How to sculpt sharp, defined serrated abdominal oblique lines
Stop wasting your time and energy
I used to do thousands of crunches and I was always frustrated with the results. All that effort and I wasn't seeing the abdominal lines I wanted to see. So I analyzed the anatomy and - duh! - it was pretty obvious what I was doing wrong.
Stabilization and psoas bulk is killing your results
How core stabilization shuts your body down and limits your results
There are 2 common problems with the standard bicycle crunch that are killing your results. First, the anchoring of the tailbone stabilizes your deep core, which essentially shuts down the eccentric resistance to the twisting that would be caused by gravity. This de-activates the deep core muscles which are the ones behind your belly and around your spine.
When the deep core is forced to stay engaged through the whole movement for stabilization, the effect on the superficial abdominal muscles - the ones that give you those sharp, cut, serrated lines - is a series of intense sustained contractions of all types - concentric, eccentric, and isometric.
Stabilization of the core deprives you of this sustained contraction throughout the move, forcing you to focus on the mid-range concentric portion, which gives you only a small fraction of the muscle-defining power that you would get from an intense sustained contraction without stabilization.
Bulking up the psoas muscle
The psoas muscle runs deep, behind your abdominal organs. When you do a mid-range isolation move like a crunch, especially when the core is stabilized, you are bulking up the middle fibers of the psoas muscle and making your belly bulge.
Because of these 2 incredibly common mistakes, all the effort you put into bicycle crunches is not only wasted, but it's actually doing the opposite of what's intended: it's making your belly bulge more. It's also not giving you the intense, sustained contraction that you need to define your oblique lines.
Sculpting a body you will love by pushing your limits
Where the magic happens
No one has taught you these moves because they assume them beyond your capabilities. Conventional fitness training teaches you to back away in fear from your limits and never push into that thin zone at the edge of your capabilities.
But guess what? That thin zone at the limits of your capabilities is where all the magic happens. So the reason you're not seeing the results you love in the mirror and in selfies is that you've accepted the limitations others have placed on you.
Most people shy away from multi-dimensional, curvilinear movement challenges in the thin zone at the edge of their capabilities. Don't be one of those people!
If you want to see sharp, cut, serrated abdominal oblique lines in the mirror and in selfies, you've got to literally start sculpting them with every muscle contraction, with every second of effort in your workout.
The jumprope twister
This is a mid-air dynamic twisting move consisting of synchronized eccentric (lengthening) contraction of the obliques on one side with concentric (crunch) action on the other side. Since this move must be executed with the entire deep core activated isometrically to suspend the body in mid-air, it is one of the most powerful moves you can execute to define your oblique abdominal muscles.
Suspending your body weight
See the sharply defined abdominal muscle lines in the image above ? The reason you see those muscle definition lines is that the entire bodyweight is suspended in the air by an intense activation of all the core muscles, deep and superficial. There is absolutely no external stabilization to rely upon.
No chair, straps, armrests, handles, leg rests or pedals. No anchoring body parts like your feet, tailbone, back or shoulders. How long you can suspend your body weight in the air depends entirely on your core muscles, so they have to stay activated and engaged as you perform the twist maneuver.
Eliminating the psoas bulge
In the gif on the left, my knees and hips are flexed, so I am twisting both at the spine and hip joints. This results in a psoas contraction and belly-bulge, just like I described with the standard crunch.
In the gif on the right, I am maintaining a stick-straight upright posture, eliminating as much of the knee and hip flex as I can. This lengthens the psoas into an eccentric contraction, and you can see the clear difference in abdominal muscle line definition. As show in the diagram, imagine twisting your pelvis around an imaginary vertical center line and stay as upright as possible.
Take a look around... and in the mirror
Look around. Is the average gym member lean, sculpted, agile, strong, defined, and toned? Would you be happy with the results of the average person pumping away endless reps on the machines at the gym? Are you happy with the results you see in the mirror?
If you want results, stop wasting time and effort
Stop wasting your first 13 reps on boring, repetitive, closed-chain, linear isolation moves that are too easy, and not even feeling the burn until rep 14 or 15. Why not start making every second of every workout count where it matters - well-defined abdominal muscle lines you can see in the mirror and in selfies?
Learning to push your own limits
The most astonishing gains are made within the thin zone at the edge of our capabilities, when we are challenged not only physically, but also technically and mentally.
I incorporate at least one challenge move that is beyond the threshold of my abilities into my interval training every day. That forces me to acknowledge and confront my limits and make an effort to push beyond them every day. It is also a powerful way to focus the mind.
How far can you twist your pelvis? How stick-straight can you stand? How many times can you turn the rope? How fast? Learn to push your limits every day and you will start seeing those sharp, cut serrated lines in no time.
If you've never tried a move like this you will be astonished at how quickly you will gain strength, agility, and stamina. You will also start seeing results in your abdominal muscle definition that will convince you to never waste time with standard crunches and machine exercises again.
Start seeing the only results that really matter - the ones you love to see in the mirror
The movements involved activate the entire range of muscle fibers in multiple dimensions, linear and curvilinear, over their entire length, so the results in muscle definition will be quick and dramatic compared to the standard crunches you're wasting your time and energy with now.
Looking Great Naked isn't Magic ... It's Science
These moves are designed to maintain an intense isometric contraction of the entire core while you are in the air, so you will always feel the burn, and all of your time and effort will be laser-focused on results - those sharp, cut, abdominal lines you want to see in the mirror. Once you feel that intense burn with every millimeter you progress and you start seeing the results in the mirror, standard crunches will start seeming like the boring, useless waste of time that they are.
Face it - if you can't dance naked in front of a mirror and love what you see from every angle then your workouts are a waste of time. Stop wasting time and energy and start seeing results - learn how to make every move and every second of every workout count.