If you are looking to build more visible and blocky abs, then is time to boost the intensity of your abdominal workouts! Anyone can drop their bodyfat percentage to begin to see abs. But if you want them to really pop-out, you need to train them like you would any other muscle group in your body.
What are the basics of building muscle?
Aside from a proper meal plan, you need to train with high volume and apply a progressive overload to your sets. Typically when trying to focus on high volume for muscle growth, you should aim to complete three to four sets per exercise with around twelve to fifteen reps per set for a total of twelve to fifteen working sets per muscle group.
Working sets refer to the TOTAL amount of sets you complete with all your exercises. For example, if you perform three exercises with four sets per exercise that would be a total of twelve working sets.
Keep in mind that there are many ways to achieve muscle growth and these numbers are not set in stone. However, a program with a basis such as this is a great place to start.
Progressive overload refers to adding more resistance to each set you complete. This will make your muscles work harder with each set and thus will result in your body having to adapt by getting bigger and stronger.
How to structure your abdominal workouts.
Frequency: Train your abs four times a week.
- Day 1: Rectus Abdominis
- Day 2: Obliques
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Repeat Day 1
- Day 5: Repeat Day 2
Intensity: Apply maximum resistance while progressively overloading each set.
- 4 sets per exercise
- 12 – 15 reps per set
- Rest 60 – 90 seconds between sets / exercises
Days One & Four- Rectus Abdominis
On days one & four you will focus on training your rectus abdominis. Below are six of my favorite exercises. You can choose to perform your own exercises, just make sure that they are intense enough to maximize your efforts in the twelve to fifteen rep range.
Although many believe that you cannot target your upper or lower abs because the rectus abdominis is one solid muscle. I respectfully disagree. I always include at least one exercise that involves a leg-lift of some sort on days one & four. In my experience these types of exercises greatly fatigue the lower portion of the rectus abdominis thus leading me to believe that they do in fact target the lower abs more than the upper. I suggest you include a leg-lift on your day one & four abdominal workouts to maximize your gains.
Choose Three Exercises: Days One & Four
- Ab Pulldown
- Dumbbell Hanging Knee-Raise
- Ball Passes
- Medicine Ball Floor Crunch
- Dumbbell Toe-Touch Crunch
- Ball Crunch with Plate
Days Two & Five- Obliques
On days two & five you will focus on training your obliques. Below are four of my favorite oblique exercises and I would like for you to choose two for your workout. Above we discussed a total of twelve to fifteen total working sets each day. With that in mind I would like you to incorporate a variation of the leg-lift as your third exercise and I will provide links to some examples below as well.
Choose Two Exercises: Days Two & Five- Obliques
- Standing Oblique Crunch
- Alternating Floor Oblique Twist w/ Weight
- Standing Oblique Twist With Dumbbells
- Leg-Lift Version 1
- Leg-Lift Version 2
- Advanced Leg-Lift Version 1
- Advanced Leg-Lift Version 2
- Hanging Leg-Lift
Keep in mind that even though you may utilize this information to build blocky abs, they will not be 100% visible until you drop your bodyfat percentage to around 12% - 15% or lower. The lower the bodyfat, the more visible your abs will be. Combine that with this workout to build muscle and you will have abs that really pop out in no time!
If you do not have access to some of these exercises you can still achieve great results with bodyweight exercises. Utilize a TEMPO such as a 2 – 2 – 4 to increase the intensity. Or, look for things around your house or gym that could be used as added weight to help simulate some of the movements. #HTH #SHFAthlete
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