As a senior workout fanatic, I am confronted with physical stumbling blocks more often than not, or so it seems. Here are some of my current issues:
- Damaged knees
- Arthritic back
- Rotator cuff impairment
This places limitations on my workouts and presents the necessity to create workarounds. My prior article on workarounds gives more detail on this and may be informative to others with similar ailments.
I have fortunately found that core exercises have never been limited in this manner. My primary goal is to develop a six pack of abdominal muscles, while maintaining everything else. I am getting closer to this goal, but have much more work to do.
The image below is of a young man who is an advanced bodybuilder. He even has an 8 – pack of abdominals and may represent a state of physical condition unavailable to me.
The man below is 65 years old. He is Greg Norman. Greg has worked hard to develop his physique and it shows. Achieving similar core muscles is still a daunting goal, but more attainable. My prior article on Greg’s fitness journey is available here.
It is very important to be aware that abdominal exercise alone will not reduce anyone’s waist line. We lose fat by a conscientious diet and cardiovascular workouts. That fat loss does not occur at only one desired spot. If we lose fat at all, it will drop off throughout our bodies. We can not orchestrate the shedding of fat.
Spot reduction is a fallacy.
Assuming we are eating correctly and doing workouts that make us sweat, we can then work on our core muscles and think seriously about developing a six pack.
Given all the considerations shown above, my quest for an abdominal six pack continues.
MY FAVORITE AB EXERCISES
Here are the core exercises that I have found to be effective. I like to rotate them within my daily workouts to forestall boredom .
- CRUNCHES – Arnold Schwarzenegger suggests that we do 200 crunches after getting our of bed every morning. I do 100 crunches and then go to other core work every day before breakfast. The crunch is illustrated below. It is not necessary to do a full “sit up”. Raising your shoulders about 6 ” above the surface continuously will keep the stress on your abdomen. See below:
- PLANKS – Starting in a position of support by your forearms and toes or by your extended arms and your toes, you may stress your core muscles by holding this isometric position for a minute or two. It is crucial to keep your body in straight alignment during this time. From everything I have gleaned, it is better to do several sets of 1- 2 minutes instead of trying for longer times. See below.
- V-UPS – This is a movement that calls for the raising of your shoulders and legs at the same time and approximating a V position at the end. This is not easy to accomplish at first, though raising shoulders and legs to a lesser degree than shown below is a good beginning practice. Then it becomes more comfortable to try more elevation. Very effective.
- TWISTS – Twisting your waist side to side will work the external oblique muscles, sometimes called “love handles”. I like to do sets of 100 twists as I sit down and look straight ahead. It is important to not twist your entire upper body, only your waist. The woman below is twisting from the floor. Some like to twist while holding a weight or medicine ball
- EXERCISE BALL CRUNCHES – These provide the opportunity to stretch backward to engage core muscles not always otherwise worked. I started with 30 reps and then soon did 60. Very effective!
DIET AND CARDIO
Paraphrasing Canadian health and fitness expert Shannon Clark, here are some diet guidelines that enable us to lose fat and prepare for our six pack goal.
- Watch total calories. Start with 13 calories per pound of bodyweight if we are working out 3-5 times per week, but be ready to drop this to 9-10 calories per pound if weight loss is not forthcoming. I am currently doing 10 calories per bodyweight, if not less.
- Maintain high levels of protein, especially if our total calories are 9-10 per lbs. of bodyweight. 1.2 to 1.5 protein grams per pound of bodyweight is recommended.
- Eat at least 25 – 50 grams of carbohydrates before and after a workout. This is needed for energy. Eat vegetables, a low calorie source of carbs.
- Eat fats such as flax seed, nuts, olive oil or fish oil. Avoid fats before and after workouts, but include 4 -7 grams of fats per day .
Cardio exercise includes those activities that raise your heart rate, such as:
- Playing fast moving sports – basketball, football, tennis, soccer, boxing
Another cardio exercise is working out with very little rest time, with lighter weights and higher repetitions, moving quickly from one set to the next.
I do treadmill workouts, raising the speed each minute until I am almost running.
The best indicator of a good cardiovascular workout is heavy perspiration.
As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. For an explanation of an affiliate relationship, see my upper menu, “Affiliate Disclosure”.
Here are a few relevant items, available from Amazon.
- Stability exercise ball
- Whey protein powder
- Ab roller
- Foam roller
- Ab training belt and stimulator
- Ab training machine
The best source for cardio equipment is Dick’s Sporting Goods, in my opinion. DSG has a wide inventory of cardio devices – treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, steppers and others. The link below will take you to their website. Fitness Deals are shown on the left side. Then go to Cardo Equipment Deals for pertinent information. Be sure to check out any other sporting goods items of interest. Shop with confidence.
A few other items worth considering:
- Fit Track, high tech health trackers
- Flat Tummy, diet items for women
- Healthygen, wellness and health supplements
Developing an abdominal six pack will take time and consistent effort. Remember – you are getting better each day as you advance toward your goal. There is encouragement along the way.
Also, bear in mind the three component parts – diet, cardio activity and abdominal exercise. Diet considerations and cardio must be parts of the program.
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be well and stay safe!