Get Rock Hard Abs In 3 Simple Moves
A well defined and pronounced 6-pack is only achievable with two things; low body fat and a hypertrophied midsection. The latter is what we aim to discuss in this brief article, and I believe is not optimised by many trainers who are looking to develop a strong and defined set of abs.
The reason why I believe this is due to the many people who train the abdominals within a very high repetition range, and do not train anywhere near to failure. I would guess there are some gym goers who train the abdominals within a high repetition range because they do not want a “chunky” midsection, and instead want a slim, yet defined look. I believe this reasoning is overstated and somewhat misses the point. As with any other muscle group; a toned appearance is the result of some muscle gain and a low body fat. You can achieve muscle gain quicker by training within a repetition range which is more optimal for hypertrophy, which is not the countless reps many perform crunches for!
Train the muscles of the midsection like you would any other muscle group, within a repetition range of 8-15. This will result in notable muscle growth, and compounded with fat loss will create a defined and pronounced 6-pack. The following exercises are great for applying resistance to the muscles of the midsection, and will have your midsection chiselled in no time!
Kneeling cable crunch
You are probably familiar with the traditional bodyweight crunch; the kneeling cable crunch is the same sort of movement, yet performed kneeling and using resistance in the form of a cable station. The reason we perform the crunch with a cable is so we can adjust the resistance we use, instead of being limited by our bodyweight.
- Attach a rope handle attachment to the high pulley and set the resistance at a suitable level (start off light to begin with)
- Grasp each rope handle, kneel down in front of the cable station, and bring your hands just above your head
- Hyperextend your back slightly at the top of the movement to stretch the abdominals
- Keep your lower body and hips fixed in position whilst crunching forward so you bring your elbows close to your thighs
- Reverse the movement in a controlled manner
- Repeat for repetitions
Hanging leg raise
The hanging leg raise is a fairly difficult exercise to do, yet it is great for exercising the lower portion of the abdominals. You can increase and decrease the difficulty of the exercise by changing how far you extend your legs during the movement. Those new to the leg raise can keep their knees fully bent to reduce the resistance. As you become stronger, you can increase the difficulty by extending your legs during the raise.
- Hang from a high pull up bar, ensuring there is ample clearance below
- Raise your legs be flexing at the hips
- Fully flex at the hips until your thighs are well past parallel to the ground and the abdominals are flexed
- Slowly reverse the movement
- Repeat for repetitions
The cable twist is similar to the cable crunch we previously mentioned, but the crunch is performed on a declined weight bench, and the resistance is from the side of the body so we can perform a twisting motion during the crunch. This is a fantastic way of exercising the obliques. The exercise can also be performed using an exercise ball, as shown in the video the right.
This exercise is also referred to as the Russian crunch, or Russian twist.
- Place a decline weight bench next to a low cable pulley, so the cable pulley is to the side of your midsection when you are positioned on the bench
- Attach a D handle to the cable and adjust to a suitable resistance
- Sit on the bench, in a half seated position (the half way position of a crunch, with the back not touching the bench), and grasp the handle to your side with the hand closest to the pulley station and place the other hand on top of your grasping hand
- Lock your arms, and twist the handle across in front of the body by rotating the torso, until the arm closest to the cable station is now across your torso and parallel to the ground
- Slowly reverse the move back to the starting position
- Repeat for repetitions, and remember to turn the bench around after each set to perform the exercise again for the other side