How can I make my stomach look nice without sit-ups?
September 8, 2004 11:11 AM   Subscribe

How can I make my stomach look nice without sit-ups? (MI)

I know that sit-ups will make my stomach look nicer, but I don't like sit-ups. I assume that cavemen, (Conan the) Barbarians, Roman soldiers, generations of peasant farmers and other assorted people of history were able to get nice looking stomach areas without sit-ups. So what do I need to start doing?
posted by crazy finger to Health & Fitness (19 answers total)'s just a matter of not having fat on the abs.
posted by konolia at 11:21 AM on September 8, 2004

Lose the fat.
Not that I think you're fat, crazy finger!
Of course, if you want to keep your stomach looking nice, I suggest formaldehyde.
posted by bachelor#3 at 11:23 AM on September 8, 2004

Try here or here for starters. To reiterate: if you mean "six-pack," it's about diet, not sit-ups. No amount of sit-ups (or any other exercise, for that matter) will give you any abdominal definition if you've got too much fat.

Eat less, exercise more, leave the situps to idiot posers. Or just get big and strong instead of wimpy and lean.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:27 AM on September 8, 2004

I'm assuming you want definition, i.e. a sixpack.

Pretty much everyone already has a sixpack, it's just buried under a keg of chub. You just need to get your body fat percentage low. That means doing a lot of calorie-burning aerobic workouts daily. Swimming for a couple of hours, or running several miles, *daily* would work... as long as you keep your diet at it's current level. Situps won't actually do anything unless you're already managing your body fat level with aerobic workouts.

The movie perception of cavemen and peasants and whatnot are not correct. Keep in mind that we see hollywood's perceptions, so of course they're going to look like gods! In reality, they were skinny and had little fat and decent musculature because they did hard physical work every day from sunup to sundown and never really got enough to eat, or if they did have enough to eat, they were just as pudgy as americans are ... and don't forget that most of them died at 40.

In summary: Lose fat. Gain muscle. (Profit?)
posted by SpecialK at 11:27 AM on September 8, 2004


posted by Skaramoosh at 11:34 AM on September 8, 2004

Response by poster: The answer I was looking for was liposuction.

Seriously, though, nicer stomach here I come! I guess that I am a little fat after all - I'll get on the track to losing about 10-20 pounds by Christmas immediately. Hopefully it works as well as my last diet-revision where I was able to blow 60 pounds in a year.
posted by crazy finger at 11:36 AM on September 8, 2004

Swimming for a couple of hours
posted by thomcatspike at 11:40 AM on September 8, 2004

I disagree with what others have said. I have no general knowledge about diet or fitness, only my own experience.

A couple of years ago, I got a gym membership and began to work out regularly, in an effort to gain weight. (I was 6'4", 155lbs. Wild diets of 4500 calories per day for months at a time did nothing to put weight on.) I did only upper-body work, as a great deal of backpacking left me with well-defined calves and thighs. After a year, I'd put on 30lbs in the back, shoulders, arms, chest, and stomach, including developing what my girlfriend (now-fiancee) called a "two-pack."

A year ago, I started university and stopped working out. I've since lost 15lbs, all muscle, and I no longer have a two-pack, and certainly no six-pack. When I finish school in December, I will begin to work out again, and I don't doubt that I'll develop an x-pack anew.

I don't have any fat on me, and any muscles that exist in my stomach should be fully revealed. I maintain an excellent diet of quality meals that I labor over daily. The key, for me, consists of exercise.
posted by waldo at 12:00 PM on September 8, 2004

Okay, while we're talking about stomachs, here's one for the girls: what about regaining muscle tone after having a baby? I'm guessing there are definitely situps required there, especially since my body fat is already reasonable but I - no, wait - a friend of mine has that whole wibbly-tummy thing going on.
posted by tracicle at 1:52 PM on September 8, 2004

Traditional situps waste energy and won't do crap for your abs. Massive numbers of crunches...regular, sideways, legs up, bicycle-style, etc...are the key to defining those ab muscles once you lose all the fat.
posted by gokart4xmas at 1:59 PM on September 8, 2004

Open Top Kayaking. Do it with right posture the first time, and you'll be amazed at how much of an abdominal workout you get from it.
posted by brownpau at 1:59 PM on September 8, 2004

brownpau.. just curious, does Open-Top (sit on top, I'm guessing) vs. recreation/touring kayak make a difference?
posted by shinynewnick at 3:19 PM on September 8, 2004

If you're fat, the myth of spot reduction has been mentioned upthread. Crunches (which are not situps, I hasten to mention. Situps as most people perform them work nothing but the hip flexors, and achieve little) will build muscle but not reduce fat that lies over that muscle to any real extent.

If you already have lowish body fat, spot-building, to a degree, is not a myth, though. You can focus on and work certain muscle groups.

You don't provide enough information for good advice in your question.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:48 PM on September 8, 2004

a friend of mine has that whole wibbly-tummy thing going on.

You(r friend) should try and remember this the next time she walks by a magazine rack and sees a plethora of beautiful, tight tummies: there is a spectrum of "healthy" that ranges (visually) from lean and trim, to slightly pudgy. You can be healthy and still be on the wibbly-tummy side of things.

The key is this: eating right only gets you halfway there. Eat well and drive everywhere, have a sit-down computer job, and watch TV for a couple of hours a day and you will probably never look like those people on the magazine covers who (surprise) exercise more than you. If your friend is really serious about getting to the other end of the spectrum, they have to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle. And not just 15 minutes a day of stationary biking.

Really, it's a pain in the ass, but if you're friend is serious about it, they just have to suck it up.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:43 PM on September 8, 2004

tracicle: pssst, Pilates and Callanetics both do a decent job of firming the wibble (it's been my more-off-than-on regimen, heh, and it's done fine - you still have to shed the fat over it, but the muscles get tighter quick!). Also I hear bellydancing classes work too. Since a fair portion of post-preggers tummy-wibble can be loose skin though, there's nothing you can do about that, except plastic surgery, pretty much.
posted by Melinika at 10:33 PM on September 8, 2004

Take a hint from John Stone ? :)
posted by XiBe at 1:46 AM on September 9, 2004

tracicle: Melinika's right, pilates all the way - I've been doing once a week for a year and I could feel a change in the muscle after just a couple of months. It really helps, although I'm not post-pregnancy so I suppose your results may vary...
posted by Skaramoosh at 3:45 AM on September 9, 2004

I don't know if Pilates is even in existence in NZ yet - I think people still tend to look down on it as California health-nut stuff a little - but I'll look into it. Unfortunately, it sounds like that won't help too much as my body-fat is low (I should have said that instead of 'reasonable') and the problem is probably loose skin. Ah well.

Always wanted to try Pilates anyway.
posted by tracicle at 2:39 PM on September 9, 2004

Umm, a large tatoo might look nice.
posted by DBAPaul at 10:21 AM on September 13, 2004

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