Without a doubt, rips and cuts throughout your core are among the most highly sought physical attributes. You’ve definitely overheard a client speaking with a trainer on how to get that look. You’ve probably even tried to get the look yourself. But scoring a six-pack is a concentrated and complicated goal that requires a lot of discipline. If your diet and training still aren’t doing it, try revamping a few things in the gym.
YOU DON’T TRAIN WITH WEIGHTS
Resistance is what stimulates the muscle fibers in the body and promotes muscular growth. You wouldn’t expect to add two inches to your biceps by using the weight of your arms—why would abs training be any different? Training for 50, 60 or even 100 repetitions would be great for endurance and conditioning, but don’t expect to see a washboard appear.
Advice: Incorporate weighted exercises at fewer repetitions. Try out a medicine ball throw while lying on a Swiss ball. Shoot for 12 to 15 repetitions. Complete a total of three to four sets.
YOU TRAIN YOUR ABS TOO MUCH
Even though abs recover relatively quickly due to the fact that they’re essentially our “core,” that doesn’t mean they don’t need a break too. Training your abs during every workout will only leave you sore and unable to build substantial mass.
Advice: Train abs one to two days per week across three to four exercises.
YOU’RE STUCK TO THE FLOOR
Variations of crunches and sit-ups are most commonly associated with abdominal training, but laying down on the job doesn’t produce results. Exercises that require you to stand, kneel, twist, turn or lift will place more emphasis on stability and balance, in turn stimulating more muscle fibers.
Advice: Give these two “off the floor” exercises a try.
Hanging Leg Lifts: Grab ahold of a pull-up bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar, slightly tuck your hips back and raise your legs to eye level, then slowly return to a relaxed hang. The repetition range will vary from person to person, but shoot to reach complete failure. Note: If maintaining straight legs becomes challenging, you can try tucking your knees up toward your chest.
Side Wood Chops: Start by standing with feet wider than shoulder-width apart next to a cable tower. Set the handle attachment at chest height. Interlock your hands around the handle, turn your torso while maintaining a stiff arm as you pull across your body. Slowly return to the start. Set the weight to failure at between 12 and 15 repetitions, then switch sides. Your obliques will be on fire.