3 Must Do Exercises For Rock-Hard Abs
Taut, flat and ripped abs – everyone wants them, but few know how to get them. Is it really super complicated? Well, not really.
Don’t be the unsuspecting fly caught in scam-filled websites’ marketing web of flashy advertisements and false promises. They don’t have the secret to abs in a week. In fact, there is no secret at all!
There are only two things you need to do:
- Build your abs through weight training.
- Reduce the amount of body fat that is covering your abs to reveal your hard work.
In this article, I'll be showing you how you can build your abs in the gym with 3 excellent choices of abs exercises. This covers the first thing you need to do to achieve that chiseled, washboard look.
#1 – Hanging Leg Raise
The hanging leg raise is my top choice for developing a complete, functional set of abs muscles. Why? Well, because it targets an often-neglected part of the abs – the lower abs.
When you only perform the 'standard' abs exercises such as sit-ups and crunches, you're focusing more on your upper abs. This is why you're more likely to spot a person sporting a four-pack, instead of the much-coveted six-pack.
So - if you want the last two to make their grand appearances, you need to include the hanging leg raise in your abs routine.
Here’s how you can perform this exercise:
- Hold a pull-up bar with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart. Use an overhand (palms facing away from you) grip.
- Use your abdominal muscles to raise your legs till they’re past 90 degrees. Always keep your body stable – do not use momentum to jerk your legs up.
- Slowly lower and return to the starting position.
You might have read from a few sites that you only need to raise your legs till it’s parallel to the ground.
Here’s the thing, you may have heard the advice that raising your legs till it’s parallel to the ground is good enough.
That’s a common misconception.
Your legs should be raised past 90 degrees – this is because the first part of the motion mainly activates the hip flexors. The movement past 90 degrees is then controlled by your lower abs. Be sure not to short-change yourself on this exercise.
#2 – Kneeling Cable Crunch
This is an incredibly versatile exercise that you can do on virtually any cable machine. But it also happens to be one where many people perform them wrong.
The first common mistake that I often observe in the gym is people sitting back while doing the kneeling cable crunch: this shifts the load to your hip flexors, instead of your abs.
The second mistake is them keeping a flat back throughout the motion – this limits the extent to which you can target the upper abdominals. The back has to round for maximum muscle tension!
Lastly, they also tend to let their hands drift away from their heads during their working set. This puts a lot of unwanted tension on the shoulder and upper body. Great if you’re trying to work your upper body, but not so good if you’re targeting your abs.
Don't make the same mistakes as them. Do your kneeling cable crunches with the proper form, so you make the most of your time in the gym.
- Adjust the cable pulley until it's set at the highest level. Attach a rope attachment and kneel underneath the pulley.
- Hold the attachment and allow the weight to hyperextend your lower back. This is your starting position.
- Keep your hips stationary as you flex the waist. Make sure to initiate the movement by contracting your abs.
- Let your elbows travel towards the middle of your thighs. Round your back for maximum muscle tension on your abs.
- Hold this contracted position for a second.
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for your desired number of repetitions.
#3 – Ab-Wheel Roll-Out
Seems like those pesky infomercials got one thing right: the ab-wheel roll-out is a seriously intense, and next-level core challenge.
Not only does this exercise activate your core muscles, but it also brings in the latissimus dorsi (or lats, as you know them), shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps. Ultimately, it's a great exercise that works the entire upper body.
Its challenging nature makes it unsuitable for certain people. If you currently lack the necessary core strength to do ab-wheel roll-outs effectively, you might strain your lower back.
I’d suggest that you build up your ab muscles with both hanging leg raises and kneeling cable crunches before you attempt this exercise. You don’t want to injure yourself before you get your six-packs!
Once you’re strong enough and ready to accept the challenge, here’s how you can perform the ab-wheel roll-outs:
- Hold the Ab Roller and kneel on the floor.
- Put the ab roller on the floor, in front of you, so you almost look like you're in a kneeling push up position. This is your starting position.
- Slowly roll the ab roller forward, and stretch your body into a straight position. Go as far as possible without letting your body touch the floor.
- Pause for a moment while you’re fully stretched, and pull yourself back to the starting position. Keeps your abs tight and contracted throughout the motion.
- Repeat for as many repetitions as you’d like.
There you have it: 3 of my go-to exercises to make your abs pop. You can combine them together into an abs circuit. Or you can just do them as stand-alone exercises after your training day.
How many sets and repetitions you go for is up to you. If you have no clue, you can always opt for the standard 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps for each exercise.
Also: remember how I mentioned that there are two parts to achieving the much-coveted abs? In this article, I've only covered the first part. Definitely keep a look out for the next post and be notified for more FREE tips, workout ideas and monthly giveaways by joining our exclusive Platinum FitX Club. Places are filling fast so don’t miss your chance to enjoy the FREE perks of our exclusive club today!