Everything You Need To Know On How To Build Impressive Abs
Everything You Need To Know On How To Build Impressive Abs
"Hot" and "Trendy" abs routines are more popular than ever, and unfortunately more times than not, these "trendy" routines are comprised of miss information.
Over the past 20+ years we have all been marketed that the best way to get six pack abs is to:
- Do high rep range exercises
- Train our abs in circuits with little-to-no rest periods
- Stay under 8% body fat to have visible abs
Well, what if I told you that these three "ab building tips" are all wrong?
What if I told you that actually the best way to get a shredded six pack is actually to do the exact opposite?
Don't Worry I Spent Years Training Abs The Wrong Way
Over my 10 plus years in working out, and prepping for bodybuilding shows, I would say I didn't quite understand how to properly train abs until the last two years of my fitness life.
The majority of my fitness journey, I believed that if I trained my abs with high intensity and with short rest times, that I would have the rock hard shredded six pack that I could maintain year round.
Now this method did work and I had impressive abs, but only in low body fat ranges of 7% or lower and still they didn't quite seem to "pop" like I wanted.
This always left me wondering:
Do my genetics suck?
Am I just one of those guys who only can have abs when I am really lean?
Why do other people have abs and they are 10% body fat?
What in the world do I have to do to get better abs that "pop".
Why We Train Abs The Wrong Way
Dating all the way back to the mid-80's, we have been taught that the only way to get a chiseled, defined core was to train our abs with high intensity.
The belief behind this was supported by research studies that showed our abs are comprised of different muscle fibers than the ones like our chest, back, quads, etc.
Unfortunately, to this day we are still be marketed the same message to build a great core.
Because of this information, I can guarantee that when you go to the gym today you will see that almost every person training abs is doing a light weight-circuit style training and possibly long steady state cardio.
Pay close attention to these people and what you will find is that they really don't have impressive physiques, or a impressive core.
You can't blame them.
Heck, even I thought up until a couple years ago that this was the only way to develop shredded six pack abs.
I was the guy who at one point was telling my buddies, stay away from training your abs with resistance and/or weights because it would develop a "bulky" waste line.
So, What Is The Best Way To Train Abs?
Well to start, we have to adjust our mindset to:
- Training abs like any other muscle group
- Focus on the functional movement of the core
- Improve core mobility and strength
- Focus on the main visible muscles that make up our core
- Properly train these targeted muscles
To truly understand the proper way to train your core, you have to first understand the function of the core.
Our abs primary function is the bring your pelvis close to the rib cage, and back.
When you look at the anatomy of our body, you will find that the abs are attached at the pelvis and the rib cage.
You may be wondering why is this important, and here is why:
When your abs contract or "shorten" they bring the pelvis and the rib cage closer together.
This movement rounds your lower back when they contract and don't bend at the hips. (most people assume they do).
This is important to remember when you are doing exercises to make sure you are moving in the right motion for optimum efficacy.
The Top 3 Exercises For Abs
Planks - How To Do Planks Properly
Planks have to be my all time favorite exercise for abs, because the stabilization of your core is very important in daily life, and to protect the spine.
When it comes to developing your abs, this is my go to favorite exercise because if you are doing them right they can truly transform the look and appearance of your core.
Most people I see in the gym usually does them wrong.
9 times out of 10, I see people doing a plank and they are not rounding the lower back, contracting their abs, and holding the position for a minute.
Usually they are bending at the hips and not really optimizing the ability to target the core.
Make sure when you are doing planks that you round the lower back and tuck your tailbone in. Contract or Squeeze your abs and hold the position for 45-60 seconds.
You can incorporate this 2-3 times a week and make sure each time you are focusing on perfect form not the "amount of time" you hold a plank.
When I first started out, I could only hold my perfect plank position for 20 seconds, so don't let this discourage you when you start executing this movement properly for the first couple workouts.
Reverse Crunches - How To Do Reverse Crunches Properly
Now this movement can be the most effective exercise for truly developing your abs.
But too often, I see almost EVERYONE doing it completely wrong and going into this movement to hit a certain number of reps...... NO NO NO and NO.
When I first started doing reverse crunches properly for my abs, legit I could only do 3-5 reps. Now that I have developed real strength in more core, I am able to hit 10-15 reps no problem.
However, most of the people I see doing reverse crunches usually are bending at the hips and doing 50+ reps waiting for the "burn" feeling that is associated with training abs. WRONG
A true reverse crunch is where you bring your pelvis close to your rib cage.
When you go into this movement, you want to imagine your body rolling up.
Do not kick your legs in the air and shoot them straight up.
Bend your knees and you want to roll back.
On the way back down, you want to have a very slow controlled movement trying to keep the spin connecting with the ground on the way down. Right before your feet touch the ground, hold the position. Maximize your stretch and contract back up.
If you are doing these properly you will struggle at first, but build strength relatively pretty fast. Once 10-15 because easy with the proper form, you can increase intensity with a incline bench.
Cable Crunches - How To Properly Do Cable Crunches
Bingo, here is where we start playing with weights to develop our our abs.
This can be a highly effective movement to get shredded abs. However, you need to remember that it is important to round the back and not bend at the hips.
STOP BENDING AT THE HIPS.
Now that I made that point pretty clear lol. This exercise allows you to harness the power of weights to strengthen your core and harness the full rep range of your abs if you do it properly.
Wrapping Up Ab Training
To wrap up this article on how to properly train abs and develop shredded abs, I want to leave you with this message:
Always focus on the rep, throughout the entire range of motion. Do not be one of those people in the gym that you see busting out 100+ sit ups at lighting pace.
Slow & Controlled movements will always out perform fast and uncontrolled reps.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more articles!
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