First and foremost, I'd like to welcome two new stars to FigureBikini.com. Ashley Pelletier is a bikini competitor that got her start in the NPC and has decided to transition to the WBFF. She has a great physique, a wonderful personality, and a commitment to go pro. Expect to see a lot more of Ashley in the future!
I'm also very pleased to welcome Judy Gaillard, an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder. Judy has a great physique and will be featured in an upcoming interview for StrengthAddicts/FigureBikini/PhysiqueCentral.
In addition to these two wonderful introductions, I posed a poll question to a select group of ladies whom contribute regularly to this page. The question was: "what's your favorite exercise for abs, why, and how often do you train this muscle group?" I hope you enjoy today's post -- and make sure to check FigureBikini.com often!
"Hey everyone! My name is Ashley Pelletier, and I'm a bikini competitor from the New Haven, CT area (however, I'm moving to San Francisco in January- my favorite city on Earth!!!) I'm a Pediatric home care nurse and currently, I'm studying through the ISSA to obtain my personal training certification. I work with NPC bodybuilder PJ Braun for my training and nutrition needs- a great coach makes all the difference. I have been training and living the clean eating lifestyle for two years now...all leading up to my ultimate goal, competing in my first two physique competitions this past summer. I've always wanted to build my ultimate body but just never knew how to go about it. I joined Golds Gym of New Haven in November of 2009 and finally got hooked up with the means and resources to make my goals a reality. All my life, I've struggled with binge eating, so to finally change my life and get healthy was an accomplishment in and of itself. I got into competing in bikini when I met Tabitha Klausen Leandri, IFBB Bikini Pro, at Golds in New Haven. She trained me for my first two shows and helped me to achieve the confidence I never knew I had!!! As far as my "stats"go, I'm 6'2" and my contest weight is 141. I'm in my first offseason ever and currently weigh 153...training to build muscle, as I plan on competing in Figure one day!
As far as ABS go, my favorite ab exercise is the simple, humble plank. When I first began training, I had zero core strength. My trainer, Tabitha, had me start out doing these, and I love them. They work the entire abdominal region and you can do countless variations on them such as the side plank, weighted plank, etc. I train my abs once per week currently, but I will admit that I HATE training them, and its a struggle to be consistent. The REAL exercise I do the most for my abs is CLEAN EATING. Exercising control over your sweet tooth will keep your midsection in check like absolutely nothing else can. In addition, I always keep my abdomen contracted tightly- whether I'm standing, sitting, driving, or just lounging in bed!!! That starts a lifetime good habit of posture and core strength that you won't ever lose."
"I do not like ab/oblique training and I very rarely do isolation ab work, it's definitely an area that I don't put much focus on. I keep my core strong by heavy deadlifting and squatting. Abs are just like every other muscle, there isnt a need to train them daily..They get plenty of stimulation during my main lifts, so I let them recover on other days. Heavy lifting keeps them strong, but it's the diet they makes them visble.
IFPA Figure Pro
"My favorite ab exercise are decline crunches with a slight twist at the top. I feel it gets my entire core. I use a 10 lb plate every other time that I do these to help build up my abs. I train abs 3 times a week but when a show is close I'll do them everyday unweighted to make sure they're lean and tight. Core strength is important for a lot of exercises so I never neglect them."
NPC Figure Competitor
"Stability Ball Pike Up is a MUST. They engage the entire core. That exercise and I have a love/hate relationship! As far as obliques, I really like mountain climbers, bringing knees to elbows in a wide stance. This is great for the obliques and you're still killing the abs at the same tiem. I will work abs 3-4 times/week, and obliques only once or twice/week."
NPC Figure Competitor
"Judy Gaillard, age 40. (yeah i'm old..lol). 5'3". Competition weight is 138-140lbs. Off-season weight is 165-170. I started training about 14 years ago. Basically just wanted to lose weight & tighten up after having kids. Before you know it, you start seeing a little detail & you find that you are hooked. I competed in 5 shows this year, including 3 national shows. I dieted 10 months (42 weeks) total for 2011 season, so I am taking whats left of this year to rest & recover. I am still working out, just not in training..lol
I guess I am one of the lucky ones..I don't really train abs until a few weeks out from competition, just to bring in detail. Fortunately once I start strict dieting, they usually come in within a couple of weeks. Also, I am like Nicole, I train pretty heavy off-season & competition time, so that keeps my abs pretty tight. When I do train them, I primarily concentrate on my lower abs. Leg raises, decline crunches & regular crunches is about it. Trying to really squeeze each rep. I don't train obliques @ all. Judges tell me that my obliques are overdeveloped whatever that means..lol Thanks for asking!"