A Simple Guide to Rockstar Abs

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Abs/AbdominalsRockstar Abs

Unconventional Abdominal training at its best! No Crunches Necessary

I decided to title this post a ‘Guide to Rockstar Abs’ as I aim to show you simple unconventional ways to achieve strong functional abs not blocky and bulky midsections the magazine’s workouts will get you, Also it sounded cool.  Most these training methods can be done without a gym and integrated with you workout.

Negative Chinups

These are definitely one of my favorite ab exercises, they are done simply by:

  • Jumping up the the chin-up position on a bar
  • Lowering yourself slowly (10 seconds)
  • Repeat for 8-12 reps

As you get stronger with these start hanging weight but do not sacrifice your form or how slow you lower yourself. I guarantee you a set or two of these will get your abs burning, as well as your back and biceps.

Stomach Vacuum

Your Abs and lower back are made to stabilize your body, not much else. So when you suck in your stomach like I did as a kid on the beach your whole midsection starts to activate its stabilization instincts. Vacuums are especially important if you suffer from lower back pain as it activates the transversus abdominis which is the deepest of your abdominal muscles.

Here’s how to do it:

  • “Lying on the floor, exhale completely, forcing all the air out of the lungs/ diaphragm with your abdominal muscles. Next, instead of inhaling, suck in your gut, pulling it in so far that you can imagine your abs actually touching your spine. Since there’s no air in your lungs, you should be able to suck your stomach way in, which will contract your transversus abdominis.”
  • “Practice holding this vacuum for longer and longer periods of time. Eventually, your waist will get smaller, providing you don’t stuff yourself at meals and bloat with massive amounts of liquids between meals.”
  • “After you have achieved a sense of control in the lying position, next practice the standing position. Initially, it will be easier to achieve the vacuum if you press your palms against your upper thighs after exhaling and sucking in your gut.”
  • “The final step in doing the ultimate vacuum is to start practicing with your hands behind your neck, which is what T used to do at competitions to good effect. This particular vacuum ain’t easy, but keep at it.”

I like to do this after workouts when my Abs are already weak, usually holding the vacuum for around 20 seconds and then taking a break before repeating.

Hold something heavy over your head

This is one of my favorite’s but it requires a gym or a heavy barbell.

  • Push Press a heavy weight over your head (not too heavy be sensible)
  • Hyper extend your arms and contract your midsection and stand
  • After about 10 seconds you should start to feel your midsection weaken and shake, this means your abs are working full-out to stabilize your body
  • Repeat for 2-3 sets of 20 seconds

Throw something heavy

This is another great one but requires a heavy medicine ball but a big rock will do if you want to go primal.

  • Head out to a park or playing field with a medicine ball
  • Throw the thing as far as you can
  • Run towards it and repeat
  • When you feel your abs weaken your work is done

Dumbell Pullovers

This is actually one of my favorites I figured it out a few years back when a friend showed me how to do DB pullovers as a Lat building exercise. However the following days would leave my abs unbelievably sore. This is a great (a favorite of Arthur Jones and Art Devany) exercise and should be part of everyone’s full body training regime, its old school but it works!

Streamline Functional Abs

Function is what we should ultimately strive for. forget the crunches and conventional abdominal training, the only way to build abs for real is to do real exercises that will benefit your bodies functionality in the real world. I guarantee you a combination of these technique’s will get your mid-section sore and feeling deeply worked out.

The great thing about these training methods is that they will get you results and they can all be done easily with minimal equipment. Doing a 5 minute circuit of all the exercises after finishing a workout in the gym is ideal.

I would also recommend planks which Rusty from Fitness Black Book did a great post on a few months back, check it out here…….


  1. Methuselah says

    Nice post – some of these are new to me and I have been doing various ab exercises for years. Since the threat of boredom seems particularly great for abs (endless crunches, for example) it seems important to find variety. I will certainly be trying some of these. A couple I found really helped break the tedium for me were the ab wheel (article on rosstraining.com) using dumbells as wheels and hanging leg raises. Like the exercises you describe here, these make training abs more interesting because the movements have more ‘meaning’ than crunches, which to many seem pointless!

    Pay Now Live Later

  2. Steven says

    Gut punches. Or, more to the point, preparing for gut punches is good ab stuff too.

    I like your: hold something heavy over the head and throw heavy things! Good ideas.

  3. Caleb says

    or you could just lose weight O.o seeing as just about everyone has nice looking abs the problem is they’re under a layer of fat. since you can decide where you lose fat you need to just keep losing until your abs come through.

  4. Chris says

    @ Caleb: Thats a good point but truth be told you still need to build those bad boys for them to look impressive once the fat has been shed! Thanks for stopping by…..

  5. carlosc1dbz says

    Guys need 7% body fat for their abs to show. Girls need to be at 11% body fat.


  6. alan says

    interesting comment about 7% body fat% to show abs. makes me think more people should use body composition monitors at home, to track progress. body fat%, visceral fat etc

  7. WLC says

    I’ve always recommended that people not waste their time doing conventional ab exercises. Most compound weightlifting exercises (especially Pull Ups and Pullovers as you mention) work the abs better than any crunch!

  8. Truth About Abs says

    WOW!! I totally had to add to this, there’s so many TRULY GREAT ab exercises that aren’t viewed as “ab exercises” per se … many of which I found in my favourite fitness book Truth About Abs … but here’s a few for you now: Front Squats, Deadlifts, Renegade Rows, Lateral Chopping… the list kinda goes on and on.. your list is a GREAT list for sure (the guy that wrote the book I mentioned even lists vacuums in his program too), but consider adding some of these ones I just mentioned to your repertoire… they’ll shred you up for sure (as long as you can keep your diet clean of course!). Cheers. thanks for the new ideas. Am gonna try some next “Ab Day”

  9. Ej says

    I agree,because it was introduced as a great cardio workout which burns a lot of fat while toning muscles,Exercise is the best way of shaving weight.
    But why is it so difficult for most people to get a six pack?
    Brin @ guywithabs.com

  10. Adam | SEE says

    Stomach vacuum nice one!

    Here is a fun exercise for working obliques: Lay flat on the floor arms extended palms down. Raise your legs to 90 degrees (perpendicular). Now, keeping your legs together lower them to one side. Then, raise them back to center and lower to the other side. Do this w/ a three count 1-side 2-center 3-side = 1 repetition. Great way to build up to wipers.

  11. carlosc1dbz says

    Came back after a few years. I cant believe I knew that statistic about abs and relationship to fat composition. I used to be more into working out back then. still in pretty good shape I think. Lets see. Back in October of 2008, I had met Tina Aldana and we had been going out since the 21st night of September 2008. Very interesting. I wonder where we will be in a few years. Interesting. I weigh probably 15 ;lbs less than I did in 2008.


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