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Crunches Gone Wrong

I think people over-think certain exercises – especially abs. Everyone’s looking for a new abdominal exercise to fixed the midsection, but half the time they aren’t even doing the basic exercises correctly, or they’re not doing them often enough to really make a difference.

Rounded back, legs up, relaxing abs between reps, pulling neck forward, & holding too much air while  repping out a bunch of crunches are just a few mistakes people make all the time.

Steve Pfiester shares some foundational principles on how to get the most out of the mother of all abdominal exercises: The Crunch. He’ll teach you what to do – and what not to do. Whether you want LL Cool J abs or Jillian Michaels – you have to do them right to really work. 

Read Steve’s Blog: Get Perfect Abs

Check it out – and apply the tips during your next ab workout! And don’t forget to subscribe to both of our blogs for all of our tips and news!

FEEDBACK: Who’s Got the Best Abs?

After you learn how to get the abs of your dreams, check out what celebrities made Wet Pain’s Best Abs  in Hollywood list. Do you agree or disagree? Would you rather have Jennifer Aniston’s abs or Monica Brant or T.O.? Who’s abs make you drool?

Steve’s Blog: Get Perfect Abs

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FAT TO FAB: Get Your Abs Ready for the Beach!

Bikini season is here and, if you’re like me, you’re more aware of your midsection than ever. It’s time to trim up and get rid of some of the winter fluff!. You’re abdominals are already there, we just need to shed the layer of fat hiding them and tone them up.

Six Pack or Just Plain Flat?
Abs come in different shapes and sizes. Some of you may want those ice cube abs “Marky Mark” Wahlberg showed in his old Calvin Klein ads. Most people just want a nice flat smooth surface, free of lumps and bumps. Although the training may be slightly different depending on your goal, one thing remains the same – diet and cardio is a must.

Uncover Your Abs
Everyone has abs – you just might not be showing yours. Sorry pFIT pFANS, although I’ll be giving you ab exercises today, let me first point you to some cardio to burn off that extra layer of fat that’s hiding your abs, no matter what shape they are in. Whether you have a 2 pack or a six pack, you still have lines under that fat and the only thing that will reveal it, is burning more calories than you eat. So it’s time to decrease your caloric intake and increase your calorie burn. Don’t have a treadmill or elliptical? No worries!! I’ve got ways for you to scorch and torch that fat on your living room floor!

Fight the Fat

Perform each exercise as quickly as you can for one minute! Get your timer out! My favorite ones are the Gymboss & the Interval Timer for the iPhone.

Keep your abs tight throughout this entire kickboxing inspired cardio workout.

Butt-kicks
Air Squats
Jumping Jacks
Squat Cross (One arm only per round round)
Squat Cross Knee (One knee only per round)
Repeat 2 Times

Cardio & Core

Planks, Pushups and mountain climbers require you to hold your core tight. Add in a few cardiovascular exercises and you get to tone the midsection and burn fat too.
10 Rotational Push-ups
20 Steam Engine
10 5 Second Football Stomp With Sprawl
20 Plank Jax
10 Plyometric Double Knee Jump
20 Mountain Climber
10 Seconds Rest
Repeat 2 Times

8-Pack

The following 8 exercises will hit your abs in every direction, upper abs, lower abs and obliques. Remember to keep your tummy tight throughout each exercise, keep your butt and shoulders off the floor through the crunches for the best possible ab-crunching action. This workout can be done often. However, if you want to work on those “ice-cube” abs, you’ll need to add in more weighted abdominal exercises, and those will require at least a day of rest between workouts just like regular weight routines.

10 Sit-up
25 Weighted Crunch
10 Sit-up
25 Bicycle Kick
10 Sit-up
25 Snowboarder Crunch (one side per round)
10 Sit-up
25 Snow Angel
Repeat 2 Times

Will Work For Abs: The Six-Pack Secret

Body Parts that Count: Part 3 – Abs & Core

In this blog series I’ve been talking about the 3 muscle groups I feel should be a woman’s focus: Shoulders, Glutes & Abs. Today we discuss the abs.

“Diet doesn’t make you fit.
      Exercise doesn’t make you skinny”

Steve Pfiester said that yesterday and I thought, that needs to be a t-shirt. No, a Billboard. No, a whole national advertising campaign! Honestly, people need to hear this!!! We’ve all seen overweight people who are physically fit and we’ve seen plenty of out of shape skinny people. Why am I going on this tangent when the topic is abs? Well it’s simple. You can have abs (shoot, you may have them right not) but if you don’t combine training with diet together, you’ll likely never see them.

Will Eat for Abs
You’ve seen the homeless guys holding a sign “Will work for food”? Well, will you eat for abs? Will you eat (and not eat) what it takes to get the abs you want? Just like many of those guys have no intensions of actually doing any work to get their money, many people in the gym have no intensions of eating what they need to be eating to get their abs.

Honestly, doing a few crunches is the easy part. It’s the other 23 hours a day that are hard to control. As Alfonso “The Angry Trainer” Moretti says, “Abs are made in the kitchen“. If you want to shave off the fat covering your abs, you need to shave off some calories. Once you can actually see your abs, the shape of them, how tight they are, and how big each cube is is up to your training.

Will Work for Abs
It may not seem like it, but this is the easy part. However, some people still have a lot of questions about how to train them. How often can you train your abs? What type of workouts are best for abs? So many questions, so little time.

Non-weight ab exercises, like traditional crunches or situps, can be done daily. However, weighted abs need rest and repair just like your biceps, so they need a couple of days of rest in between.

Steve Pfiester, for instance, does non-weighted abs in between sets while training other body parts through out the week. Then he has one day solely dedicated to traps, calves and abs, where he does his weighted ab exercises. This way he’s always hitting them to keep them tight and tone.

This is also why I like functional training, like push-ups, planks and mountain climbers, because it keeps my core tight in between ab days. Believe me, if you do pushups on a regular basis, you will definitely notice your abs and core tightening.

Weakness Becomes Strength
I have to admit, abs are not my best feature. Unfortunately, the body parts you hate the most, typically are the body parts you don’t like to train the most too. It should be the other way around, but we are human and we like doing things we are good at. We like training our best looking body part, we enjoy working our muscles that are the strongest and we prefer to do the exercises we have already mastered. That’s why our weaknesses often stay a weakness – but they can become your strength.

If you really want to change your body, work the parts that need to work the most. Do the stuff you hate the most (like cardio) and force yourself to do programs, like our BCx Boot Camp, that keep your training balanced and keep you doing stuff you’d most likely skip if you were doing it on your own. The more you do it, the more you’ll like it because you’ll become stronger and you’ll begin to see the work pay off.

Workooout, “I’m sexy and I know it” (sing along with me!)
Here is one of our ab circuits from our brand new BCx Boot Camp Express workout at FitStudio. Click on the picture below and go to Day 6 to view the entire workout, including instructional video.

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15 ABsolutely Awesome Ab Exercises

When I searched for candid photos of female celebrities who had great abs, I came up pretty empty handed. However, the one female star that really stole the google image show was Gwen Stefani, and deservingly so.

The truth is, everyone has abs – it’s just whether we see them or not. The leaner you are and the more developed they are, the more visible they are. Aside from diet, the problem is many people are limited when it comes to knowing a lot of ab exercises. If you are working on getting Gwen Stefani abs by bikini season, then maybe it’s time to freshen up your abs hit list!

If you were Steve Pfiester‘s client, here are a few of the exercises he’d likely have you doing.

AB EXERCISES: 
1. Crunch
2. Sit-up
3. Bicycle Crunch
4. Vertical Leg Crunch
5. Oblique Crunch
6. Reverse Crunch
7. Side V-up
8. Hanging Knee-ups
9. Snow Angels
10. Crunch & Punch
11. Take it or Leave it
12. Plank
13. Pulse Side Plank
14. T-plank
15. Alternating Hand Foot Plank Lift Off

AB WORKOUTS:
Boot Camp Core
Plank-n-simple
Abs & Core Workout with a Fit Ball 

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What’s Your Belly Type? 4 Problems, 4 Solutions

So you have a belly. What type of belly do you have? Before you can figure out what you need to do about your belly, you need to figure out what your problem is.

1. POOCHY BELLY: You don’t have good posture.  How many skinny girls have you seen walking around with their belly hanging out? People would look SO much thinner if they just stood up tall and held their stomach in tight. Lazy posture makes our stomach pooch out, making us look even heavier than we are. The more we practice good posture, the easier it gets to maintain it. To see if posture is affecting your physique, walk up to the mirror, turn sideways (without looking at the mirror) and maintain your normal posture. Then stand up straight and tighten your tummy. If you see a big difference in the way your stomach looks, then you probably need to work on strengthening your abdominal muscles.

2. POT BELLY: You eat too much. I’m not talking about calories here, I’m talking about portions. If you eat gynormous portions (which is basically the amount of food you get anywhere you go), that food has to go somewhere. If all those meals stay in your gut for three days (typical digestion time), then think about ALL the food you have eaten in 3 days -no wonder your stomach sticks out. Since your body only can use so much food at one time, reduce portion sizes to the size of your fist. You can eat more often, but try not to eat so much at one single sitting.

3. FAT BELLY: You eat too many calories. If you can “pinch and inch” or more, you are likely just eating too many calories. If you eat more calories than you burn, that food is stored where your body likes to store it. Unfortunately, we can’t choose this. Some people store fat on their hips and thighs, while others store it around their midsection (like me!). The only way to lose this fat is to reduce caloric intake and increase caloric expenditure. You certainly can do crunches, and other abdominal work, to improve core strength and posture, but doing abs will not get rid of the fat.

4. WEAK BELLY: Your abdominal muscles are weak.  If you find it’s work to suck your tummy in or to do a crunch, most likely you need to strengthen those muscles. By strengthening your abs, you are able to support your core and hold your stomach in with ease. The stronger and tighter your stomach muscles are, the smaller and flatter your tummy will look. Think of strong stomach muscles as a brand new girdle. The stronger and tighter the “girdle” the smaller you will look all the way around!

Although one of the above issues may cause you more problems than another, working on all 4 of these issues can give you ultimate results.

 

Steve’s Killer Ab Workout

The Secret Behind Flat Abs

Uma Thurman caught letting it all hang out.

My #1 Flat Abs Tip is NOT an exercise. We crunch, sit up, lift, squeeze and burn our abs up hoping to make improvements, but there is one extremely important thing many people don’t do when they leave the gym that can sabotage it all – they don’t hold their stomach in.

Of course Uma Thurman, photographed left a few years ago, is not a fat girl by any means. But if she had been standing up tall and holding her stomach in, she would have even looked more slender and fit. Unfortunately the paparazzi caught her in a not-so-glamorous pose and now this photo continues to float around the internet, which stemmed the question “is this just another weird bikini shot or could she be pregnant?”

The idea behind training your abs is not JUST to build cubes of muscle that show through the skin and look like the coveted six-pack everyone dreams of having, but ab exercises also shorten and tighten the muscles which flatten the stomach. However, if you leave the gym only to eat huge meals that expand the stomach area, stretching back out the muscles, you are defeating the purpose of an awesome ab workout.

Here are a few things you can do outside the gym to train your abs to stay nice and flat.

6 Tips to Getting (and KEEPING) Flat Abs:

1.) Train your abs daily. Non-weighted abs can be done daily at home. The more you tighten them up with exercise, the more they’ll STAY tight.

2.) Keep meals small. If you’ve ever eaten a HUGE meal, you know how difficult it is to hold your stomach in. It’s MUCH easier to do this when you keep your meals and snacks small and manageable.

3.) Avoid loose clothes. Lose clothes say to me “relax! be sloppy! Let it all hang out!” Fitted clothes say “Shape up! Stand up straight! Suck it in! If you want to be held accountable, let your clothes help!

4.) Check yourself. Many times we don’t realize just how poor our posture is and how little we really are maintaining a flat tummy. Look in the mirror and use your muscles (opposed to just sucking wind like kids do when trying to hold their tummy in) to flatten your stomach. Hold that for as long as you can. At first you may not be able to hold it for long, but eventually your muscles will get stronger and tighter

Kyphotic Posture

5. ) Create triggers & reminders. Your body learns it’s resting tone. For instance, have you ever seen how a cop walks aroundwith their arms bowed out? That’s a learned behavior as they have to position their arms where it doesn’t swing and hit their gun belt. Over time, their body assumes this new position as their resting tone. You can do the same thing with your stomach. The more you practice it, the more you remind yourself with notes and set triggers, the sooner your body will learn this new posture as it’s resting posture and it will just become a natural position for you.

6.) Practice good posture. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to keep your stomach flat if your hips are rolled under and your shoulders are hunched over. Try it! Go look in the mirror and see how your your entire posture effects your belly. Elongate your body, flatten your stomach, stretch out your neck nice and tall, stand up straight, roll your shoulders back, lift your chest up, and curve your hips out (which delivers a nice perky looking bottom) – and see how much better you look!! Practice makes perfect!

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“I WANT ABS!” 5 Mistakes that Sabotage Success

“I do sit-ups – I do one sit-up a day. I do the first half when I get up in the morning and the second half when I go to bed at night”, Comedian, Mark Lowry

Everyone wants abs. Whether you want a chiseled six-pack or just want a flat tummy, fit abs are one of the most coveted body parts. The problem is many people are doing the wrong exercises, investing in the wrong fitness tools, and focusing on the wrong things.

Here are 5 common mistakes I see all the time:

1.) People think that abdominal exercises will get rid of belly fat. Wrong! Diet and cardio get rid of belly fat, not abdominal exercises. Yes, you will have shapely muscles UNDER the fat, but if you actually want to SEE your abs, you need to control your eating and burn some calories!

2.) People invest in fitness gadgets that are worthless pieces of junk. The Ab Belt, Ab Lounge, Ab Rocker, Ab Flex and hundreds of other crazy contraptions promising to carve ice cube abdominal muscles. If you really want to invest in something, invest in a good abdominal video, hire a trainer, or take an abs class at your gym so you can learn how to do abs correctly instead of wasting your hard-earned money on useless apparatuses. It’s like Read the rest of this entry

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