Here’s something that you may not have considered about your abs…
Unlike the biceps or even the pecs, your abs are postural muscles. This means that their main role is to help you maintain your posture and the correct stance. Specifically, their role in this capacity is to keep you upright and to prevent your erector spinae and other back muscles from causing you to spontaneously and literally ‘bend over backward’.
What does this mean for your training? It means that they’re made of mostly slow twitch muscle fiber. They have to be, because they’re working all the time.
If you want to see results then, that means you need to train the muscles all the time as well.
Here are five exercises that you can use to do this and that will help you to get the definition you’re looking for…
Use these at the start of your workouts and you’ll then be working your abs through entire rest of your sessions…
The roman chair combines a sit up with an isometric hold, meaning your abs are constantly under tension throughout the entire movement.
Hanging Leg Raise
Hanging leg raises involve hanging from a pull up bar and then raising your legs up. To make sure you’re using this exercise correctly, try to focus on ‘curling’ the abs up rather than ‘folding’ them. When you ‘fold’ your mid-section you are using your hip flexors rather than your abs and thus you won’t get the ab strength that you’re looking for from it.
Dips Leg Raise
This is leg raises again but using the dipping station to hold yourself in place rather than hanging from a bar. This allows you to keep going when your grip would otherwise start failing you were you to hang. Another way to keep going past failure is to use frog kicks rather than leg raises – these involve bringing your knees up to your chest rather than raising your feet with straight legs.
Lie on the floor and then create a bicycle motion with your legs, bringing your elbows up to alternate knees as you do. This is a brilliant exercise for the core as it doesn’t just involve the abs but also requires you to train your obliques – the muscles that frame the abs and which give you a great, detailed looking core.
Mountain climbers are great to finish on. Here, you will be in a squat thrust stance and will then bring each leg up one at a time in a jumping motion so that your knee comes up under your chest. These are great because they provide an ab workout while also burning fat as a form of CV. They also bring in some of the benefits of a plank.
You can get a great burn using these exercises in as little as 20 minutes. And guess what? You can use this routine multiple times a week without needing to recover for long periods. That’s how you train abs…