I put this great abs routine together after receiving an email from a subscriber asking what the best abs exercises were and how he could put them together in a routine. I did my research and spoke to a couple of my abs expert buddies and found five abs and core movements and variations that help build the dense, strong abs and core region so you can have the proper definition and ripped abs. You can do this routine as a Finisher to your main workout or as a standalone abs and core routine on an off day. 15 Minute Abs and Core Routine Perform each exercise one after the other for 60 seconds followed by a 10 second rest/transition period. After your complete 5 exercises, rest for 2 minutes and do another round. 2 Total Rounds. 1. Hanging Leg Raises 2. Plank 3. Flutter Kicks 4. Renegade Rows 5. Stability Ball Abs Roll Out The one thing I will premise this information by saying that unless you burn the fat that surrounds the abs region you will never see your abs. You can build them and they can become stronger, but you will never see them. You need low body fat to reveal your six-pack and you can achieve this by clean diet and exercise that will create a calorie deficit to get you lean and mean. For men you will have razor shape abs at 6% body fat and for women you are looking at 12%. Nutrition will be your main factor to getting low bodyfat percentage as you can’t out train a bad diet. That being said, you can build deep dense abs with the right combination of exercises that target the entire abs and core region. Below is a diagram of the ABDOMINAL REGION AND MUSCLES In order to build the abs region and strengthen your core, you must use a combination of movements that together will target all the muscles in the area. And you can leave crunches out of the equation: Crunches on the floor, Swiss Ball crunches, cable crunches, machine crunches. Crunches are good for beginners or combat fighters who need a strong mid-section, but for the rest of us it will only improve your abs slightly. You see day to day we are always crunching and most people are “upper torso” focused. Your body does a sit up crunch movement all the time. Every time you stand from a seated position or just get out of bed you are doing situps type movements. We are all crunched out and our abs and core region need other exercises to shock the system and develop deep dense abs. Below are 5 of the top movements and variations that you should be doing to build strong abs and core region. HANGING LEG RAISES Hanging leg raises and its variations is the KING of abs exercises. Hanging Leg Raise works all the muscles of the midsection. Just look at the abs from the Barstarzz, Hannibal for King and Hit from Calisthenics Kingz – CRAZY!!! Progression for this exercise is to start with a simple hang from the bar, then move to hanging knee raises, then leg raises with your leg slightly bent and finally straight leg raises. How to: 1. Hang from a chin-up bar with both arms extended using a medium grip. The legs should be straight down. 2. Raise your legs until the torso makes a 90-degree angle with the legs. Exhale as you perform this movement and hold the contraction for a second or so. 3. Slowly lower your legs back to just above the starting position and raise them again. Move in a slow and controlled manner when lifting and lowering, so you’re using your muscles and not gravity or momentum. This exercise can be really tough on your lower back if you keep both legs straight. So if you’re feeling pain, try lifting one leg at a time, or do this exercise with your knees bent. If it still hurts, stop altogether. LEG RAISE VARIATIONS (FLUTTER KICKS) Leg raises are a great exercise for the lower abdominals. In fact it’s one of the best exercises to develop the “v” muscle. You know the one that separates the legs with the lower abs. It’s called the Inguinal Crease. So start adding Leg Raise variations to every abs workout. The toughest point of this exercise is as soon as the legs leave the ground. As you lift your legs to 90 degrees, the resistance lessens. Try not to lift your legs past 90 degrees if you are doing straight leg raises and with other variations such as flutter kicks, keep your legs low. Do this quickly, without touching your heals to the ground or resting. To take the stress off the lower back, you put your hands under your butt. PLANKS If you have a back injury and want to still develop abs, then start planking. Planks is a great isometric exercise that train your abs to be in a contracted state while your spine is in a neutral position. Planks will give you even development through the abs without giving you any bulk in the midsection. How To: Get into a plank position with your elbows and forearms on the ground under your shoulders. Keep your body as straight as possible with your abs drawn in and body rigid. RENEGADE ROWS Renegade Rows is a great exercise for your obliques, waist and core. As you row the dumbbells up the obliques have to contract hard to insure that you don’t twist your waist. The heavier you go with these, the harder your abs and obliques have to contract to fight against this twist. This will increase definition over time…without adding size. Have the dumbbells on the ground closer than shoulder with apart and get into the pushup position on top of the dumbbells holding the handles. Keep your body as straight as possible from your head to your toes. Press into the ground as hard as you can with your left hand and foot and pull up with your right Lower the dumbbell back down and alternate sides pulling up with your left hand. Maintain core tension throughout the duration of the exercise. Do not twist at the waist. ABS ROLL OUTS Abs roll outs are great for the upper abs and core. This exercise is generally a great progression from the plank. To perform the stability ball rolls out. Kneel behind the ball with your forearms on top. Start with your body upright and push/roll the stability ball away from you while your knees are in place and hips forward. Do not arch your back and keep the hips and upper body straight. To perform the roll out, Kneel behind stability ball and rest your forearms on the ball. Begin with your body upright and the push or roll the stability ball away from you while keeping your knees in place as your hips, torso and arms move forward. Make sure you do not arch your back but keep your hips and upper body in a straight line. Pause for a second at the furthest point, and then pull back by contracting your abdominals to the start position. Breathe out as you pull the ball back to your body and breathe in as you roll the ball away from you. CONCLUSION So I hope you start to incorporate these exercises into your workouts to build the deep, dense abs and core. But remember your clean diet and metabolic exercises will help you to burn mega calories and lower your fat percentage so you can see the ripped abs.
September 22, 2012