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Flatten Your Abs with Paul's Tried-and-True Method

The first exercise is a dumbbell shoulder press. Instead of sitting and using a bench, we're doing it standing up and also rotating one arm at a time. This is going to incorporate your core muscles and also your stabilizing muscles in addition to working your shoulders.

Start in the standing position, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bring the dumbbells up until they are parallel to your shoulders.


Start with your right side and push the dumbbell above your head until your arm is about a half inch from being fully extended. Return your dumbbell to its starting position and hold it there while you do the same extension with your left side.

You typically will want to do 6-15 reps with each arm, depending on the weight and your specific goals. If you're trying to bulk up, stay closer to the 6-8 rep range. If you're trying to gain endurance and muscle tone, stay closer to the 12-15 rep range.


The next exercise involves using a Cybex machine to do sit-ups. I've slightly modified this exercise also based on what I've found to maximize my abs workout. As you see in the picture, instead of using the arm grips, I grab the back of the headrest. This is to put maximum stress on my abdominals instead of absorbing some of the resistance with my arms. 


After you position yourself and grab the headrest, you want to begin your sit-up. At the same time, you're going to bring your legs off the leg rest, and bring your knees towards your upper body, meeting in the middle. This allows you to not only work your upper abs, but to also incorporate your lower abs and hip flexors.


After you bring your head and knees together, return to the starting position and repeat the exercise. Since you're not using any weight, it is common to increase your reps depending on your physical condition and your personal goals. I typically repeat this exercise for 100 reps, for a total of 3 sets. However, I vary my workouts substantially from one to the next. Sometimes I'll do 4 sets of 50 reps, sometimes I'll do 2 sets of 100 reps, and I frequently use the "weighted" version of this machine for 3 sets of 30 second intervals using about 40 lbs. This is a very essential part of developing your core, and I'd recommend working this in your workouts up to 4 times a week.

How's your exercise regimen going? Share your success stories, challenges, and diet and exercise questions here. If you have specific questions for me, write them in the comment field below and I'll try to respond to them in future posts.

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