How to work towards a six pack for summer
Everyone would love to have abs showing all the time and some people do. So what's the main thing they do differently?
Well, in my opinion it comes down to two things. 1) The main factor, a consistently clean diet and 2) Well developed front abdominal muscles.
Honestly though, if your body fat is too high you're not going to see your abs so THE MOST important factor here is diet. You will need to burn fat off to get visible abs.
The abdominal muscle region is made up of 4 parts, each one running in a slightly different direction sort of "wrapping" the torso in order to protect everything (see pics):
▪️ Rectus abdominis, commonly known as "the abs" ▪️ External obliques, either side of the rectus abdominis ▪️ Internal obliques, which lie underneath the external obliques ▪️ Transversus abdominis, this lies inner most underneath the obliques
The main role of the abdominal region is to stabilise the spine, support the trunk and protect our organs within.
A strong abdominal region and core can be of benefit during lifting particularly for heavy compound movements.
It helps us to transfer strength more efficiently and stay safe as we control intra- abdominal pressure throughout a lift.
It's sort of become second nature that I will keep my core fairly tight throughout the day without even thinking about it, and I think a lot of athletes will do too.
How often should you train abs and with which exercises?
2-3 times a week, each session doing something different for each part of the abdominal region. At the end of your session spend just 10 or so minutes doing some sort of ab work.
⚠️ Make sure that during ab work you don't neglect your breathing. Breath out fully when you contract (imagine doing a crunch) and breath in slowly on the way back. ⚠️
For the main rectus abdominis "the abs" I would do weighted exercises such as rope crunch, ab machine, weighted sit ups flat or decline as your get stronger. These will target the upper abs more, and most people will find it easiest to develop these as they are naturally stronger. Usually anything that involves lifting the torso will use upper abs more than lowers.
To get a great six pack, lower abs which are usually less developed and weaker, must not be neglected. Movements that bring the pelvis up will recruit lower abs. You can do lying leg raises, hanging leg rasies and flutter kicks. Normally these will be done bodyweight.
Obliques can be targeted when we twist. I would also suggest doing these with just bodyweight. You can perform a twist during crunches, aim for opposite elbow to knee as you come up. Bicycle crunches are also great fun, cable twists with very light weight and lying leg twists. Aim for slightly higher reps and really try and feel a good contraction here.
Core work such as planks (various types), bicycle crunches and also some pilates movements plus more will target obliques and the deeper transversus abdominis...this will help to give us a nice "tight" looking waist, and will be of great benefit to strengthening our lower backs.
💡 AB TRAINING TIPS:
▪️ When doing floor work, try and actively remove the arch from your lower back so that your full back has contact with the floor.
▪️During crunch type movements keep the back rounded and avoid arching the back.
▪️You can use your hand position to make movements harder or easier. Out in front will be easiest and arms straight out behind you will be hardest. Somewhere in between is usually the most common.
So remember, unless your body fat is low enough you're not going to see your abs but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't train them as they have a very important role in the body particularly if you weight train regularly.
Have a good Monday
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