Ultimate “Six Pack” Abs Workout
by IFBB Pro Joe Palumbo
There is a tremendous amount of gimmicks and false advertising on “how to flatten your belly”, “Abs in thirty day” “one minute abs training” or the “Ab machine of the future.” They all have two things in common. First, they all promise you the look of the six pack abs and secondly, THEY DON”T WORK!
The abdominal, the six-pack, the washboard… what ever you want to call them, we all know… they stand out! It is a worldwide look that brings envy. Abdominal are the first thing seen; there magic gives you the appearance of a fit, healthy, strong and sexy body. When the winter coat comes off and the swim suit is near, you want the perfect abs. Following a clean diet and the correct exercise you’ll have a body worth unwrapping. So let’s get some background and take in depths look at how the abdominals work and what you can do to achieve what everyone wants. The abdominal muscles are one of the key components of a muscular network providing the strength to keep the body upright and for movement. Your ABS are constantly at work unlike other body parts that have days off from training, your abdominal hardly rest, these muscle are being exercised in everyday life. Whether you’re training or conducting any physical activity, you rely on a strong midsection(CORE) for sustained intra abdominal pressure. Strong stomach muscles attained through abdominal exercise and back exercise reduce the likelihood of back pain and provide protection against injury by responding efficiently to stresses. For years the health industries have been telling people to strengthen their abdominal to prevent lower back pain. In today’s world of quick fixes and misleading gimmicks the media has not been introducing the proper or even realistic way to train the abdominal to achieve the goal of a strong midsection.
In this article I will start at the foundation and break down the abdominal section into four main muscles groups. I will explain their importance and how to properly train them. If you want great abdominals and have the determination…I am giving you all the information you need.
UPPER AND LOWER- Reverse Crunches and Machine or Pulley Reverse Crunch
LOWER- Hanging Leg Raises or Flat Bench Leg Raises
SIDES- One Arm Cable Crunch and Rotate Trunk Twist Crunch
For each of the following exercise, perform 2 set with 20 to 30 reps
RECTUS ABDOMINIS MUSCLE
This muscle group is composed of upper and lower abdominis. This is the large muscle in the front of the abdomen; it supports the muscles of the spine while lifting. The rectus abdominis is often described as the wash board abs. Properly developed it will give the illusion of the “six Pack”.
Abdominal muscle diagonally arranged on either side of the torso. This muscle is composed of 3 layers; internal, transverse and external oblique. Together, the muscles contract to tilt the torso and twist from side to side. These muscles need to be trained in order to maintain ideal postural alignment.
This muscle lies between the ribs and shows as a band of muscle angling downward on the sides of the rib cage. The intercostal muscles assist the body in a twist movement.
SERRATUS ANTERIOR MUSCLES
A muscle that originates on the surface of the 1st to 8th ribs at the side of the chest and inserts along the entire anterior length of the medial border of the scapula. They appear on the abdominal like fingers running down the side of your abs.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) commissioned exclusive research from experts at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse to evaluate the effectiveness of the most popular equipment and exercises compared to the traditional crunch. “We spent a considerable amount of money on abdominal exercise equipment to basically show that you can effectively train the ABS at home for free,” said Edward Stenger, M.S., who led the research team alongside John Porcari, Ph.D. “Everything else is arguably a waste of money from this standpoint.” * Research Commissioned by the American Council on Exercise Incorporates Ab Circle Pro, Ab Roller, Ab Lounge, Perfect Sit-Up, Ab Wheel and More https://www.acefitness.org/about-ace/press-room/4828/new-study-proves-traditional-crunch-still/
The traditional Ab crunch is the best choice to hit the upper rectus abdominis muscle, to train the entire muscle you need to manipulate the crunch by doing reverse crunches (bring your knees to your chest) to effect the lower rectus abdominis. The oblique assist in forward flexion, but to get the true six pack “look” you need to go farther by adding a rotation / twist movement. Abs should be trained slow and deliberate with concentration and flexing (squeezing) the area.
Here is a sample of my Gut-Wrenching Ab routine. I work the abdominals 3-days a week in a sequence, starting with the upper Portion of the Abs, then the lower region and finish up with the side of the abs.
UPPER ABDOMINAL- Floor Crunches and Decline Sit Ups Crunches (knee bent)
Lie on the floor, knees bent, (I prefer to rest my leg on a bench) hands crossed over chest, or over your ears and crunch up. Hold and squeeze count to 3 and breath.
Sitting at the end of a bench, holding the sides, knees bent and feet slightly raised from the floor, upper body very slightly leaning back. Slowly bring legs up to the chest squeeze and hold for a count of 3 and breath.
HANGING LEG RAISES
Hang on a chinning bar/ or use a leg raise machine, bend your legs about 15 degrees keep them bent and relaxed! Use your abdominal muscles to raise your legs upward until they are level with your hips, hold for a count of 3 and breathe. If you do not have a chinning bar the same can be accomplish be lying flat on a bench, buttock, near the edge, holding the sides, knees very slightly bent and bring the legs upward, not to high, Just enough to feel a continuance (uninterrupted) resistance.
ONE ARM CABLE CRUNCH
Stand with your feet slightly apart and your right side next to the machine. Hold onto the handle with your right hand and pull down slowly by leaning your upper body to the right. Lean as far as you can or until your elbow reaches your side. Slowly return to an upright position. Turn around and repeat with your left side.
The most effective action toward achieving ripped abs is to clean up your diet. When it comes to your abs, training can only get you so far. You need a smart meal plan to lower your body fat percentage and uncover your abs; otherwise, all the hard work in the gym goes down the drain. Stays fit, have fun and enjoy your upcoming “six pack”.
Director of physical performance InfiniteLabs
IFBB Professional Bodybuilder
Advance Sports Nutrition Specialist (ASNS)
Certified Navy Seal fitness Instructor
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