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         FITNESS TIPS FOR 4/15/2003
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Chuck Sipes 
One Year of Total Abdominal Specialization
By Dennis Weis "The Yukon Hercules"

Anyone who has followed the competitive bodybuilding career of the 
late Chuck Sipes, during the golden era will note that Chuck had 
possessed a sensational abdominal development.

It is apparent that Chuck must have done some very SPECIAL work 
on this waist region because on the night of the 1968 IFBB 
Mr. World contest, Chuck not only won the overall title, but best 
abs award. This feat is almost unheard of for a 220 pound 
bodybuilder, regardless if he is a Super Star.

I was naturally curious as to how he accomplished this 
specialization on the waist region because when I did the complete 
story on his preparation for winning the Mr. World title (Iron Man/Jan 
1984), he mentioned that he only performed a few sets of abs 
exercises to retain sharpness from a special abs program the year 
(1967) before.

With this thought in mind, I obtained an exclusive interview from 
Chuck, detailing how he prefers to SPECIALIZE on the waist region. 
Read this interview very CAREFULLY and I am sure that you will 
gain much wisdom from this man, Chuck Sipes.

Following is the taped personal interview that I had with Classic 
Bodybuilder Chuck Sipes.

Dennis:  Chuck what was your age when you began the very 
specialized one year abs program?

Chuck:  My age at the time I began the specialized abs training 
program was 36 years.

Dennis:  What were some of the IMPORTANT considerations that 
caused you to embark on such a specialized schedule of 
abdominal training?

Chuck:  Well, Dennis, one of the most important considerations that 
I give to any type of training schedule is the promotion of HEALTH. I 
feel that waist training is the KEY TO GOOD HEALTH. By this I mean 
that abdominal exercises have a great toning effect on the internal 
organs as well as the muscle structure itself. This, in turn, relates to 
nutritional aspects. Waist training, when done properly, seems to 
result in internal well being. Such work will often improve digestion, 
which, in turn, will break down the food enzymes and proteins taken
into the body via nutritional foods.

Dennis:  Thatís quite an interesting point, Chuck. Now, would you 
relate to the readers some of your secondary considerations in 
planning your specialized abs program?

Chuck:  To me, the waist region is one of the most important areas 
from the standpoint of competitive bodybuilding and winning top
contests. Most bodybuilders concentrate  more time on what they
consider the more showy type muscles. This would be the arms, 
shoulders and chest areas. As a result, they have a lack of quality 
abs development simply because they donít work them with as 
much EFFORT as the muscle areas just mentioned. I personally 
believe that the abs are indeed the most eye catching of the body 
parts.

Dennis:  Earlier in the interview, you were mentioning the 
breakdown of food enzymes and proteins in the body resulting from 
proper abdominal training. What importance does NUTRITION play in 
your training for "sharp" abs?

Chuck:  Throughout my career of 30 plus years in the weight game, I 
have always tried to adhere to a very balanced diet of PROTEINS, FATS, 
CARBOHYDRATES in the proper ratio balance. I have always avoided 
JUNK type foods. (This basic comment regarding diet is in 
consideration of all body parts and not just the abs.)

Dennis:  Chuck, would you care to go into your overall nutritional 
program?

Chuck:  I believe I will wait till another time to do this since the many 
facets of the proper nutrition as I see it would take a complete article 
or interview itself.

Dennis:  Having known you for many years and looking to the many 
photos that you have had taken over the years, it appears that you 
have always been in fantastic condition, especially in the waist 
region. Comment on this.

Chuck:  During my many years of bodybuilding, I have always 
performed some type of waist training in my workout schedules.

Dennis:  Well, why then did you put forth one solid year of EFFORT 
on this body part since your abs were in great shape externally and 
most likely in a state of well being internally.

Chuck:  I believe that in order to bring out the absolute maximum 
degree of muscular detail and development in the abs or any body 
part for that matter, one must dedicate a period of time just on a 
certain body part to realize for oneís self the absolute maximum 
potential of the muscle growth, muscularity or strength.

Dennis:  Does this mean that the period of time for specialization 
on a muscle area would be governed by the factor whether the 
muscle area was responsive to training or slow?

Chuck:  Yes.

Dennis:  Chuck, I think at this time, we should go directly into the 
maximums of your special abdominal raining program. What was 
your body weight and waist measurement when you began this 
intense training schedule?

Chuck:  At the time I began training on this one year program, my 
body weight was 190 pounds and my waist measured 32 inches.

Dennis:  Did you make any alterations considering your diet 
previous to beginning this abs program? 

Chuck:  I have always followed a super nutritional program 
during my career regardless of my existing goals at different 
periods of time. I didnít really alter my diet at all to aid in 
muscularizing my abs to the maximum. Instead of diet 
considerations, I CONCENTRATED on HARD and VICIOUS 
workouts. This factor in itself keeps the sets and reps per 
exercise low key per version. 

Dennis:  You have always been noted for the chunky granite hard 
abdominal formation that appears to be almost separated as a 
muscle group from the rest of your physique. What do you attribute 
this muscle formation to?

Chuck:  Well, there are many factors that are all a part of this visual 
effect. HEREDITY, which is the muscle structure you are born with; 
skin thickness-some people just seem to have less of a layer of fat 
between the muscle and the outer skin surface. I am fortunate in 
the fact that my skin is thin. I have just touched on a few of the 
considerations involved in this muscle area. I will go into more 
detail later but to sum it up in terms of exercise movement, I 
believe that the HIGH INCLINE SITUP on an incline abdominal 
board has helped greatly to develop to the greatest potential for 
my frontal abdominal thickness. I always use some sort of weight 
behind the head in this movement.

Dennis:  During the one year (1967) of total abdominal 
specialization, did you experience any difficulty with any one part 
of the abs structure lacking in proper balanced development?

Chuck:  Yes. I felt that the lower abs didnít respond quite as rapidly 
as I would have liked them to. I think when I outline the abs routine
later in this interview, the readers will better understand how I 
corrected this problem. 

Dennis:  Did you have a certain speed of movement in regard to 
the performance of each rep in your exercise sets? Example: slow, 
medium or fast?

Chuck:  I an glad that you mentioned this, Dennis. I feel that 
SPEED OF MOVEMENT in abs training is the KEY to ZENITH 
development in the abdominal region. I always tried to 
CONCENTRATE on rapid, quick movements with continuous 
tension and flexing in the movements of waist work. I might 
mention that that I didnít sacrifice strictness of movement in the 
exercises. The speed of movement is obtained over a period of 
many months while on this SPECIAL program. The increased 
speed of movement per rep doesnít happen in the first month 
of training. From what I have observed from my many travels 
and training with many bodybuilders, most donít concentrate on 
this speed of movement in their abs programs.

Dennis:  How did you select the proper exercises and the right 
ratio of sets and reps?

Chuck:  I did this from past workouts experience, and the feel 
and effect in the muscle area from the various movements.

After 20 plus years of experience in the iron game, I believe 
that one develops a second sense to whether or not a muscle 
area is being worked properly. I go by the feel of the MUSCLE 
ACHE and TIGHTNESS in a muscle region (abs in this case). 
By this method, I know that I am having a productive workout
rather than just doing set after set. Whenever I specialize on 
a body part, my stamina and endurance improve remarkably. 
In this way, the muscle ache and tightness I spoke of 
subsides quickly and in this way, there is less rest between 
sets.

Dennis:  How long do you rest between sets of abdominal 
exercises?

Chuck:  Well, if I am on specialization type work, I rest only 
momentarily, probably less than 10 seconds. On most regular 
type exercise schedules, my rest periods between sets are 
around 20 to 30 seconds and no more.

Dennis:  How many days per week did you perform this 
SPECIAL ABS program?

Chuck:  The first 6 months of the program, I performed the 
exercises 6 days per week and twice per day. The second 6 
months, I performed the program 6 days per week and did 
increase to doing the program 3 times per day.

Dennis:  How long did each individual session last since 
you did mention that you performed the program more than o
nce per day?

Chuck:  Each time I performed the program, it normally ran 
about 10 minutes. As you can see, the first six months, I was 
devoting 20 minutes per day to the schedule and the last 6 
months, I was devoting a half hour per day.

Dennis:  During the one year period of abdominal 
specialization did you have a FAVORITE abs exercise?

Chuck:  Yes. My favorite exercise for the abdominal region 
was the high angle incline sit up with a 25 pound weight held 
behind the head for resistance.

Dennis:  Did you make any changes in regard to your exercise 
variations or any changes in the sets and reps patterns during 
the one year of SPECIALIZED abs training?

Chuck:  I am not the type of individual who has to have a wide 
variety of exercises to be happy. By this, I prefer the basics 
and have always continued to make the progress on them
over the years. The only change that I did on this abdominal 
work was to change the order or sequence of the performed 
exercises. I would do this every four weeks or so. This gave 
my MENTAL ATTITUDE a lift.

Dennis:  Relate to the readers the exact day-to-day specialized 
abs schedule that you personally use for a total of six days 
per week for one year.

Chuck:  Here is the exact program:

ABDOMINAL TRAINING SCHEDULE
6 DAYS A WEEK

INCLINE SIT UPS (I would hook my situp board in the middle 
range position of the 7 rung abdominal ladder). -- 2 sets of 
25 reps.

INCLINE SIT UPS (I used a 25 pound plate behind the head for
resistance). Working from low to high elevation on the ladder, I 
would do 2 sets at each position. On these Incline Sit Ups with 
weight, I would focus much CONCENTRATION on FLEXING the 
abs with deep TENSION. --  2 sets of 8 reps.

*FRONT BENDS
With a broom stick or bar held behind the neck, Iwould expel 
all the air from my lungs and bend forward to a parallel position 
to the floor. -- 2 sets of 50 reps.

*SIDE BENDS
With a broom stick or bar behind the neck, I would bend from 
side to side in a rapid succession touching the elbows to 
the sides and striving to CRUNCH the abs. -- 2 sets of 50 reps. 

*USE QUICK FAST MOVEMENTS ON THESE TWO EXERCISES.

INCLINE BOARD LEG RAISES (I used iron boots for added 
resistance) Each week I would vary the range of the incline 
board from medium to high range for the required sets. 
Sometimes for a variation i would substitute HANGING LEG 
RAISES from a chin up bar. I Concentrated on TIGHTENING the
abs with each movement. -- 4 sets of 8 reps. 

STOMACH ISOLATIONS 
This is tremendous exercise for the internal abs health and 
great for development purposes also. I CONCENTRATED ON 
VERY HIGH DEGREE OF VACUUM FORCING THE ABS REGION 
FORWARD. -- 4 sets of 8 reps.

Dennis: Considering the low amount of sets and reps for the 6 
exercises, the program looks quite basic. Would you care to c
omment on this?

Chuck: Yes. I will list some points that will show you that this 
program was very intense in its entirety.

1. The program was followed at least twice per day for the first 6 
months and three times per day the last 6 months. This factor
alone greatly increases the severity of the program.

2. I increased the SPEED of movement over the 12 month period 
and this added to the intensity of the exercises.

3. Constantly throughout the exercise movements, I kept 
CONTINUOUS TENSION on the abs.

4. I CONCENTRATED deeply into the muscle area (abs) so as
to achieve a deep ACHE and TIGHTNESS.

Dennis: During the one year of specialized abs work, did you
ever notice any adverse effects regarding your overall 
strength feats or lack of growth in your body parts?

Chuck: No. As a matter of fact, I was able to reach a Peak of 
Strength while on the abs program. My bench press for 
example was nearing 600 pounds during this period. All of my 
various body parts reached ZENITH growth and development. 
Of course, you must remember that this program was in 
part successful due to my 20 plus years in the iron game 
and I have great recuperative powers.

Dennis: I guess this just about winds up the interview on your 
specialized abs training program that you followed many years 
ago. I have two final questions that I am sure that the readers 
would be interested in hearing a response to. 

QUESTION 1: What was your waist measurement and bodyweight 
at the end of the one year program?

Chuck: My waist measured 31" and my bodyweight was 220 
pounds. As you can see, I only lost 1" on my waist from a 
beginning of 32", but if you will note, I gained 30 pounds in 
bodyweight, so I feel that the program is worthwhile and I have 
a definite high regard for the program.

QUESTION 2: Of a person other than yourself were to attempt 
the listed abs program, what are some of the considerations 
that one should take into account so that the results will be 
100 percent successful?

Chuck: I must first say that someone else following this 
particular routine may not achieve the high degree of results that 
I realize from it. This might be so, even if one were to follow all 
the SUCCESS KEYS mentioned pertaining to this program. The 
reasons behind this are HEREDITARY (Abs formation that you are 
born with), SKIN THICKNESS, DEDICATION TO TRAINING, ENERGY 
LEVELS, AGE OF THE PERSON. After age 30, one would find it 
very hard to develop prize winning abs unless the practice of 
controlled waist work had been adhered to years prior, such as I 
have done. I have never allowed my waist girth or development 
to get out of hand. Abs have always been a priority group to me. 
Overall though, one still can realize great improvement in the 
abs following this program. I believe that one should be 
sensible enough to realize that one canít jump into the exact 
listed days exercises, sets, reps and speed of movements, and 
all the tensing and muscle flexing that gear this program to its 
greatest intensity. First, take into consideration the present 
physical condition of your abs, your bodyweight, age and 
finally your projected abs goal.

I believe that one could begin to work into this program by 
beginning with a mild routine of abs work. For example, one 
might begin on a simple program of waist work. Use one 
exercise session 3 days per week. As the waist gets 
conditioned, increase the amount of exercises, sets and reps 
and most important, the speed of movement. After this one
 year of total specialization is completed, the best way to 
taper off and maintain the greatest muscularity and skin 
tone from this very specialized abs program is to always 
include 15 to 20 minutes of RAPID and VIGOROUS waist work 
each workout, and the results will hold. I have done this for
the past 9 years and my abs are even in better muscular 
condition than they were on the night I won best abs at the 
IFBB 1968 Mr. World Contest.

Dennis: Thanks so much for sharing with the readers your 
explicitly calculated specialized abs routine. Concluding this
 rather lengthy interview, do you have any final remarks?

Chuck: CONTINUE TO EAT WHOLESOME NUTRIOUS FOODS. 
By following these suggestions, one will be able to maintain 
a MUSCULAR and YOUTHFUL mid section.

For more info on Chuck Sipes and his training tips and 
techniques go to http://www.bodybuildingfanatic.com/chucksipes.htm
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