Sylvester Stallones Ab Workout

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In this excerpt from Sly Moves, Sylvester Stallone shares his best abdominal workout moves in order to help you get a rock-hard six-pack.

Wherever I go, I meet people who want to know how to manage their weight, boost their energy levels and generally get the fires going again in life. It doesn't matter how intelligent or wealthy or famous they are, the questions is always the same: "How can I get in good shape?"

Here are the tried-and-true gym exercises that have kept me going and growing as long as I can remember. I promise you'll see results after a few short weeks. These step-by-step instructions will guide you through the moves and help you avoid certain classic mistakes. I've also included some thoughts on each one.

I realize this might be a little intimidating to you if you're new to weight training. I completely understand. My advice for beginners is to run through these moves for the first time with a fitness trainer or an experienced friend.

Sly's Ab Workout

Floor crunches

The move: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Hold your hands behind your head and roll your upper torso forward as your knees come up toward your elbows. At the top of the crunch, consciously squeeze the abdominal muscles before slowly lowering back for the next crunch. Exhale as you come up, inhale on the way back down.

Sets: 2 sets of 5, 10 or 15; work your way up to 30.

The Sly Report: Crunches are much more effective than regular sit-ups because they specifically target your upper abdominal muscles rather than your hip muscles. If you're not used to them, they can cause soreness a day or two later, but it's a "cool" soreness. A badge of honor.

Tip: If floor crunches are too tough in the beginning, start on the gym's crunch machine.

Three more amazing ab moves that helped Sly get into top Rocky shape

Twisting crunches
The move: Lie on the floor with your hands behind your head, your knees bent, and feet comfortably off the ground. Exhale and curl your upper body forward, rotating your elbow toward the opposite knee.

Sets: 2 sets of 5, 10 or 15; work your way up to 30.

The Sly Report: Fortunately for you, I’m not recommending you get a kid to pound on your stomach while you’re doing them, like I did in those scenes from Rocky II. Twisting crunches target the obliques and upper abdominals, with some secondary benefits for the lower abs. People don’t realize that when they “throw out” their back, it’s often because of weak abs. These muscles are essential for lower-back strength and good posture.

Tip: Resist the temptation to pull on your neck when you’re doing crunches.

Hanging raises

The move: Rest your elbows in the elbow slings or on the support pads (if you’re using the gym’s dip station or hanging chair). Lean back slightly and slowly draw your knees toward your chest as far as possible. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Sets: 2 sets of 10.

The Sly Report: Incredible exercise for your midsection. Doing it early in your routine gets the exercise juices going and charges you up for the tougher work to come.

Tip: I try to lock the knees and roll my stomach up. If you pull in and roll back instead of lifting the legs straight, you will get a lot more out of this exercise.

Broomstick twists

The move: Set an incline bench with ankle supports at a 45º angle. Sit upright on the bench and secure your feet under the supports. Hold a broomstick behind your head and across your shoulders, supported by your outstretched arms. Twist left and right on the axis of the stick, feeling the burn at your core.

Sets: 3 sets of 10.

The Sly Report: This one gave me the best abs of my life. Later, it really helped get me chiseled for Rambo II and Rambo III. I’ve been using this beauty for years. The secret is the combination of incline and twist, which creates unrelenting contractions that shape what trainers now like to call the “core,” a set of muscles that includes the lower back, the glutes, the hip flexors, and the mini-mountain range that runs from the abs to the obliques. A powerful core is a kind of anchor that lets you throw farther, swing harder, reach higher, and perform better, especially as you get older. So go ahead: stick it!

Tip: It’s not a sit-up, so don’t bend forward. This is all about the twist.

Shape Up

Remember: I want you to enjoy everything you do in the gym. Have fun with it, expect to make some mistakes, and, above all, prepare to become that person you always wanted to be.

This feature is part of AskMen.com's HarperCollins Publishers Celebrity Author series. Read more about this book at HarperCollins.com.

Average: 4.4 (8 votes)
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