In a new video on the Athlean-X channel, strength coach Jeff Cavaliere shares some simple, immediately applicable advice on how to make your workouts more effective when exercising your abs.
First, be honest with yourself and acknowledge that your goal is driven at least in part by aesthetics as well as fitness. And that means doing workouts dedicated to training the abs and obliques specifically, rather than simply performing your heavy lifts and other exercises where the core is shifted to a stabilizing role. “Just doing the extra work through the big lifts is not enough to get your abs to the peak shape you want it to be,” he says.
Likewise, do not do your abdominal exercises at the end of a lifting exercise, because you will be too tired. “The quality of contraction matters more for ab-exercise than perhaps any other thing you do in the gym,” says Cavaliere, who recommends doing your abdominal workout on its own separate time.
He also warns that in a number of ab exercises it is easy to flex other muscles and do more of the work, such as the hip flexors. It is important to focus on performing each movement with good form to ensure that the pressure on the abs remains. As Cavaliere puts it: “Stop counting repetitions, and let your repetitions count.”
Another way to get the most out of your abdominal exercises is to limit the amount of time you spend resting between sets, and keep it to a maximum of 30 seconds to keep the amount of tension and fatigue you put on that muscles instead, to increase. And do not forget to end that workout with a tummy tuck.
And lastly, Cavaliere wants to remind you that nutrition is just as important as exercise when it comes to achieving muscle definition here. “Whether you see your abs or not is really a body fat accumulation problem,” he says. “The best way to get rid of body fat is to be in a calorie deficit, so you need to make sure you eat right.”
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