If there's one muscle we all want to show then it would be a six pack right? The toned middle section of the body tells the world that you are one of the few elite, the best of the best. for most people it is at the top of the wish list when it comes to changing looks. With so much information available online, every magazine cover, TV and celebrities claiming to have discovered the best exercises for burning fat and building abs you would expect everyone to walk around proudly showing them off. Yet wherever I turn I see people in chairs, complaining of back pain and finishing their last bite of fast food.
And how do you achieve a sculpted middle region? A brief overview of the abdominal muscles will give you a better idea of what you are actually doing.
In addition to looking good, the reason you should have a strong torso and abdominal wall is to maximize their impact during exercise and minimize the impact of hip flexors. Those who do not train the abdominal wall regularly have a muscle imbalance between weak abdominal muscles and stronger hip flexors during torso stretching movements such as squats, leg presses, and deadlifts. This can cause the back to bend, which leads to injuries and back pain.
Myths about the six pack
A common mistake with abdominal training that I see people do all the time is that people think that side tilts do their oblique and tighten the side of the abdominal wall but that is not the case. There is a deeper spinal muscle that is activated when you do this exercise and it takes over the activity from the abdominal muscles. Most people say that they "feel" this exercise in the abdominal wall, but the inflammation they feel is actually the result of too much stretching of this spinal muscle.
Another misconception is that abs are divided into upper and lower and that some can be isolated more than others. However, it is impossible to activate one section independently of another. What you actually feel when you do sit-ups is greater muscle involvement in the upper or lower region, depending on whether you are lifting your torso or pelvis.
Perhaps one of the most commonly misunderstood areas when it comes to abdominal wall training is that if you focus on abdominal training you can get rid of fat from that area. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but this is simply not true. To reduce fat deposits in any area, be it the abdomen, arms, legs or buttocks, you will need to work on reducing the total level of fat in your body through a cleaner diet and exercise to burn more calories than you consume.
If at this point you are wondering if it is possible to build a six pack at all, be sure that it is. Below I have listed the most effective means of abdominal training.
The most common mistake I see when it comes to abdominal training is that people go high when they lift. Abdominals actually bend the spine only in the first 30 to 45 degrees of movement, which is more or less like lifting your shoulders off the floor. As the abs have a small range of motion, more repetitions and volume are needed in their training.
How often should the abdominal muscles be worked?
You need to train them for at least 3-5 days if you really want to develop an impressive six pack. Unlike other muscles, abdominal muscles rarely get tired to the point that they need a day off.
You will see better results if you focus on technique than on being overweight. Every repetition is important, focus on every contraction.
Among all the machines that have been thrown out in the last couple of years, one of the most effective abdominal exercises is still crunch. This is due to adaptation to stimuli.If you keep doing the same routine, it becomes inefficient. The key thing is diversity. I have listed some variations below that will help you stimulate your abdominal muscles and ensure progress.
1. Rotate the exercises.
2. Change the number of sets and repetitions.
3. Change the number of exercises.
4. Add resistance to change the type of contraction.
5. Change the pace of your exercise.
Do you feel back pain while exercising?
The main abdominal muscles when it comes to preventing lower back pain should be the internal oblique. These strong muscles are connected to the erector of the spine and help to better support the spine.
To work your abdominal muscles effectively, you need to choose from 4 to 8 exercises that combine flexion, rotation and lateral flexion. Change your workout every 2-3 weeks so your body can't get used to it and stagnate.
Perform 12-15+ reps per exercise adding load only when you need to so as not to sacrifice quality of movement.
Many train with music but try not to be dictated by the pace of your exercise. Slow and controlled repetitions will help you imagine your abdominal muscles tightening with each exercise, giving better results. To get the most out of your workout you need to focus on 3 things.
Breathing. If you do not exhale completely with each repetition, the abdominal muscles cannot fully contract.
Recovery. As the abdominal muscles can recover in a few seconds, your training routine should be continuous without rest, doing one exercise after another until you are completely exhausted.
Lower first. By doing the lower abdominal region first with an exercise such as a hanging knee raise or inverted crunch they tighten by stabilizing the rest of the body, engaging the upper abdominal muscles and oblique to assist with movement. Do the exercise for the lower abdomen until failure, then immediately move to the lateral abdomen with the movement of the rotation of the torso and then to the upper abdominal muscles.
Below is a training routine that helped me win the WBFF World Fitness Title last year. I run it twice a day 5 days a week during the last month before the competition, after my morning cardio session.
1.Hanging knee raise - 30 reps
2. Reverse crunch on a counter-sloping bench - 20 reps
3. Rotation of the body on the ball - 20 repetitions on each side
4. One-handed crunch on cables - 30 repetitions each side
5. Sitting torso rotation with a flat bar - 50 repetitions
6. Upper reel crunch - 30 reps
7. Crunch - 30 reps
Although abs are a weak point for most people, the knowledge and tools you now have will hopefully give you a better understanding of how to create a abdominal wall workout. Remember that the amount of rest you take between sets should be just enough to change the exercise and that continuous movement and variety are key to making progress. Don’t be explicit when it comes to the number of repetitions. Instead, focus on breathing and contracting your muscles when starting and ending your movements. Simply perform each movement of each exercise until you are able to force no more repetitions!.