Help with building up my midsection

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    May 18, 2009 4:28 AM GMT
    Can anyone help advise me on some strength training for my midsection area? I could use some help with my lower abs, my obliques and my lower back.

    If you see my profile pics, you will notice that I have a very small waist, with a narrow lower back and practically no obliques to speak of. My hips bones just out like an science class skeleton's.

    I do a lot of sit ups, but have platued with any gains I have seen there.

    Since these areas are so week and undeveloped, most of the exercises in the workout plans here at RJ seem to be too difficult for me, and have often lead to injury. I suffered herniated discs in my lower back as a teenager, and I still seem to have residual problems if I am not extremely careful during my workouts.

    I am not sure which approach would be best, so some advice would be great encouragement.

    Thanks
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    May 18, 2009 5:16 AM GMT
    Have you tried doing planks? ...They are simple and perhaps not too traumatic for your back.

    Hold Plank on Elbows and Toes
    By RealJock Staff
    This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

    Benefits
    The hold plank makes the front and back muscles of your trunk work in tandem, helping you build a strong and balanced core.

    http://www.realjock.com/article/582/
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    May 18, 2009 11:04 AM GMT
    I had my first ruptured disk at the age of 25. This was from doing squats. I've had multiple flare ups since that time so I know what you are going through. The back is such a complex mechanism and everyone's problem is unique. What works for me, might really harm you. The big problem is that exercises that strengthen the low back and core also can easily injure the back. Squats and dead lifts are the best, but can really injure you. Just for information sake, I now squat 315 lbs and that is thirty years after my first ruptured diskicon_lol.gif So using your smarts and working safely a lot can be achieved. I haven't had severe back pain for 3 years. This is the longest I have ever gone without a bad flare up.
    What worked for me, was a combination of Pilates and Yoga (Yes I did have some minor back pain couple times but backed off whenever this happened). Most people with back problems can easily injure the back with forward flexion exercises such as sit ups, crunches, Roman chair sit ups. People that sit all day flexed over their computer are a set up for this problem. Planks are great for building strength in the the areas you want. But they can place a lot of stress on the low back especially if you allow the waist to sag. Rotation at the waist can place a lot of shear forces on the disks. The warm up exercise, where you place a broomstick behind the neck and rotate at the waist to loosen up, can cause back problems.
    Here is a link for people with back pain that want to do planks
    http://stanford.wellsphere.com/pilates-article/the-low-plank/128563
    You need to talk with someone that is knowledgeable in this area. A physical therapist would have such training. A good personal trainer could help. You need to develop a safe program with the help of a professional
    It's my opinion that Stuart McGill, Ph.D., a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario is the oracle for back pain and exercises. If you Google his name you will come up with a few or his articles and exercises. He will also teach you the proper way of tightening the abdominal muscles to support the spine when lifting.
    Dr. McGill has also written books but I'm not sure if they are for the lay person or just for professionals.
    Good luck, seek professional help, go slowly and play it safe!
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    May 18, 2009 4:45 PM GMT
    Heavy foods after 6pm, u need to stop this! try fruits & vegetables, drink more water, no red meat, and tons of cardio.icon_wink.gif
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    May 18, 2009 5:00 PM GMT
    hes not trying to loose weight! he's trying to gain weight - muscle- in his midsection. give your abs 2 weeks off, then start working your abs out only 3 times a week with some progressive weight. Not to many reps, just good heavy reps. Then take some protein and amino acids.
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    May 18, 2009 5:02 PM GMT
    I'm afraid you received some very bad advice here from masculine31. At 5'10", and 145# you don't need tons of cardio. You need to build a more solid musclature, particularly if you have back issues. Particularly, you should avoid high impact exercise (running, jumping), as it's likely going to make you miserable, at least until you get some more muscle on you and get your back calmed down.

    You need to eat small meals often, at any time of the day, and you should never feel real hungry, nor real full. Steady as she goes. You have to have calories to make gains, and you should never mess up your metabolism by not eating. That's a sure fire way to train your body how to become a fat-storing machine, and a sure fire way to end up with the metabolism of a slug.

    Study up on various muscle groups in your abs, and the various exercises that work them. You may wish to study further on "core" training. This site has resources, as well as extensive resources on bodybuilding.com. Take some time to do some extensive reading. With your issues of back problems building a strong mid section will likely provide some relief. You'll be able to tell when an exercise makes you feel better.

    If you gain some weight, and do heavy lifting, your mid-section will come along with it. Easy does it, but, concentrate on consistent, progressive, overload.

    My low back sometimes gets me. I've found that if I blast abs, in every plane, my back pain disappears. Working abs have been the single best thing I've done to get rid of back pain. Some folks will say it's crazy, but, for me, situps seem to provide the best relief. I know some trainers have been taught against setups, but, for me, it's what works to make all pain go away.

    9730_25032.jpg

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    May 18, 2009 5:22 PM GMT
    masculine31 saidHeavy foods after 6pm, u need to stop this! try fruits & vegetables, drink more water, no red meat, and tons of cardio.icon_wink.gif


    This is kinda your answer for most things, it seems.

    I really liked Kneedraggen´s advice.. I´m undergoing "reconstructive physio" (hehe) to get the basic movement patterns right, and I wish I´d done it to start with.
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    May 18, 2009 5:30 PM GMT
    for me, hanging leg raises work my lowers and obliques the best.
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    May 18, 2009 5:32 PM GMT
    Back pain is a major drag. I'm on the same page with knee...steady as she goes.
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    May 18, 2009 5:37 PM GMT
    Actually, i gave the BEST ADVICE, quit eating foods that are heavy in grease & fat after 6pm, eat more fruits & vegetables, add cardio to your workout. WTF does that have to do with losing weighticon_question.gif If anything it will get this guy the chiseled lean abs he want, without cheating and taking all the supplements u guys do on hereicon_rolleyes.gif
    Bro, take my advice and do wut i say...add more water, eat ur dinner earlier so ur body can break down ur food. Ur body is not a machine lol...Most of these guys complain worst than girls on hereicon_lol.gif
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    May 18, 2009 6:19 PM GMT
    slimsummers saidCan anyone help advise me on some strength training for my midsection area? I could use some help with my lower abs, my obliques and my lower back.

    If you see my profile pics, you will notice that I have a very small waist, with a narrow lower back and practically no obliques to speak of. My hips bones just out like an science class skeleton's.

    I do a lot of sit ups, but have platued with any gains I have seen there.

    Since these areas are so week and undeveloped, most of the exercises in the workout plans here at RJ seem to be too difficult for me, and have often lead to injury. I suffered herniated discs in my lower back as a teenager, and I still seem to have residual problems if I am not extremely careful during my workouts.

    I am not sure which approach would be best, so some advice would be great encouragement.

    Thanks


    I have put in bold the parts of the OP which led me to think that he is asking for strength training rather than "visible abs" (as much as these might be nice as a side effect). For this reason it seems that Knee´s advice was the best place to start, though of course I do agree that it is important to eat a diet that is not predominantly grease/fat and one which includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, as well as regular cardiovascular stimulation.
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    May 20, 2009 6:17 AM GMT
    Thanks for the advice guys.

    I am 5'10" and 140lbs on a good day, so loosing weight is not at all what I am posting for.

    I am trying to strengthen muscle, without risking injury through twisting, squatting, or dead lifting my way into physical therapy for more herniated discs.

    KneeDragon and Chunkystud have given me some good advice, and the rest of you have given me some good tips on exercises to check out, and when I need to chisel down, Masculine31's advice wont fall on deaf ears.

    But for now, I don't eat anything but grilled or baked lean meats (fish, turkey, chicken) that I marinate in white or red cooking wine, and I avoid butter and any dairy products that are not 1% or fat free, and I eat a ton of steamed veggies & fresh fruit.

    I haven't drank coffee in over 6 months, and I cut out refined sugars and any high sodium content prepackaged foods months ago. I'm on a fat shredder diet at the moment, so my carb intake is pretty low, but will ramp up again in a few weeks.

    Thankfully I am 4 blocks from a Trader Joe's and 6 blocks from the Farmers market.

    I walk everywhere, and do a fair amount of low impact cardio, and I am very aware of my physical limitations.

    I have been doing Core exercises for about a year now that I found here on RealJock, but without variety in an ab workout, my muscle confusion is down to 0 for the time being.

    I am going to check out some of the exercises you guys recommended, and see how they work out.

    If anyone can suggest any other lower back exercises aside from the planks and the flying superman kicks, that would rock.

    Thanks guys

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    May 20, 2009 6:58 AM GMT
    masculine31 saidHeavy foods after 6pm, u need to stop this! try fruits & vegetables, drink more water, no red meat, and tons of cardio.icon_wink.gif


    Did you even bother to look at his pics like he asked us to do? This advice is for someone like me, though I have discovered that it DOES NOT matter what time of day it is that I eat. It matters what I eat and how often I eat. The advice given to him is spot on for what he is trying to accomplish. His abs are already showing. He wants to build them.
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    May 20, 2009 7:01 AM GMT
    This is a lower back exercise that really helps me with conditioning and strengthening my lower back and core along with some leg strength:

    http://www.realjock.com/article/732/
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    May 20, 2009 7:02 AM GMT
    chuckystud said I've found that if I blast abs, in every plane, my back pain disappears. Working abs have been the single best thing I've done to get rid of back pain.

    Seems logical concerning primary and secondary muscles
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    May 20, 2009 7:58 AM GMT
    sluggo_la saidfor me, hanging leg raises work my lowers and obliques the best.


    you got that righticon_wink.gif