abs and you will be feeling it there. If you feel it in your lower back, then you're not locking your knees out hard enough on the sit-up portion. It's okay to bend the knee on the lowering/touching the floor portion, but when you start out, just go to horizontal, and do that till it feels easy, before going for the hyperextension.
Another good ab exercise that anybody can do, that's a killer, is "knees to elbows". The tough peeps do this while hanging from a pull-up bar, and that's something you could work up to, or hang and just raise your knees as high as you can, but you can also do these on the floor: lie down on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and you need to anchor your hands (I just reached under my bed frame at home, and that worked fine, but a pair of heavy dumbbells would work, too), reach overhead and grab your anchor point with both hands, arms bent so your elbows are sticking up, then tighten your abs, take a breath and hold it, and try to bring your bent knees up and touch them to your elbows, or just as close as you can comfortably get. To make these tougher, try staightening your legs at the bottom, as in a straight leg raise. When those get too easy, then you can move to knee raises on the pull-up bar, then knees to elbows on the pull-up bar. It's a bigger range of motion on the bar, because your arms are straight, instead of being bent at the elbow.
You can do abs daily, especially if you're just doing sit-ups or crunches or the floor knees-to-elbows. This way, it's just calisthenics, and it's a great way to just get deconditioned abs in shape. If you're doing something more like a strength exercise, like holding weight plates on your chest and ripping the crap out of them, then I'd give it a day or two of rest before doing abs again. I just do the calisthenics type, so I do them daily.
Now, for the six-pack abs, well, you can build them, but since they are so small, you'll have to get your bodyfat down low enough that they show. How low, percentage-wise, just depends on your body type, and where your body likes to store the fat.
Last edited by jamsk8r; 07-27-2009 at 03:59 PM.