Do you want hard abdominal muscles? Of course you do – and with these tips from top coach Mark Coles
it may be easier to get them. Almost everyone who trains regularly wants a tough six-pack. But the reality is that hardly anyone does it. Why? The problem is rarely that they do not train hard enough. Often they do not train smart enough.
The biggest misconception that most people have when training belly women is that more is better. But the time you spend working on your abs has little impact on how long it takes to get a six-pack. As with any other muscle group, repeating key movements is far more important to your success than quantity. This leads to the second most common misconception, that is, triggering sets with high repetition is the only way to highlight your abdominal muscles. The problem with both ideas is that the longer the workout or set lasts, the harder it is for you to maintain the level of consistency, intensity and focus that is essential for maximizing muscle mass development.
When training customers, there are six key principles that I have to rely on to build a six-pack effectively and safely. Read on to find out what they are ̵
. 1 Recruit the abdominal muscles
The abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) bend and stretch the spine. It's really important to think about it and really let it in, before you even think about it. Because when most people "train their abs," they're probably recruiting other muscles – usually the hip flexors – and pay little attention to their tummy. You can see it from a distance because they swing up and down with each repetition, driving the movement through movement and never the muscles.
Your abdominal muscles are a muscle group, just like your quads or the chest or back, and you need to make sure that you train them just as you train those other muscles. I always tell customers that maximum stimulation of the working muscle is essential for development. Always take this into account when training your abdominal muscles, because they are like any other muscle: you must first extend the muscle, then build tension and then pull the muscle into its shortest position.
The Extended Position Of an abdominal crunch goes much further than most people do, and the contracted position is much shorter than most people can achieve. Work on improving your area for a specific abdominal gain before considering adding extra resistance to the exercise.
. 2 Improve Your Reach
When I work with new clients, most of my abdominal muscles are bad and can not fully stretch their abdominal muscles, which means the muscle group is underdeveloped. So when I design your program, I start to bring it back to basics, correct problems, and then work them through my method of strategic progress.
The best abdominal exercise is one that can be done perfectly . If this is just a very basic version of a move, then it should be so. For example, hardly anyone with whom I work can lift hanging legs from day one. The same applies to all loaded abdominal exercises – you have to work on it. When I add abs exercises to a client's program, I start with a small arsenal of exercises: The abdominal muscles crunch on an exercise ball, kneeling barbell rollouts, and recliner back crunching.
Every exercise has a progression, but it's taking a few months of hard work on these moves before you're ready for the advanced versions.
. 3 Master the movements
At the beginning you take the gym ball. For the first week, you are over the ball working on the stretch component of the exercise. Most people can not help shaking at this point, which is why they have difficulty achieving a complete contraction.
After that, you would work to contract half a week, and so on. If you master the movement pattern, you will shake less and the contraction will be easier. I like to do these steps slowly and in a controlled manner for maximum benefit. In order to develop your abdominal muscles, you eventually have to add load, and if you can do consistent crunches, you can hold a light dumbbell over your chest.
Kneeling the barbell is a tough move, but one in which you can progress fairly quickly. From a technological point of view, you must start with a very small range of motion – do not try to fall completely to the ground, as you end up with a flat nose.
As with any exercise, progress is the key to you must always feel tension in your abdominal muscles. When you lower, you should feel your abdominal muscles lengthen until you can not lower them further. At this point, pull your abs hard back to the starting position. Use a wall as a marker and keep kneeling as you get stronger.
. 4 Minimize Momentum
The Reverse Crunch of the Pitch Bench is a basic exercise for lifting the hanging leg as it focuses on the lower abdominal muscles. I like it because it allows people to focus on their abdominal muscles and remove vibrations from their hips. When you watch most people lift their hanging leg, they swing back and forth and certainly do not make any meaningful contraction. In this sense, it is very useful to start with the reverse crunch.
Set the bench at an angle of 30 ° and place your hands over your head on the backrest. Bring your thighs up until your knees are bent 90 °. This is the start and end position of the exercise, and there should be no swinging in between. The goal is to lift the knees to the chest and flex the abdominal muscles as much as possible.
If you lower your legs, your abdominal muscles should always be loaded with maximum tension. In fact, if done correctly, this exercise is very difficult, and you'll see why I use it as a leg-hanging path.
. 5 Adjust Repetitions and Pace Correctly
Exercise frequency is important, and I can get most clients to exercise their abs at least twice a week. Beginners will mainly do basic exercises while advanced athletes and athletes will perform more advanced versions.
When it comes to repeat ranges, most people are not strong enough to properly train their abs for high repetition rates. I always like to start with three or four sets in the range of ten to twelve repetitions, as long as they can strain their abdominal muscles to 100%.
Finally, I keep the pace pretty slow. I'm a big fan of tempos around 3030 or 2020 when you work out with the abs. It takes you two to three seconds to lower and lift. Using a slow pace ensures concentration on the abdominal muscles during the concentric and eccentric phases of each movement.
. 6 Getting lean
It is only when you are lean enough that you will see your abdominal muscles. Many people train with their abdominal muscles throughout the year and never get a six-pack because they are covered with a layer of belly fat. If you try so hard to exercise your abs, you should be just as tired, or you'll never see your hard work in the gym.
Mark Coles is a caregiver and owner of M10, a private fitness and gym based in Nottingham
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