incline sit-ups are best
Use partial incline sit-ups to form the basis of your routine. This
is the most basic of abdominal motions and stresses the bulk of central
muscle of the abdomen, called the rectus abdominus, with an emphasis
on the lower area. I favor a partial incline bench as opposed to an
incline board because bench slants tend to be more natural in angle
and structurally forgiving. The result is less strain on the lower
Use moderate repetitions
Following the popular edict " more is better", some people
go crazy with repetitions, doing dozens, even hundreds. The edict
that really applies is "the law of diminishing returns."
After a certain point, you stop stimulating and start annihilating.
Overuse of these in such sequence can actually lead to overtraining
and injuries. Abdominals do require a slightly higher repetition scheme
than your average body part. However, keep your repetitions to fewer
than 25, while increasing the level of difficulty with added resistance
or a steeper angle.
While twisting motions might seem like a great way to warm up or start
your ab routine, they are actually dangerous and of little benefit.
For example, holding a stick across your back and twisting is a good
way to exposed the lumbar spine region of your lower back to disc
injury. If you favor slight rotations from a sit-up or crunch position
to emphasis the upper sides of the abdominals, this in no way represents
a twist in the true sense.
The abdominal muscles, like other muscles, will hypertrophy and grow
with the stimulus of the resistance training. Since our society covets
small waist, if that's your goal, you must be careful not to overdevelop
abdominal muscles that widen the waist. In particular, these are the
muscles of the external obliques located in the lower outer abdominal
Focus on the lower abdomen
Building the upper abs is relatively since almost every ab motion
utilizes a contraction of the upper region to at least initiate the
exercise. Most motions work the upper abs to the neglect of the lower
abs, while even exclusive training of the lower abs still results
in impressive upper abs development. In addition, poor tone in the
lower abdominal region is perhaps most attributable to that unattractive
bulging and distention below the belt-line. Abdomen and hip flexor
movements (leg raises and lower ab machines) work best.
on diet, not exercise alone
Don't believe what uneducated trainers say; you simply cannot "spot
While building up your abs with exercise does not make them more prominent,
exercising them does not remove fat from the overlying surface. You
must combine dietary restriction and healthy nutrient balance to bring
out that washboard look.
a slow descent.
Your descent should be slow and controlled. Lowering the weight and
lengthening the muscle is called the "accentric motion,"
while raising the weight and shortening the muscle is the "concentric
motion." In the case of the abdominals, you should attempt to
maintain an overall slower descent, or accentric motion, relatively
to your brisker positive or concentric motion. This is key when attempting
to dig deep into the fibers of the abs and really sculpt them.
Don't do forced repetitions or forced negatives
There as been an increasing number of naïve young lifters in
gyms trying to apply these advanced training principles to their abdominal
workouts. There is no added benefit to doing these and it's a surefire
way to get hurt.
Train your abs with more intensity but less frequency
Overzealous fitness freaks train abs every day. They forget that the
abdominal are just like other muscles; they need rest to recuperate
and improve. Although the abs can and should be exposed to a bit more
frequency in terms of the number of times you train them in a week
(compared to the other body parts), training them more two or three
times a week is excessive.
Whenever possible, get a partner to train abs with
Abs can be the one body part for which training gets a little monotonous.
The repetition scheme is higher, training frequency is greater, and
you use very little or no resistance. Your effort and intensity level
can naturally get a little flat. Avoid this by grabbing a partner
to run through your workout with you. It's more fun and a healthy
competition between you and your partner can boost your intensity.