Office Fitness: The Abdominal Workout

Submitted by SharpHealth Team on Wednesday 13th October 2010
In this article
  • Why your abs look bad now.
  • How to work out your abs so they look better.
  • What NOT to do.

In SharpMan’s last installment of Office Fitness, we focused on working out your arms while at the office. Since then, no doubt each and every one of you SharpMen has become the envy of your co-workers. Let’s keep that momentum going by turning our attention to that gut of yours. That’s right, SharpMen, your handles d’ amour. Time to face the fact that you’re the only one who refers to them so lovingly, and the fact that with every paycheck they’re growing.

Ironically, most SharpMen get a fair amount of abdominal exercise on the average day. The simple act of maintaining a seated position on one of those ergonomically correct office chairs requires some effort on behalf of one’s stomach muscles. Unfortunately, the abs involved in keeping you upright — the so-called "upper-abs" — have little to do with your love handles, which are associated with the "lower abs." Maintaining lower-abdominal tone requires actual exercise. Follow these three simple steps to get you back on the road to Six-Packville:

Step One.

Get on the floor. Pick a time when co-workers and support staff are unlikely to see you — such as that lunch hour you’re working through or an after-hours evening — and lie on your back beneath your desk or cubicle. Go ahead, get comfortable: Move aside those piles of paper or storage boxes you’ve hidden from public view.

Step Two.

With feet together, slide them towards your torso, such that your knees form a near- 45 degree angle. Now part your feet so that your knees have about eight inches of space between them. Bring both arms back behind your head, and clasp your fingers behind your neck.

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SharpMan Tip:

You may be temped to prop your toes beneath an open drawer or cubicle divider — DO NOT. This may make the sit-ups you’re about to do easier, but it is also one of the oldest "cheats" to a good ab workout, focusing most of the sit-up on back muscles and sheer momentum. For a maximum ab workout, keep your feet flat on the floor, free of any supports.

Step Three.

With your hands behind your neck, lift your chin, head and then your upper back towards your knees about eight to ten inches. In other words, you needn’t touch your tongue to the hair on your legs. Keep the sit-up short, but focused. Avoid the temptation to use your arms or neck to lift your weight. Your aim is to focus on lifting from your lower abdominal muscles. To this end, make every effort not to move your pelvic area — plant your pelvis firmly to the ground. Remember, the more still and more firmly planted this area, the more of your workout is being focused on your lower abs and love handles. Start by doing three sets of 30 sit-ups, with a short rest in between, on every workday. After the third consecutive day (or even if you skipped a day), increase the workout to three sets of 60 sit-ups daily.

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Depending on just how long you’ve been sitting on your %&!, the first couple of days may feel a bit brutal. By the fourth day, however, you’ll begin to notice an increased tightness in your lower and upper abs. After two weeks, you’ll be well on your way to recovering — or discovering — the abs of your birthright.

This article last updated on Wednesday 13th October 2010
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