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Abs/Obliques and Weight Resistance? Fattens waist?

  • mach01 Posts: 23
    QUOTE Aug 24, 2007 9:58 AM GMT
    Just wanted to get some thoughts on using weight resistance when doing ab exercises.

    For the last year or so at the gym I've been using ab machines that let the user select the amount of weight resistance. Over time I've worked up to using a pretty high level of weight resistance using these machines. Sometimes I also do exercises where I hold a weight in one hand and tilt at the waist forward and to the side, while lowering the weight and contracting my ab muscles.

    Now I'm thinking that I've built up too much in my abs and sides, making my waist look blocky and less narrow, sort of diminishing the "V-shape" of my upper body.

    Has anyone else had this issue? Would you recommend just stopping using the heavier resistance when doing abs? If I don't work these muscles as much in the future, will they atrophy and get smaller (as any other muscles would) and eventually make my waist more narrow looking again?

    Thanks in advance!
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 24, 2007 3:37 PM GMT
    The damage is largely done, I'm afraid. Most reputable trainers wouldn't have advised weighted side bends. Once the obliques are built up, they tend to stay thick & blocky - something that will compound any bodyfat you get there as you get older.

    The important thing is that you've stopped doing them. Keep to bodyweight exercises - crunches, v-ups, that kind of thing, and stay as lean as you can.

    It's worth pointing out that if your pic is fairly recent, your obliques aren't HUGELY developed - you may be particularly sensitive to changes that others may not recognize.


    You can mitigate the effects of the thicker lower ab region by increasing mass in your shoulders/chest and your legs. People see proportion, not size.

    Good luck.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 24, 2007 3:45 PM GMT
    Um... If your photo is accurate, I don't think that you have anything to worry about. But it sounds as if you think that your obliques are getting too large. Perhaps the other option is to work on the lats to keep the top of the V growing at the same rate. Or not.

    You may be more likely to get spite-mail than sympathy on that one, bud. For me, I noticed a long time ago, that pumping up the abs causes belly fat to bulge out in every direction, LOL. Now I don't work on abs until I've first worked off a corresponding amount of flab. Oh, sorry, wrong kind of "6-pack" abs.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 24, 2007 4:27 PM GMT
    Actually, try reversing the amount of weight that you use when doing abs/obliques over a period of time. My old workout partner used to like to do weighted obliques and I thought I was getting fat.

    When we stopped working out, I asked a trainer and he told me my best hope would be to work back down on weighted abs over a period of time (reducing by 5 pounds every other week).

    they're muscles, so they can expand and contract. But you will have to watch them in the future. If you just stop completely, they may go flab.

    just an idea. It worked for me...
  • mach01 Posts: 23
    QUOTE Aug 24, 2007 9:05 PM GMT
    All very interesting replies! Thank you very much. I think I'm going to try to reverse the weight I use with abs exercises (and stop doing weighted side bends completely), eventually only using my body weight in the future.

    Also, why wouldn't the oblique muscles decrease in size over time as other muscles would? Why would these particular muscles stay blocky no matter what?

  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 24, 2007 10:11 PM GMT
    The muscles will atrophy - slightly. But once in place, they tend to be used by the body, and stay thicker than they were.

    Muscle does NOT "turn to flab" -

    Reversing the weights just means you'll be exercising them less. It does not cause them to shrink.

    Normally I wouldn't critique the comments of other contributors, but there is simply no basis in training literature for what they suggest.

    Prime Fitness, Inc.
  • mach01 Posts: 23
    QUOTE Aug 24, 2007 11:00 PM GMT
    I just posted a new pic (yet to be approved) that shows the changes in my body over the last 5 years. I thought there had been more widening in my torso (which I don't really want), but to my surprise that widening seems to have been minimal. I also hadn't realized how much I had toned up.

    Still, I want to stop doing anything that will reduce that v-shape look. Maybe the widening I've noticed is just increased fat (I almost never do cardio) and maybe I just need to get rid of that to return to the more slender torso look, which I like.

    What do you think about exercises like broomstick twists to trim the waist and torso area?
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 24, 2007 11:32 PM GMT
    You're thinking of SPOT REDUCTION, which is not possible. Twists are discredited as abdominal exercise.

    I'll shoot you a message with a book to look for on the subject of abs/torso. Don't have it in front of me right now.

  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 24, 2007 11:52 PM GMT
    Are twisting crunches, where you crunch but pull to the right or left, ok for obliques? Bodyweight exercises in general ok, weighted exercises not? Thanks.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 25, 2007 5:14 AM GMT
    While I'm not a fan of generalizations, including this one, yes, bodyweight exercises are a bit less likely to cause overbuilding of the obliques.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 26, 2007 3:46 AM GMT
    hey this is a very good question, doing ab exercises with weights and getting very large muscle build up is a problem, as a personal trainer i always advise clients to stay with bodyweight only. stick with crunches, reverse crunches, because the once you get those muslces bulked they tend to stay that way. stick with the basics.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 26, 2007 8:09 AM GMT
    Yeah, its hard to see your point with the current picture. I think it is common as you get older for your waist to broaden and not just be cause of fat but maybe changes in your bone structure.

    Anyway anyone can "look" thinner by diet. But maybe you should consider building up your lats and upper body to make your waist look smaller. Don't forget your legs. maybe you should focus on other body parts.

    Sometimes I wonder if guys that are perfectionists worry too much about things that no one else even sees .. like with Body dysmorphic disorder.
  • GQjock Posts: 11647
    QUOTE Aug 26, 2007 12:35 PM GMT
    yea your assumptions on this are correct
    When you want a classic V-shaped torso
    you want to grow or accentuate the shoulders or the upper torso as much as possible and de-accentuate the waist or lower torso by an equal amount
    Bulking up this lower area in any shape or form is exactly what you don't want to do
    if you want to exercise this area...don't use weights your body weight is enough
    for obliques its hi weight exercise
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Aug 26, 2007 7:07 PM GMT
    Listen to Joey. He knows what he is talking about.

    This year, my trainers, Jesse Levya, along with Sagi Kalev, told me to STOP training abs. I couldn't believe what Jesse was saying.

    My lines have REMARKABLY improved.
  • mach01 Posts: 23
    QUOTE Dec 22, 2007 2:07 PM GMT
    Thanks for all the responses! I've since realized that I was overreacting! My stomach is flat and I'm happy with it. Also, I don't do heavy weights anymore with my abs... there's just no need to. Just use my body weight and do cardio. Works well!
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Dec 22, 2007 3:38 PM GMT
    This year, my trainers had me pull almost all ab work. It went against everything I've ever believed about core training. It also gave me better "lines" than I've ever had.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Jan 08, 2009 3:25 AM GMT
    great discussion about ab exercises...thanks guys for having this chat over a year ago.
  • adventuresam Posts: 30
    QUOTE Jan 16, 2009 5:54 AM GMT
    Good post, and I agree. I used to do abs 3x week and many oblique and twisting exercises and noticed that it built underneath my bodyfat and made me look fatter. Instead I switched to more cardio for a while and noticed the abs looking much better.

    One thing I would say though is don't stop working out your abs and obliques completely. They core is extremely important when lifting weights especially if they are heavy. With a weak core you could have back problems in the future. So....

    Something I've found to really work is to tighten abs when doing any exercise, or trying to do stuff on a balancing board where you have to tighten your abs to keep stability. It's a killer workout!



    P.S. Check out my partner's home workout video tips -