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Apollo's Belt Exercises

written by: Courtney Kent • edited by: Angela Atkinson • updated: 5/18/2011

V-shaped abs are the most desired show of fitness. Find out what they are and how to sport a set of your own through exercise and proper nutrition.

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    Exercises for Apollo's Belt

    Whether you call it Apollo’s belt, Adonis belt or iliac furrow, most men want them and most women find them sexy. The iliac furrow is the line that runs from the iliac crest to the pubis--in other words from the top of the hip, right down to your man bits. With a toned body and low body fat, the furrows become more visible. Genetics play a role in how deep of a groove is there normally; however, it is possible to deepen the groove by implementing a training program for the abdominal muscles. All of the muscles in your core play a role in how noticeable the iliac furrows are.

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    Effective Abdominal Exercises

    The Basic Crunch

    Although it is referred to as basic, there are still so many people who do this exercise wrong.

    To start, lay on your back. Your knees should be bent, and your feet should be flat on the floor. Next, place your hands by your ears; some people prefer to lay their arms crossing on their chest. If you find you have the tendency to pull on your head during the movement, try the latter.

    To complete the motion of the basic crunch, start raising your head, neck, and then back. Be mindful that you are not bringing your chin into your chest. As you lift, exhale and your abs will fully contract. When you lower, inhale. Keep your breathing and your motion controlled. Also, be sure that your lower back is in constant contact with the floor.

    The Full Crunch

    This exercise is similar to the basic crunch; however, we are going to up the ante a bit. This time when you lay on the floor, raise your legs in the air and then bend your knees to a 90-degree angle. Follow the same breathing patterns, exhale when you lift, and inhale when you lower. This time when you lift, simultaneously pull your legs and knees toward you by curling your pelvis towards your ribs.

    Toe-to-Ceiling with Leg Raise

    Looking for a challenge? Then this one’s for you! Lay on your back, legs straight, and arms at your sides. Slowly raise your feet a couple inches from the floor and let them hover there a second. Now continue raising your legs until they are at a 90-degree angle to your body, try to keep them straight--no knee bending. Now contract your abs and push your pointed toes to the ceiling.

    Your butt and lower back should lift off the floor. Control the movement as you release all the way back to the start. Each repetition should end with your feet hovering above the floor a few inches. Watch out for your lower back; keep it flat against the floor until you push to the ceiling. Do not swing your legs to help drive yourself up, if you do, you are just wasting your time.

    Dumbell Side Bends

    For this exercise you need to grab a set of dumbells. Stand straight, with your shoulders back. Bend to one side and then slowly return to upright. Good job! Now do the same for the other side. Keep your abdominals tight throughout the movement.

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    Too Easy?

    If body weight abdominal exercises are too easy, and you find that you are doing an awful lot of them before you are exhausted, consider adding some weight.

    One of my personal favorite weighted abdominal exercises is the decline sit-up. Here is what you do:

    Pick up a weight plate; start with a smaller one until you are comfortable. Even when you are comfortable, stay with lower weights so you don’t rock your back. Lay on the decline bench with the weight clutched to your chest. Whichever way you can grip it best is fine; crossing your arms over the weight plate works well. Keep your upper body in a straight line as you sit-up. Lower your body back to the bench while maintaining good form.

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    How Often to Train Your Abs

    Abdominals, like every muscle, need some time to recover between workouts. If you are training them without weights, every other day is fine. When you use weights, try to give them two or three days to recover before you rip them up again.

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    Cardio for Fat Loss

    If you really want to show off your own Apollo’s belt, you are going to need to shed that cushiony layer of fat. As you build muscle, your body will burn more calories; however, the addition of cardio can help you burn calories quicker and keep you burning for quite a while after you finish. Aim for a minimum of four cardio workouts each week with at least one day of recovery between. Your cardio workouts should be about thirty to forty-five minutes in length.

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    Diet for Fat Loss

    If you are going to go through all this trouble, pay attention to what you put in your gut. Pass on the chips and beer. Choose lean proteins and vegetables instead. Choosing some foods that help burn fat wouldn't hurt either. Don’t shun carbohydrates, you aren’t going to do your body any favors like that. Brown rice, quinoa, barley: take your pick.

    Now you are free to uncover your iliac furrows and make the ladies drool. Listen to your body; if you feel pain while exercising stop. Also, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program or diet. When you get the O.K, get to it.

    Sources: Authors experience.

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