Abs - Question about definition, and my abs specifically

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Dissident
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Abs - Question about definition, and my abs specifically

Post by Dissident » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:01 pm

I've been working out for 4 or 5 months now and I had a question relating to abs. I've switched up between a couple different ab routines and for the past few months the only ab exercise i've been doing is the Hammer Strength ab crunch machine (up to 130 lbs doing 12,11, and 9 reps).
My abs have been showing wierd properties though.
First question: my lower abs are not showing much definition, What exercises can I do on top of my currents to bring out definition in my lower abs more?
Secondly: On my left side the definition in my upper abs is great but on my right it seems like the 2 muscles are not there, it seems like they're joined into just one. What would cause this, and what kind of things can I do to bring out definition in my right side more?

Thanks in advance,
-Matt J.


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P.S.

Post by Dissident » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:02 pm

P.S. the ab machine I use is a lot like this one

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Rec ... runch.html

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Stephen Johnson
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Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:22 pm

1 - There is an inverse relationship between your bodyfat percentage and your definition. The more defined you are, the lower your bodyfat percentage. You have to get your bodyfat to single digits to see really sharp definition.

2 - Unfortunately, body fat storage can be idiosyncratic - many people have "problem areas" that resist efforts to lose bodyfat, and "success areas" that shed fat easily. It sounds as if your lower abs are a problem area for you - they stubbornly hold on to fat.

3 - You've omitted info about your non-ab weight training, cardio and diet. An oversight?

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Post by pdellorto » Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:40 pm

Could just be how your abs are shaped - not everyone's abs are shaped the same way. All exercising does is bring out that shape, you can't change it, bodybuilding myths aside.

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Post by Ironman » Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:00 am

Keep in mind abs are not symmetrical. On half is up higher then the other. They look kind of like a 5 year old stitched them together. I don't know why they are like that but they are. Also keep in mind, the rectus abdominus has 1 neural connection, so there isn't really upper or lower abs.


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Post by Dissident » Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:23 pm

My body fat percentage has never been very high. I remember taking one back in high school and i was at like 3.9% and I never exercised so I don't think that's the problem. I think I just need to keep on my routine, i'm really impatient with this sometimes (plus I've been sick for the past like week so I haven't been able to go)

My diet is pretty good, I usually eat healthy. When I started trying to gain weight I began having shakes at night to try to bulk up a bit quicker but I stopped doing that a while ago.

here is my routine

I have a 3 day routine

Day1:
Bench (dumbells)
Incline Bench (Hammer Strength)
Decline Fly's (Free Motion)
Skull Crushers (decline bench with curl bar)
Rope Pulldowns (tricep exercise, not sure the real name for those - where u pull a cable down with a rope attached to it)
Hammer Strength Ab Machine (the one I linked Above)
Dumbell Side Bend

Day2:
Weighted Hyperextension link
Lat Pulldowns
Hammer Strength Side Rows (elbows tucked and elbows cocked out to the side)
Hammer Strength High Row
Dumbell Alt Curls
Hammer Strength Preacher Curl (weighted preacher curl with belt)
Cable Curls (free-motion machine)
Wrist Curls (barbell)
Reverse Wrist Curls (curl bar)
Reverse Preacher Curls (curl bar)

Day3:
Hammer Strength Shoulder Press
Dumbell Side Raises
Barbell Upright Row
PecDec Rear Delta Fly's link a lot like this one
45 degree leg press
Reverse Calf Press
Calf Donkey Sled link




Thanks in advance for the help

-Matt J

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:37 pm

1 - I question the validity of the bodyfat reading that you got in high school. For males, essential bodyfat is between 2 and 4 percent. Well-conditioned male athletes have bodyfat percentages between 6 and 13 percent. The likelihood of an unconditioned adolescent having a bodyfat percentage of 3.9 is nil, unless we're talking about someone who is suffering from starvation.

2 - Your three day per week routine has a total of three lower body exercises done on one day, with no hamstring work. But you do SIX curling movements on another day. Not exactly a balanced routine. You need more lower body work, and less biceps.

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Post by pdellorto » Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:13 am

As Stephen said, it's a lot of curls and not a lot of lower body. You're better off dropping most of the curling, maybe work one bicep exercise hard (or do chinups and work them and the back at the same time). For the lower body add in Deadlifts and/or Squats. They are pretty universally held up as better leg exercises than the Leg Press. They'll also help work the abs heavily as you contract them for stability, so you might not need too much extra ab work on top of that.

Hope that helps,

Peter

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Post by Ironman » Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:06 am

Being the "Simon Cowell" of this board, I will just say that it's absolutely dreadful. Don't your elbows hurt after a while?

Reminds me of this guy I saw who did machine preachers curls longer then my entire upper body routine for the day (more then 20 minutes). I was on to my lower body pair and he was still going.

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Post by Dissident » Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:25 pm

like I said I've always been REALLY skinny.
My elbows have never hurt, only my forearms when I first started working out.

I absolutely HATE deadlifts and squats. The biggest reason I don't do much legs is because I played lacrosse. I had decently built legs before I started hitting the gym every day so I've been focusing on upper body much more (as you can tell). Initially I just did curls, preacher curls, then cable curls and thats it and left out the wrist stuff, but my forearms are skinny so I threw that stuff in.

If anybody could tell me how I could modify my current routine to include more legs and less curls and work the same muscles I will gladly pick it up, so long as it doesn't include squats and deadlifts (yes that's how much I hate them). I like to work out alone. I know that might seem wierd but it's like meditation for me and having someone there bugging me and talking to me usually irritates me a lot.


P.S. I don't go 3 days a week i go pretty much 6 days a week. (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Break, repeat)

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Post by stuward » Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:35 pm

If you start deadlifting your forearms will pick up.

Try some Olympic exercises like power clean, power snatch.

If you are not going to squat or deadlift you're not likely to do those either. So do the leg press, add in leg curls, abduction/adduction exercises. I don't suppose you're likely to do lunges or split squats or anything else that's useful.

Here's a good exercise: http://www.straighttothebar.com/2007/07 ... erido.html

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Post by Dissident » Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:03 pm

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha
that made me laugh...
so what I'm hearing is,
"suck it up and do deadlifts/squats"


should I throw those on top of my current routine and pull out my wrist exercises or what?

P.S. my flexibility sucks, i think i'd only be able to do partial squats - and aren't those bad for your back? Once again i'm a total newbie when it comes to the gym so go easy on me, hah

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Post by Dissident » Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:27 pm

It's the same for me on deadlifts, I can't keep my feet flat with the barbell on the floor. I have a access to lots of machines so I can do hip abduction and leg curls if needed

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Post by stuward » Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:38 pm

I'm glad you took it the way it was intended. There are lots of variations of deadlifts and squats and it opens up the whole world of olympic style weightlifting. Once you master the squat and deadlift there is a huge variety of functional exercises you can do.

Read the Starting Strength link in this thread http://exrx.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3817

The basic exercises are described. When squatting and deadlifting, keep the weight over your heels, your butt back and keep a strong arch in your lower back. If you can't go down all the way, keep trying and it will come.

You should make the main lifts 80% of your workout. By this I'm talking about Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, Rows and olympic lifts when you get to them. The other 20% can be the arms, wrists, calves, etc.

Christian Thibaudeau calls these the "Money Exercises". http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=229mon2

Read up and try some of these and then come back to use with specific questions.

Stu

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Post by Dissident » Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:01 pm

ahh and yet again I laugh "Money" exercises might as well have been called "exercises matt hates". Anyways I'll start working on my squat.

Should I add the squat onto my other leg exercises or what?

Also, should I not worry about wrists so much(get rid of my wrist curls)? Do those bulk with all the other exercises?


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