For years I’ve been doing crunches on a flat bench with my upper back hanging off the end. That provides some stretch.
But my most recent ab workouts have gotten an overhaul thanks to Mr. America and 2019 Drug-Free Mr. Universe Doug Brignole. He won that last contest at age 59…
If you have the new ebook Old Man, Young Muscle or you’ve been following the most recent issues of this newsletter, you’re familiar with the proper strength curve for muscles…
A rep should be hardest near the stretch and easiest at contraction—that is, early phase loaded and late phase unloaded.
That’s because a muscle is strongest near its stretch position and weakest at contraction when it’s flexed and the fibers bunched up.
So my flat bench crunches had good resistance at the stretch but too much at contraction. That hampers optimal muscle-fiber activation—not good when I’m striving for efficiency of effort…
Brignole had a genius suggestion to repair the strength curve on crunches: an incline bench…
Damn, why didn’t I think of that earlier? My crunches feel much more natural…
I still get ab stretch, but not an excessive amount, and the contraction is easier due to gravity as the torso moves toward the vertical position at the top. Nice.
The incline crunch is an ideal exercise for etching your abs, along with the Muscle-On, Belly-Gone “Diet” of course.
I will add on a secondary exercise every so often, but I always emphasize the incline crunch. It’s my ultimate ab-etcher.
For my complete workouts, ideal move for each muscle, exercise start/finish photos, and details on building muscle fast and efficiently, see Old Man, Young Muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
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