This is the best tip you’ll ever get if you’re looking for a well-developed midsection. Like any other body part, abs are muscles too and need to be worked with resistance for optimal development to occur.
The key is to hit them frequently (ideally 2-3x per week) using resistance. I like working abs at the end of my workout after working a larger body part as they do not take very long. You can even do 2 heavier days with a third lighter, bodyweight focused session if you enjoy planks, bicycle crunches etc.
I’ve been working abs with resistance for a few years and have seen my midsection transform. Not only do I have more developed, blocky abs with more definition, they also show at higher a higher body fat which I think a lot of people are looking for. Just like any other muscle group, a larger muscle will show at higher body fat percentages.
Skip those easy bodyweight crunches or save them for after you’ve hit some heavier exercises like hanging leg raises or cable crunches. Try this for a few months and I promise you will thank me later.
Here is a sample quick and easy ab routine you can do after working a larger body part. Focus on going slow and controlled holding the contraction at the peak of the rep and moving slow and controlled on the eccentric portion.
If you are unsure what exercises any of the following are, a quick google search will explain them a lot better than I can.
3 Giant Sets – Go from one exercise right to the next with little to no rest in between.
Hanging knee raises to failure – These are a lot harder than they look just using bodyweight. Be sure to bring your knees as high as you can curling your tailbone, engaging your abs and disengaging the hip flexors.
Cable Crunches of 8-12 reps – Put a mat down, in front of the cable machine with a rope attachment, crunch down while kneeling. Pick a weight where you are only getting 8-12 reps.
Seated Crunches on a Decline Bench failure – With your knees locked, crunch up, contracting your core as hard as possible at the top holding for few seconds and going slow and controlled on the eccentric portion. This can be done with just bodyweight or holding a plate (see image above).
Day 2: This can be a more bodyweight focused day
Hanging Leg Raises to Failure for 3 sets – keeping your core tight, bring your legs up as high as possible while keeping your legs straight. Focus on using your abs not hip flexors.
Bicycle Crunches 3 sets until fatigued – Rep scheme here is so individual but try to push through that burn.
Plank – Finishing off with a plank to failure. Time yourself and try to improve each week.
Standing Dual Cable Crunch for 3 sets of 6-8 – Go heavy focusing on using your abs pulling the weight between your legs
Landmine (Twists with a bar) for 3 sets of 6-8 – See picture above, keeping everything tight rotate across body.
Standing Oblique Crunch with Cable for 3 sets of 8-12 – Holding a handle at the lowest cable postion, crunch laterally for 8-12 reps on each side holding contraction for a few seconds.
Ab Roller 3 sets to failure – Starting from your knees roll outward until your face is almost hitting the floor. Pull back to starting position focusing on using your abs to pull you up.
***Ab Tip – blow out all of your air before contracting your abs, it will allow a much harder muscle contracting, inhaling on the eccentric portion of the rep.***
This is just a sample guide, feel free to change it up and add in your favourite exercises. Don’t forget to use resistance for the best results.