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Six Minute Abs
By: Allen Martin

Six minutes out of your day. All you need is a level floor.

Start this torture session just as the end credits begin to roll. A few Sprint, Bell Atlantic, and Burger King commercials later, Jerry should be starting in with the monologue that kicks off the ensuing episode. And by then, your midsection should be burning like charcoal.

Contrary to what many believe, Abdominal workouts do not need to be done in the gym. Your abs don’t need to be tormented through the hi-tech apparatuses or by the squeaky cable machines. In fact, the best abdominal workouts you can possibly get are right in your own home.

However, the key to making your self-crafted ab workout turn your jelly belly into a blazing six-pack is the big ‘V’. Variation.

Blending a number of different motions and exercises with all sorts of variations in motion, speed, and resistance can shock your midsection into the Ripped Abs you desire.

First, wear light clothing that will make you more agile, allowing your movements to be steady and flowing.

Plop down on the floor and take a deep breath. Prepare yourself mentally. This ab workout will consist of one long, continuous set with no breaks in between various movements. Maintaining constant strain on your abs is the key here.

Start with basic crunches. You can either place your hands behind your head or leave them by your sides. However, do not pull your head up with your hands. Bend your knees so that your feet remain flat on the floor. Slowly allow your shoulders to raise off the floor without using your back whatsoever. Begin with 50 slow, strict repetitions before adding in a twist.

A Russian twist, that is. Raising your shoulders off the ground, slowly twist your torso from side to side. You want your right elbow turning toward your left knee and your left elbow twisting toward your right knee. These will seriously burn so try 20 of these with a strict form.

Jump right into leg raises. Extend your legs in front of you, making sure that your feet do not touch the floor. You want to start with them together, about six inches off the floor, before raising them so that your legs form a 45-degree angle. Feel your rectus abdominis tear throughout the 25 repetitions that you crank out.

Whip right back into a set of crunches. Except this time, try them with your legs straight, extended flat out across the floor. While you’re doing these crunches, pretend that an imaginary string is pulling your upper torso off the floor. Make the 50 repetitions flow while the abs grind.

Without hesitation, fling your legs into the air and take on a set of pikes. Your arms are out straight, pointing toward the floor, as you raise your shoulders in an attempt to touch your toes. All the while, your buttocks are lifting slightly off the floor. As you lower your shoulders to the floor, your legs come down again, into a bend position on the floor. No sooner do they touch that you’re beginning the next repetition and the motion flows through 25 agonizing reps.

On the last rep, leave your legs straight up in the air so your toes are pointing toward the ceiling. Crank out 30 crunches to intensify the burn. If you face difficulty in maintaining that 90-degree angle at your hips, slightly lower your legs to the floor.

Then, cut through those abs with some scissors. Lower your legs so that they’re 12 inches off the floor and lock your arms behind your head. Lifting your right shoulder off the floor, twist your torso just as your opposite leg – or left knee – bend into your right elbow. Immediately lower your knee and shoulder and then twist your left elbow toward your right knee. Try doing 25 of these before lowering your shoulders to the mat for the final exercise of the workout.

This will be another set of 50 basic crunches, just like the set that you began the workout with. Exercise slow, strict reps as the burn spreads like wild fire.

The final rep will leave you feeling like you narrowly escape a blazing building in once piece.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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