Exercises for the Six Pack Experiment

For the Getting A Six Pack Experiment there were two requirements for me to achieve washboard abs:

  1. Lose fat
  2. Gain ab muscle

Losing fat was most important so I could SEE the muscles underneath.  No matter how big your ab muscles are, even a small amount of fat covering them will still hide them.

So MyBodyTutor set out an ab exercise routine for me….nothing crazy, and it didn’t require a gym or extra equipment (which is good because I could do them a home if needed).

At first they said I should be doing 10-15 repetitions for each set, but ideal was 20 repetitions….it took me about 1 1/2 weeks to work up to that level.

The first week I would go through the paces, and my abs would literally give out on the 10th or 15th repetition of each exercise.  It was nearly impossible to get through the whole thing without hunching over in pain (the good kind of I-Feel-Good-Because-I-Exercised pain).

After doing this nearly every day (I was told to do this routing 4-5 times per week) I started getting “immune” to the exercises and increased my repetitions.  Within no time I was doing 20 of each repetition, and 3 of each set…for a total of 180 situp variations per session. My abs would get nice and sore from this (once again, the GOOD kind of sore).

Adam told me my abs should ALWAYS be sore after each session or I’m not working them hard enough.

After a while of doing these diligently (and doing random ab exercises throughout the work day), 20 of each got me tired, but not sore. I thought I’d add weight or more repetitions (which gets a little boring), but Adam told me something that REALLY helped:

Simply hold each one for 2 seconds!

So instead of going up, then down…I’d go up, pause for 2 seconds, go down.  THIS KICKED MY ASS!!

It was actually unbelievable what a difference this made.  Usually by repetition number 5 or 10 I was hunched over groaning from this extra load….and it didn’t require any extra equipment or much more time.

So what are these magical exercises that transformed the strength of my abs?  Let’s take a gander:

Bicycle Situps:

Each set: 20
Number of sets: 3
Instructions:

  • Pull your opposing elbow and knee together (try to hold it there for a second or two)
  • Go back down (both elbow and knee)
  • Repeat with other elbow and knee

Knee Bends:

Each set: 20
Number of sets:
3
Instructions:

  • Support yourself with your hands behind you
  • Lift legs and chest towards each other
  • Stretch back out
  • Slowly let legs down
  • *Note* This one is even better if you do it off a bench

Foot Reaches:

Each set: 20
Number of sets:
3
Instructions:

  • Hold legs up in air (I can’t physically stretch my legs straight up)
  • With one hand reach up and touch your toe
  • Pause for a second or two while touching your toe
  • Go back down
  • Repeat with other hand

After doing this routine about 5 times per week, I could already feel the size increase of my abs.  The top part of my abs (near the bottom of my rib cage) had grown in….and I had previously never even SEEN those muscles before!

These exercises worked great for me and my particular purpose, but if you’re a big ole fatty looking to lose weight, these exercises alone probably won’t work for you becaaaauusseee….(click play to listen):

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    Blog posted on: April 27, 2010

    15 comments on “Exercises for the Six Pack Experiment

    1. Jaume S.

      Nev! You’re crazy :)
      I really enjoy reading your weekly updates on this one month experiment!

      Regarding this last post, I’m not an expert like Adam but now that you’re used to the abs exercices I think you would experience best reults if you train them to failure. I usually do 4 series of 8-10 reps with enough weight to reach failure, then rest 2-3 days. Proper form when executing the exercise is key, not only focusing on the positive movement but keeping the muscle hard and concentrating on the negative one as well. Very slow movements, feeling the muscle. Protein intake and sleeping well are very important factors too.

      Finally one thing I heard is that before taking a picture there’s a special exercice to pump muscle to the max: lots of series with less weight but many reps to failure (e.g. 20-15-12-10-8-6-4-4).

      Well, that’s my 2 cents :) Good luck with your experiment!

      Reply
      1. Neville Post author

        Jaume,

        Thanks for the advice! I might need to try that before the pictures….they never fully show the six-pack.

        Sometimes I see it better in certain types of light.

        I want it to clearly pop out eventually, but it would be nice to photograph it properly in its infancy.

        Reply
    2. Guy G.

      Hey Neville,
      Thanks for the break from tips on budgeting and stuff. I needed a reminder that I’ve fallen short of my fitness goals as well, so thank you for that nudge. I’ve got an active day tomorrow, but I’m hoping to get a jog in in the evening. It’s amazing how a ear or two of reduced physical activity can really have an effect on physical appearance and energy level.
      I biked to work a couple times last week and couldn’t believe how much energy I had. Except for the day after the second ride:)

      Anyway, thanks for the post, and the reminder to get off my duff.

      Cheers,
      Guy

      Reply
      1. Neville Post author

        Guy,

        Yes…this is a FINANCIAL blog, but taking a break from money to focus on health is very important.

        I’ve noticed they often go together.

        Many of the very successful people I know take care of themselves pretty well…it gives them much more energy and stamina to take on business and money challenges.

        Hope this series of posts helped you!

        Reply
      1. Neville Post author

        Hahaha…I AM TOO!

        Adam was actually surprised in my daily feedbacks that I still go out and party, drink beer, drink liquor….but still stat within my proper calorie range.

        I want to have my health AND my social life too. The cool thing is: when I don’t eat tons of heavy foods, I find it easier to feel the effects of alcohol.

        This means I can still get buzzed, but with less calories and money :-)

        Reply
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    4. Bruce

      Hahaha…I AM TOO!

      Adam was actually surprised in my daily feedbacks that I still go out and party, drink beer, drink liquor….but still stat within my proper calorie range.

      I want to have my health AND my social life too. The cool thing is: when I don’t eat tons of heavy foods, I find it easier to feel the effects of alcohol.

      This means I can still get buzzed, but with less calories and money :-)

      Reply
    5. Carl

      Just tried your exercises. Did good except the last one…this 40 something year old body needs to get in better shape. Would also encourage you to drink green smoothies once a day. Mixture of fruit, green vegs., whey protein, packed with nutrients and vitamins. All you taste is the fruit.

      Reply
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