(Image: © www.charleslowthian.com)
I have never had a six pack. No matter how low I got my body fat, I just couldn’t get that visible separation in the abs. I thought I had tried everything.
Luckily for us, fitness scientist and evil super genius Tim Ferris had this exact same problem. What he learned was that conventional ab exercises suck. The one common attribute he found among popular movements like the floor crunch is a poor range of motion. He underwent an advanced analysis and came up with the three most effective ab exercises known today.
Movement 1: The Fully Stretched Crunch
The fully stretched position causes a reﬂex which creates a stronger contraction and is more effective in recruiting the transverse abdominis . If your body fat is low enough (below 12%) you can expect to see results from this movement in less than 3 weeks.
1. Start with arms stretched overhead as high as possible Keep your arms behind or next to your ears for the entire exercise.
2. Lower under control for 4 seconds until your ﬁngers touch the ﬂoor, the entire time attempting to extend your hands further away from the ball.
3. Pause at the bottom for 2 seconds, aiming for maximum elongation (picture 3).
4. Rise under control and pause in the upper, fully contracted position for 2 seconds. The arms should not pass perpendicular with the ground.
5. Repeat for a total of 10 repetitions. Once you can complete 10 repetitions, add weight to your hands.
* This exercise requires a Bosu Ball.
Movement 2: The “Laughing” Muscles
Doing crunches will not pull your abdomen in and give you the washboard appearance that everyone desires. The muscle ﬁbers of the six-pack (rectus abdominis) run vertically. The muscle you want to target instead is called the transverse abdominis, and runs horizontally, like a belt. Have your abs have ever been sore from laughing or coughing? Those are your transverse abdominis you’re feeling.
1. Get on all fours and keep your gaze focused either directly under your head or slightly in front of you. Don’t arch your back or strain your neck.
2. Forcefully exhale from your mouth until all air is fully expelled. Your abs should be contracted from this forceful exhale. Full exhalation is necessary to contract the transverse abdominals, and you’ll use gravity to provide resistance.
3. Hold your breath and pull your belly button upward toward your spine as hard as you can for a target of 8–12 seconds.
4. Inhale fully through the nose after the 8-12 second hold.
5. Take one breath cycle of rest (exhale slowly out the mouth, inhale slowly through the nose), then repeat the above for a total of 10 repetitions.
Movement 3: Avoid the Potbelly Look with Hip Stretches
The following movement works by adjusting the tilt of your pelvis which helps maintain a flat appearance of the abdominals. Perform once a day for 30 seconds on each side.
Hip ﬂexor stretch:
The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman is available from Amazon.com