By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist
Dear Mr. Fitness:
Please, please help me! I need a new abdominal routine fast! I've been doing a seven-day-a-week program for over a year now. Nothing is really happening. I'm 32 years old, have been doing this stomach routine and see very little results. This is all I do to exercise, 30 to 40 minutes of an "ab tape" at home. What do you think?
You may require more than a new ab routine to turn things around for you.
Try this: discontinue your current routine. Rest your abs. Throw your ab tapes away. Continue to relax. Do nothing for one whole week.
At the end of the week, let's try something brand new. I am assuming your midsection is out of shape. Perhaps your middle is soft. Am I close?
So, here goes. Begin to walk four times per week -- 30 minutes each time at a nice, easy pace. This would be a better use of your time. This starts your body to burn fat.
Next, do resistance-styled exercises three times a week -- squats, calf raises, push ups and reverse dips. This can all be done at home. Use only your body weight when performing these exercises. Do three sets of 15 reps. This will begin to employ your muscles to be stimulated in such a way that will initiate fat burning.
Since you are not now doing this, you will see results very quickly. Now, twice weekly we will attack your midsection. That is correct, twice weekly! No more than that. I think you have been overtraining your abdominals, which can have the action of making your abs weak and not at all firm.
On Mondays, try this ab routine:
Begin with your legs crossed and do crunches. Make certain that you lift yourself as high as possible. Go down only two or three inches, then come right back up. Do three sets of reps to failure -- yes, until you can do no more! Work on crunching until you cannot perform another rep. That's failure (see last week's column on keysnews.com under "Health" for information on that topic).
Now, since you're lying on the floor, put your feet together and pull your knees to your chest. Lower your legs and pull them back in, over and over. Do not allow your feet to touch the floor. Go to failure on three sets resting about two minutes between sets. Your abs should perhaps be feeling something now.
Relax, you're done with them.
On Fridays, do this ab routine:
Start with twisting crunches. Crunch and twist the body at the same time. Left, right, left, right. Three sets of 40 reps. Rest one minute between sets. Now, cross your ankle over your knee. Pull your legs into your chest. Do this 20 times. Immediately switch legs and do another 20 reps.
Go forth and perform three sets of these bad boys! You will feel your midsection!
Try this routine for one month and let me know what happens. I can guarantee that your midsection will be tighter and stronger!
-- Mr. Fitness
Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and come visit at Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 292-2930.