When you are trying to bring out your abs there seems to be no end of advice and exercises and recommendations so it can be hard to know which will be right for you. There are many conflicting approaches and routines so it can seem like a minefield.
That’s why we have put together this guidance on ab exercises which will push you to the limit and how to make sure the actions you are taking will be more successful, giving you the body you ultimately desire.
1. Do your abs work first
Do your abs workout first, when you still have a lot of energy – otherwise by the end of the workout, when you are tired, you might end up skipping the abs altogether.
2. Carry out core work
While you are taking part in a weightlifting routine you might think your core and abs is automatically getting a work out thanks to moves like deadlifts and military press ups, however, you still need to do specific, direct exercises for your core to bring out your abs.
3. Do the toughest exercise first
You will start to tire out during the course of any workout so always do your hardest exercises first and then follow those with movements which are not so challenging. That way you are more likely to complete the whole routine and not give up halfway as you’ve run out of energy.
4. Have a dedicated abs training plan
Set up an abs training plan where you have an abs day as part of your workout programme and have specific ab training moves which you can choose from. These could be done with or without a bench. If you opt for a sit up bench, look at some with good reviews such as these – https://www.sportzbits.com/best-sit-up-bench/
It’s good to have a choice of five to six exercises to choose from and then do three of these during any one training session.
5. Understand lower and upper abs
You need to understand the difference between the lower and upper abs and the different types of exercise needed for each region. For the upper abs, you could try a cable crunch while standing. For the lower abs, a move like a hanging leg raise will work better. The key is making sure your hips are hinging correctly.
6. Add in resistance
A common mistake people make with abs is doing lots of reps but without adding any weight. It’s always better to add some kind of resistance to any ab training routine, to help increase that six pack effect.
7. Don’t forget the transverse abdominis
Try the vacuum pose which helps work that invisible but essential abs muscle – it’s like a plank but standing up. You just need to pull your belly back towards your spine and hold it there. You can do this while doing other exercises as well to increase the strength.
8. Don’t forget to include recovery time
Don’t forget that you need time for your muscles to recover and growth so don’t feel you need to carry out abs training every day – it won’t work like that. The best approach is three times a week with breaks in between.
9. Keep proper form always
Make sure you always keep your spine, head and hips in proper form when carrying out ab exercises so you can avoid injury. Don’t ever lock your back flat and don’t pull through your hips or head as this reduces the work carried out by your abs and could cause injury.
10. Make the workout work for you
Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts – you need to increase the stress on the muscles and make the movement difficult. You can try things like holding the contraction for a longer time, slowing down your repetition speed and not letting your shoulders touch the ground when you are working out on the floor.
11. Eat healthily
Abs are made by exercise in the gym, however, if you have a bad diet and they are covered in fat you will never get the six pack you seek, no matter how hard you work out. It’s important to have a good healthy diet, combined with the exercise.
12. Carry out cardio
If you do need to burn off some extra calories to help those abs pop then make sure you include some cardio exercise into your routine as well as the muscle-building workouts. You need some kind of high intensity workout as part of your overall plan.
There are many ab bench exercises which will push you to the limit but it’s important to do them properly and to combine your ab exercises with a good diet, overall cardio exercise and regular rest days, otherwise all your hard work could be in vain.
Don’t forget, the abs are made up of a variety of muscles and you need to exercise all of them in different ways to get the maximum effect.