We see it and hear it everywhere and everyday and often can't escape it. From the Internet, to magazines, in the gym and even on the beach. Time to time, we see a man or a women with a six-pack on his/her stomach and we catch ourselves looking down at our own stomaches and saying, "I would like to have a six-pack too, i just don't even know where to start.'' This is often a myth, and typically not true, because we are regularly bombard with information about proper workout techquines and routines and saturated about eating and nutrition. So, it's up to us to filter out what will work best in our day to day life style while ensuring an effective transformation. This article's main focus is about proper workout routines, but we cannot forget that we will never see the six-pack on our body that we desire without ''clean'' eating practices. Frequently, we hear that abs are usually made in the kitchen and that 70% comes from successful nutrition habits. While this may be true, we must also understand that one doesn't work without the other, you must also have a proper workout regimen for your abdominal muscles, where you can maximize in achieving the best results.
The abdominal muscles (lat. Musculi abdominis) are located on the front of the trunk and form the abdominal wall. In addition, these muscles support the guts, assist in exhalation, in a one-sided contraction they induce a bow to their side, or a rotation of the torso.
Basic rules for Abdominal (Abs) workout
Breathing: The general rule of breathing in an exercise says that ''I'' exhale when I overcome the load or, in other words, in the contraction of the muscle. In this case, it is when we push our head to our feet or our feet to our head. The most important thing to remember is when we exhale more in the contraction phase, the more abdominal muscles become tighter, which requires increased energy and at the same time, there is more muscle fever in the practiced muscles. This is, of course, needed in achieveing the goal of weight loss or muscle gain.
Example – Jackknife Sit-Up
Exercises for the upper abs
In the beginning I will say that it is not possible to completely isolate the upper and lower abdominal muscles. However, there is a rule where most of the work moves to one or the other part. Primary we load the upper part of the abdominal muscles when we pull our head to the feet. It is ideal if the legs are without fixation. Of course, beginners need to support their legs, because so much of the work is taken over by the so-called ''foot support'' and abdominal exercise is then easier. These are classic sit-up crunches, jackknife sit-ups. These exercises have several alternatives.
Exercises for the lower abs
We load the muscles of the lower abdomen when we pull our legs to the head. We can do these exercises lying down on the ground or hanging on the horizontal bar.
Exercises for oblique abdominal muscles: This is a rotary torso exercise or sideways bow. From my point of view, I do not see the need to concentrate on these exercises to the extent that we exercise these muscles well with classical exercises. Very often I see people practicing these exercises in a gym with a weight. In the next section of the article, we'll examine the right and wrong methods in doing this type of exercise.
And here it is! Everyone wants to have a narrow waist and an hourglass figure. As every day I see in a gym, but most of the time, women practice a million exercises on oblique abdominal muscles, thinking that it will narrow their waist. This is the biggest mistake I´ve ever seen most of the time at the gym. It should be noted that the width of the waist is given genetically and is mainly based on the width of the pelvic bone and the width of the ribcage, more precisely the shape of the lower ribs. You won't be able to do anything about it and that's a fact! Only if you will always wear a tightening corset and will gradually deform so that your guts will go to another part of the hull as they were originally. Perhaps I do not have to write down the health risks. Please do not take it as a guide, it is certainly not the way, the frequent wearing of corset weakens skeletal muscles and other stabilizers and this can lead to a serious problems.
Waist width is determined by genetic and subcutaneous fat
The most common exercises that people practice, thinking that it will help them narrow the waist are different kinds of bowing movements, moving side to side, either with a dumbbell or with a kettlebell in hand. Often, I also see practicing side bows on hyperextension or low cable. There are weighted rotation exercises, mostly with a barbell on the neck, or cable rotation with straight hands.
All of these exercises have one thing in common, they are using weights. It is important to realize that oblique abdominal muscles, which we practice regularly, will eventually grow this will cause the wide waist. So, we're doing it over and over again. It's not possible that everyone does it and it is not working. You're right IT DOES NOT WORK!!! These exercises make sense to practice as a addition exercise for golf players, hockey players, tennis players, etc., but the waist certainly won't make it any better.
So, if you want to narrow your waist, concentrate on right practicing your abs with workout your abdominal muscle, wide back muscle and doing regular butt workout. This combination will certainly help us to narrow the waist visually. And of course, we do not forget ... diet, diet, diet, one without the other does not work.
Abdominal muscles just like biceps, triceps, quadriceps, etc., are similiar muscles, and when we want them to grow, we need to exhaust them first and then provide the necessary nutrition supplements and time to regeneration. It is very important not to over train your abdominal muscles, because then we will start having problems with lower back pain. For more information how it works and how to properly approach abdominal workout, see article How often train ABS.
ABS workout Machines Yes or No?
I am not a fan of abs machines at all, because I have not yet seen a machine for abs workout where the legs are without support. And that's exactly what I'm talking about at the beginning. So, I would recommend these abs workouts only for beginners, while it does not amplify a little and will not be able to practice classic exercises like Sit-up crunches etc.
Which exercises are the best?
The abs workout should consist of three exercises. One exercise at the top and bottom of the straight abdominal muscle and one additional exercise of the oblique abdominal muscles. Certainly,we do not need more and if we are not able to exercise three abs muscles enough, somewhere we make a mistake.
You workout each exercise in three series ranging from 10 to 20 reps. All depends on what performance and goal we have.
These three exercises can be practiced individually one by one, or later in the supersets, and the rest between the series can be gradually reduced. Over time, we should be able to train 3 supersets without a break, which will not take us in the finals for 3-4 minutes. Workout your abs for 20-30 minutes is a complete waste of time. This workout is not effective and do not be surprised when results are not coming.
If we accidentally get cramps in the abdomen, don't stop, continue in your workout. From my experience I know that the abdominal cramps will pass after a while and we can complete the prescribed workout.
How to set-up your workout?
Focus: the top of the abdominal muscle.
Sit-Up Crunches: From my point of view, this is the most basic and effective abdominal exercise. We are able to add various alternatives to it and increase the difficulty of the exercise.
Beginners need to have their feet supported, as they are usually unable to sit from laying without support. I recommend placing a firm foot, fix with a barbell,dumbbells, or a weight plate, and gradually removing the weights until we are able to exercise without leg support. Another way we can help with this exercise is to swing our hands forward while getting up from a lying position. We can use this at any time when we have abdominal muscles exhausted and we want to add a few extra reps.
If we can handle this exercise, we can add the torso rotation to the side in the upper position (sitting position). We rotate once to the right, once to the left. Later, we can rotate in the upper position to both sides in each repetition, adding again to the difficulty of the exercise.
Many people say they do not practice sit-up crunches because their back hurts. There are several reasons:
1. Back pain when exercise technique is really bad. In the upper position it is necessary to bend the back - to bend forward, then abdominal muscles contract and take the majority work while moving. If the back is straight Abdominal muscles works minimal and the lower back is overloaded.
2. The technique is good, but we practice abdominal muscles too often and we often get them over trained. Muscles of the lower back takes over holding of the torso, gradually overloading and hurting the back.
3. The abdominal muscles are too weak. The same idea, our back takes all work. There is no other way to strengthen your abdominal muscles with regular workout and your back pain will go away.
Crunches: It's basically sit-ups, we just have our legs lifted off the ground. This will move the body's center of gravity closer to the head, making the exercise more difficult. We have our knees bent at 90% angle or put our legs on a bench. Another option is to keep straight legs in 90% angle to the ground, then we try to touch our toes with our hands.
Standing Cable Crunch: This is a very popular exercise for those who are not able to do classic sit ups. We put weight on the cable to handle the movement in good technique. Just to remind you, the back should be bent at the final position of the exercise to make the abdominal muscles contract better. This exercise can be done kneeling or standing.
Jackknife Sit Up: The technique to this exercise can be quite challenging. Compared to previous exercises, we integrate the whole abdominal muscles at one time, as we lift the upper torso and legs at the same time. Sometimes it takes a while to synchronize the movements, but I consider this exercise to be a royal exercise and it is worth it. Eventually, we can add medicineballs to the workout, which we move from our hands to feet and back.
Focus: The lower part of the abdominal muscle.
Leg raise: We are lying on the ground or on a bench. Hands are over head! Many people put their hands next to their bodies and lean against the floor, helping to exercise with back muscles and triceps. However, we practice the abdomen, so the hands are behind the head. The head is lifted slightly, and the view is directed towards the abs, which slightly bends the back and presses the back against the ground. This will turn off the lower back and transfer the bulk of the work to the abdominal muscles. Always exhale when lifting your feet up. Beginners can have their knees bent, but over time they need to try to do these exercises with straight legs. This also applies to all other exercises in this category.
Bench Leg Pull-in: This is a bit harder compared to the classic lying the feet on the ground position, because we need to balance a stable sitting position. As a result, we stretch the abdominal muscles more intensively throughout the exercise. An even more difficult alternative to this exercise is sitting on the ground, where we cannot have legs lowered below the bench level and the center of gravity is shifted slightly higher to the upper torso.
Leg Raise Chair: This is a very popular exercise for lower abdominal muscles. The torso is fixed and leaning back against the backrest. Beginners can lift their knees or bend their legs, which greatly reduces the difficulty of exercise. Advanced people practice this exercise with straight legs, or they can add ankle weights to their feet, or take a dumbbell between their legs.
Hanging Leg Raise: It's probably the hardest exercise in this category. We must pay attention to the technique of the exercise. In the lower position, fix legs in a 90% angle to the ground, so that we do not swing, because our body is not leaned. As with the previous exercise, beginners can lift their knees or bend their legs, which greatly reduces the difficulty of exercise.
Focus: oblique abdominal muscles.
I have already discussed this topic above. I consider it very important not to practice exercises as it can extend the waist optically and physically over time! In these exercises, breathing is very important to exploit their potential. We always exhale in the extreme position of the exercise when turned to the side.
Bicycle: It is also a well-known exercise, yet I often see it preformed wrong. The important thing about this exercise is that the back is laid on the ground for the duration of the exercise. The torso is turning to the side with the legs, where we try to touch the knee with the opposite side.
Windmill: We are lying on the ground and our hands are straight for stability. We lift our legs in 90% angle to the ground and lean their sides alternately. Beginners can have their knees bent, which makes the exercise less difficult.
Weighted twist: We sit on the ground and our feet are slightly bent and laid on the floor. Take a plate, medicineball, or kettlebell. We sit straight and with slightly bended back. We move with the weights from side to side, always exhaling in the side rotation position. You do not need to use heavy weights, you should concentrate on proper breathing.
Examples of abdominal training according to difficulty
Level 1: Abdominal workout for Beginners:
1. Sit-up crunches with foot support 4 series 10 - 15 reps
2. Leg raise bend knees 4 series 10 - 15 reps
Level 2: Intermediate abdominal workout:
1. Sit-up Crunches 3 series 15 reps
2. Leg raise 3 series of 15 reps
3. Windmill 3 Series 20 Reps
Level 3: Advanced abdominal workout:
1. Cross Sit-up Crunches 15 reps
2. Leg Raise Chair 15 reps
3. Bicycle 20 reps
Level 4: More advanced abdominal workout:
1. Jackknife Sit Up 15 reps
2. Hanging Leg raise15 reps
3. Weighted twist 15 reps
Level 5: Abdominal workout for the professionals:
1. Medicineball V-Up - 15 reps (counting reps when medicimbal is in hand)
2. Fitball Leg raise Candlestick - 15 reps
3. Plank - 1 min
6 Pack Special
Special program for abdominal exercise. You have the option to set your own workout or leave it to the program and it will select the exercises according to the present difficulty. Exercises included in the workout are gradually changing based on a precisely determined sequence, and you can look forward to what new abdominal workout your program has prepared for you. The system works with a gallery of 70 exercises that accurately describes the technique, image gallery and instructional video with the right and wrong technique.
To access the program, you must complete the registration process into the Workoutic Training System. Expect from your ABS workout, you can also see recommended meals and a complete workout plan for your whole-body. Sign Up!