Jack King's Blog
Natural bodybuilding & Olympic lifting resource

Non-Apparatus Waist Work

In this post, I’ll share two waist exercises to complete a total body non-apparatus training routine that I’ve outlined throughout my blog. See this link for upper body and this link for lower body for the complete routine.

1)      Basic Crunch
For the basic crunch, you’ll lay flat on your back on the floor in front of a bench or chair. Your knees will be bent at a 90 degree angle with your feet propped on the bench or chair. Be sure that your lower back is perfectly flat on the floor.

When you crunch, ultimately what you’re doing is trying to jam your upper abs into lower abs and groin area. When doing your crunch, you’ll raise your shoulders off the floor about 3-4 inches. This is NOT a sit-up. The crunch is a very short movement, but if you use your fingers to feel the contraction of your abdominal muscles, you’ll understand how effective this movement is. Push your lower back into the floor as your raise your shoulders. You are aiming for control. A tip for the movement is to try to crunch toward the ceiling and not toward your knees. For a more advanced movement, you can reach with your arms and hands toward the ceiling.

The key to crunches is controlled movement. Don’t worry about how fast you’re doing the reps. Once you get the feeling of your back pressing into the floor, you’ll become aware of how your abs are supposed to feel when performing this movement. Don’t let go of that feeling. You’ll be surprised by how such a short movement will end up providing the best contraction.

2)      Leg Raises
For leg raises, you will lay flat on your back on the floor or a bench. You’ll begin by raising your legs until they are perpendicular to the ceiling. Be sure to keep your legs together and straight throughout the movement. If your lower back comes off the floor or bench, you’ve gone too far. Lower your legs back down slowly in a controlled movement. Again, be sure your legs are straight. Don’t allow your legs to touch the ground on the downward movement. Instead, raise your legs again until they are perpendicular to the ceiling. If you need support, you can hold onto a sturdy object to keep your body grounded. Otherwise, simply leave your arms straight down by your sides.   

For both ab movements, work toward being able to complete 20-25 reps across multiple sets. Ideally, you’d want to alternate between the two ab exercises performing 20-25 reps for each. For maximum results with these exercises, the key will be CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL. Concentrate on the movement and the muscles that are being worked. Build up reps over time and add sets as you progress. If you do, you’ll love the results.

Until next time, keep training hard.


8 Responses to “Non-Apparatus Waist Work”

  1. Mr. King,

    Thank you for the description of the crunch. I have been doing them as you describe, but was concerned I was using too small of a range of motion. It sounds like I have it right.

    I was also wondering about the amount of work (sets/reps) you feel are necessary to add size w/ bodyweight exercises? Do you feel a hundred reps or more per set and 800-1500 reps per workout are needed to build size w/ Push-ups? How many reps of Chins/Pullups and Lunges or other leg work do you think are needed?

    Thank you

    • Hi Brett,

      Thanks for your comment and questions. One thing to point out concerning bodyweight exercises is that you have to work much harder in terms of number of sets/reps to achieve noticeable gains than you would with weight-bearing excercises. But believe me, if you put in the time and effort with a bodyweight routine, results will be obvious to you and others. I would make the following suggestions for reps/sets for each exercise:

      For push-ups, there is really no limit on the number of reps/sets, but you want to get to where you can perform at least sets of 50. Once you get to where you can do 5-10 sets of 50 reps, you can begin to build from there adding reps and sets where you can.

      For chins, the movement and progress will be much harder. So, aiming for 15-30 reps per set is not unreasonable. Remember, chins are done with your palms facing you. For pull-ups (palms facing out), you won’t be able to do quite as many reps as you do with chins. Strive for 10 sets of 10 reps or even 5 sets of 20-30 reps.

      For lunges, aim for 20-35 reps per leg. Sprinting will vary depending upon how long your sprint distance is. If you’re sprinting for a total of 50-100 yards, you’ll want to get to where you can perform at least 10 sprints per session. If you’re sprinting up a steep hill at 25 yards, you’ll aim for 10, 15, or even 20 sprints per session.

      Ideally, you’d perform each exercise twice per week. One more note, if you’re performing uphill sprints, you won’t need a lot of lunges.

      Hope this gets you on-track. Let me know if you have further questions.

  2. This is some helpful info, thanks. At the moment I’m really focused on achieving shredded six pack abs. It’s my personal goal these days. I’m wondering if anyone has any special diet recommendations to help me get six pack abs faster I’ve been told that egg whites, oatmeal, salmon, blueberries and broccoli are all important to include in my diet. Anything else I’m not thinking of?

  3. Mr. King,

    Thanks for the response. It was very helpful.

    I got to thinking today. It would be cool if you posted a video of how you performed your Push-ups. I have read different descriptions, but seeing it in action would be great. Maybe you could have someone perform the Push-ups while you commented.

    One question I had was about depth. You said you went until your chest almost touched the floor. When you were in that position what kind of bend did you have in your arms? I read somewhere that you said they were approximately 90 degrees.



  4. Hi Mr. King,

    I was just wondering…

    It seems as though the posts had shifted from simply a non-apparatus waist work to non-apparatus bodybuilding in your first reply to Brett.

    If so, what would a typical week’s activity look like???


  5. How many sets did you do of the ab exercises?How many times a week did you do them?

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