Weight Lifting: Abs – Core Training Exercises For Six Pack Abs

six pack absAbdominals are usually ignored, since their appearance depends on your diet rather than workouts. However, it’s important to focus on them when you’re lifting weights for mass gain.

Your goal should be to get strong abs as they help support the compound exercises that are essential to help build lean muscle mass quickly. And when you reach the cutting phase of your weight training program, you will be rewarded by the appearance of your abdominals. So remember to spend time on your abs in order to get the best results for your whole body.

If you’ve ever seen TV infomercials hyping up the latest and greatest abs building product, where all you have to do is use it for a few minutes every day and in no time at all you’ll have totally ripped abs, you’re not alone. Lots of people want to know the secret to a firm, ripped waist which is why you see all these “miracle” abs products advertised. However, these products very rarely work the way they’re supposed to and if you buy one, you’ll probably waste your money.

To get awesome, washboard abs, there is a “secret”. But it has nothing to do with late night infomercials. Your abdominals need to be trained using the same principles as your other muscle groups.

But before you start focusing on abdominals training, you need to be aware of one thing. An important point to remember is that you need to have a low body fat percentage in order to have totally ripped, washboard abs. In other words, if you can “pinch an inch” of body fat on your stomach, there is no way you’ll be able to see your abs, despite doing intense workouts. You may have a 6 pack underneath that fat, but nobody will able to see it!

The Major Abdominal Muscles You Should Concentrate On In Your Workouts


abdominal muscles diagram

  • Rectus Abdominals - This is one of the most important abdominal muscles. It’s a flat, long muscle that runs down your body between the pubis bone and the fifth, sixth, and seventh ribs. The middle of it is separated and it has three more parallel separations that gives this muscle its ripped, corrugated effect in athletes who are extremely fit with low body fat. The rectus abdominals helps to stretch the spine, narrowing the area between the ribcage and the pelvis. This muscle functions when you bend from side to side and helps support the torso during movements involving the head and hands and feet. All abdominal exercises will thoroughly work the rectus abdominis.
  • External Obliques - This is a pair of abdominal muscles that are situated just above the internal obliques. The external obliques flow in a V pattern whereas the internal obliques flow in a reverse V position from the base of the ribs to the beginning of the pelvis. Exercises for external obliques: The obliques are used during all abdominal workouts but those exercises that involve the circumrotation of the abdomen will intensify the effect of the exercises on the obliques. Turning to the right will focus on the left external oblique while turning the to the left will focus on the right external oblique.
  • Internal Obliques - this is a pair of deeper muscles that are situated just below the external obliques. Both pairs of obliques are located at right angles to each other. Exercises for internal obliques: As with the external obliques, all abdominal workouts involve the use of the internal obliques to some degree. However, since internal obliques flow in a different direction to the external obliques, that means that turning to the right will focus on the right internal oblique, and turning to the left will focus on the left internal oblique.

Exercises For Six Pack Abs:

Below is a list of the three best abdominal exercises. Of course there are many more than this but the truth is you DON’T need fancy gym equipment or ridiculous gizmos to get a set of washboard abs. All you need is a few of the most effective exercises to work your core hard. And these are the ones I recommend.

Simply click on one of the ab exercises below to see how it’s performed:

Crunches

Mechanics Type: Isolation

Primary Mover: Abdominals

Secondary Movers: Core

To do crunches, you’re going to have to lie flat on the floor. Now bend your knees and have your feet one to two feet apart, with the soles of your feet lying flat on the floor. Or you can raise your lower legs and rest them on a bench. Just make sure the small of your back is lying flat to the floor. Now place your hands carefully behind your head, so you’re cupping your head, or else place them on your chest, one hand crossed over the other.

What you want to achieve with this exercise is to bring your upper body forward and move your ribcage closer to your pelvis. The rest of your body shouldn’t be moving. Make sure you don’t bring your body all the way up. Just curling your body up three to four inches and stopping when you achieve major ab contraction should do it. Don’t forget to breathe out as you bring your body up, and to breathe in as you gently lower yourself back to the floor.

Tips:

You shouldn’t get a sore neck when you do these exercises. So if you do experience a sore neck, you need to relax the muscles in your neck. And remember to keep your hands and neck nice and relaxed. Your hands and neck don’t have anything to do with this exercise so they shouldn’t be moving at all.

You should be making a nice, gentle and controlled movement with your torso upwards and then back downwards. It shouldn’t be jerky or out of control. Remember to work for the best ab contraction you can get and the burn. This exercise is not about how many reps you can do.

Decline Twisting Crunches

Mechanics Type: Isolation

Primary Mover: Abdominals

Secondary Movers: Core

These crunches are usually carried out on a very short incline board, also known as a Roman Chair. Lean back as far as you can, to get the most tension in your abdominals. When you’re ready, bring your body forward, using your abs to do so. At the same time, twist your upper body to one side, so your left elbow ends up near your right knee and vice versa. If you don’t have any equipment, you can do this exercise on the floor or on a basic incline board. If you do them on the floor, simply twist your upper body to one side as your abs bring your body up and forward.

Tips:

It’s important that your hands don’t tug on the back of your head or that you don’t try to raise your whole body off the bench when you do this exercise. The object of this exercise is to attack only your abs so you need to use a pretty short field of movement. Just raise up your torso until you can feel your abs contracting to the max and then carefully lower your body back down. If you want extra resistance, you can clasp a weight plate in front of your face.

Hanging Leg Raises

Mechanics Type: Isolation

Primary Mover: Abdominals

Secondary Movers: Core

Hold the pull-up bar with the palms of your hands gripping it in the direction you’re facing. Make sure your hands are placed on the bar just beyond your shoulders and let your body dangle easily. Move your pelvis forward and raise up your legs but make sure they’re a bit lower than being parallel to the floor. You need to keep your lower back a little rounded. Do not arch it. Stop for a second when you reach the top of the movement and then carefully put down your legs. Do as many reps as you can.

Tips:

You need to have a slight bend in your legs as you do each rep as this will focus the tension in your abs continually. Do not use the momentum of your body or lift your legs up with a swinging motion. If you want extra resistance, you can hold a dumbbell between your feet but you may feel a bit clumsy.

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