You’ve read our article on getting abs and with your diet under control now you’re starting to strip away the fat and those abs are peeking through.
But now also you’re wondering what exercises you need to do in order to really make them pop and stand out more right?
Abs are made in the kitchen, remember, you need to remove the fat covering them, to be able to see them, but they’re still muscles, which means they can be trained like all other muscles in the body.
If you’d like to know what exercises you should be doing to take your Ab game to the next level, read on.
The Core and Six-Pack ABs
When people think of the core they often think of the six-pack muscles and leave it at that, however, there’s much more going on.
Those six-pack muscles, actually called the Rectus Abdominis, are the ones you can see and so they’re the ones that get all of the attention, however, the key to building a strong core is working all parts of the core muscles.
The core has a very complex network of muscles, including as many as 35 different muscle groups that connect all over the body, from the hips to the back and traveling all around the body.
While you don’t need to know about them all, there are 4 distinct groups that you need to know about to help you with your training.
Commonly referred to as the abdominal muscles, the Rectus Abdominis are the six-pack muscles that run down the front of the torso.
The obliques run down the sides of your body and help you to twist and turn. The Deep core muscles include the Transverse Abdominis, the Multifidus,and the Pelvic Floorand they work together for a few different reasons, including to aide core stability, stabilize the lower back and pelvis and protect the spine.
The Erector Spinae
These run along either side of the vertebral column and help to straighten the back and provide side to side rotation. With these muscles in mind, let’s look at the best exercises to actually train your core and help you to get rock hard abs.
Hanging Leg Raise
A great move for targeting the lower abdominals, the hanging leg raise is a fantastic move to really make the abs pop, an added bonus is how many different variations there are for this exercise which really does make it one of the best moves you can do. You can hang from a bar or put your arms in stirrups, you can raise your feet or bring the knees up, you may even want to go the Crossfit route and get your toes to the bar or try windshield wipers, but whichever way you do it, one thing is for sure, your abs will feel it after a set of these.
Working the deep core muscles such as the Transverse Abdominals and the Multifidus, as well as the actual six-pack muscles (Rectus Abdominus) the Ab Rollout is a very challenging core exercise that gets great results. Performed with an Ab Wheel or a loaded barbell, the Ab Rollout works the whole body as your shoulders, Lats, Triceps, and Hips are challenged.
Loaded Russian Twist
Predominantly working the Obliques the Russian twist is one of the best ways to not only wok your obliques but also strengthen your core as a whole and improve your rotational strength.
Strong obliques help you to completely develop your core, filling out your look, but they also help to protect the lower back as the obliques can take some of the strain of supporting your body.
The cable crunch is a fantastic way of working the Rectus Abdominis and adding weight to the movement as you do it. If done correctly, you’ll feel this one working immediately and you’ll feel the benefits for days to come.
Now recognized as one of the most effective total ab workouts going, the exercise-ball pike works the full range of the rectus abdominis and the obliques, ensuring you feel it everywhere. From balancing on the ball to completing all your reps, this is one move that will test you throughout.
A traditional deadlift is a full-body exercise that places great emphasis on multiple muscle groups and also works the Erector Spinae. The core as a whole has to work incredibly hard throughout the lift and as a result, it benefits greatly from such an intense move.
If you’re not already including deadlifts in your routine, you should be, but if you are, you’re on your way to strengthening your core and feeling the benefits whilst working everywhere else In your body, a very productive way to train.
Similar to the deadlift, the barbell back squat is a compound movement that places great emphasis on the core. Standing, moving and generally being able to stabilize yourself with all that weight on your back is no easy feat, meaning your core has to work incredibly hard so that you can maintain your balance and not fall over. Just like the deadlift, squatting should be in your routine anyway and is another great way to train your whole body, while still targeting the core, working the deeper core muscles.
Building a six-pack is hard but you don’t need to make it harder by doing the wrong things or wasting time with sit-ups and crunches.
With the right program, you can make sure that when summer season rolls around you have the type of eye-catching physique that turns heads and inspires jealousy, feeling even better about yourself because you know you did it the right way.
With the exercises above you have a great starting point and with consistency and hard work, you’ll be able to see results in no time at all.