The old saying that abs are created in the kitchen is only HALF of the equation. Just like any other muscle group, if you want abs that POP…you need to train them and not with just floor crunches.
So, here are my top THREE Hacks to help you build a well-defined six pack!
Hack #1 - Understand How The Abs Work
Your core is a complex group of muscles that have more than one function. They don’t just help you flex your torso. They're also responsible for bending, twisting, resisting bending & twisting, resisting extension, as well as keeping your spine stable.
So, if all you're doing for abs training is crunches, we’ve got some work to do. Try adding in exercises like Woodchoppers, Ab Pulldowns, Bicycle Crunches, Side Bends and Knee Raises to your abs training.
Also, add weight or resistance whenever you can. Your abs are strong and recover fast, so don’t be afraid to really push yourselves.
Hack #2 – Get Your Breathing Under Control
Breathing “in” or “out” at the wrong time can really mess with your abs training. When you squat or deadlift I’ve told you to take IN a breath before each rep and hold it the entire time to BRACE your core.
Well, we want to do the opposite here. The entire point of “bracing” your core during a Squat or Deadlift is so that you don’t fall into spinal flexion.
But to train your ABS, we need extension AND flexion to maximize how hard we’re training with every rep.
So with that in mind, I want you to EXHALE on every repetition regardless of the ab exercise you're doing and INHALE during the extension. I’d also like you to take it one step further and try to FLEX your abs as you crunch as well. This technique alone will take your training to a whole new level.
Hack #3 – ADD MORE VOLUME To Your ABS Training
This hack will be great for those of you who tend to “skip out” on your ABS training at the end of your workouts.
This is because the cool thing about ABS is that unless you’re doing an exercise that requires a lot of core control like Squats, Deadlifts, Bent-Over Rows, or a Military Press, you can easily superset ABS with the other exercises in your workout.
For example, let’s say you are training your BICEPS with Arm Curls. Instead of just resting for 90 seconds doing nothing, drop to the floor and hit a set of sit-ups or maybe even do some hanging knee raises. Something is better than nothing and if you KNOW you’re going to “skip”…then super-setting is a much better choice.
I’d also recommend training with higher sets and reps. For example, instead of a traditional 3 sets of 8 reps split, think bigger. Adopt something more along the lines of 5 sets of 20 to 25 reps to REALLY feel the abs burn.
But more volume doesn't necessarily mean more sets and reps for a specific workout DAY. It could also mean more sets across your entire week. For a lot of you, having just two ABS exercises at the end of your workout a few times a week is all you’ll need to make a difference in finally being able to see your abs POP.
Personally, I like to alternate my days where DAY 1 is focused more on the entire rectus abdominus (so exercises that place emphasis on the upper and lower abs) and DAY 2 is focused more on obliques and lower abs. Then, I repeat the same thing for days 3 and 4.