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So you want a set of rock hard abs? You’ve figured out how to diet and lowered your bodyfat to single digit levels. But for some reason, you don’t have a visible “6 pack” of your Rectus Abdominus? Honestly, getting to ultra low bodyfat levels is hard enough let alone figuring out how to create “visible abs”. So what’s going on?
The reason most people never attain this condition is because they don’t understand how to contract their rectus. Don’t believe anyone who tells you your fiber typing will prevent you from ever developing a strong visible set of abs. Anyone can have them. You just have to learn how to get them and then continue to train them for life productively.
I can walk into any gym and watch people perform rep after rep of sit-ups and crunches and never once see them contract-squeeze and hold their Rectus to produce results. There are people who can perform 100 sit ups in quick fashion and barely even give their abs a workout due to strong hip flexors and momentum taking over. Strong hip flexors and psoas muscles overpower their abdominal musculature and along with the momentum of rocking up and down, they never isolate their Rectus in correct fashion
It’s hard for me to explain proper technique in words but many-many trainees don’t know how to relax their spine into a neutral position and then curl with only their abdominal musculature performing the concentric and eccentric portion of the movement. We’ve added a video and photos below to better demonstrate how to perform this movement. In addition to viewing the video, you can also observe professional caliber physique folks or consult with a quality personal trainer to show you how to execute the movement.
The best way to start out is by lying on the floor and practicing a simple Knees up- Hands to the side -Elbows up- Ab Crunch.
Try and focus keeping your upper shoulders/back off the floor slightly and maintain a neutral position of your spine to the floor.
Now focus performing the movement only using your midsection to crunch upward, hold for a count of two squeezing the rectus and then lower in the same controlled fashion.
Now watch and listen to the video as Jay demonstrates how to effectively recruit the Rectus Abdominus.
If you are doing this right and actually feeling the movement and squeezing the muscle, you shouldn’t be able to perform a lot of reps. Especially if you are a newbie. I’ve seen 15 year advanced lifters fail at 12 reps due to their midsection being weak and failing to ever isolate and contract their rectus correctly.
Trust me, this movement is not something you can just learn thru observation. You will need to practice the movement and develop your abdominal musculature over time. When working on your technique, remember Commandment #8 of the –Mind Muscle Connection. Visualizing and feeling your Rectus being activated before performing the movement.
Once you are able to understand how to recruit your rectus, you will be amazed at how much faster you’ll develop a strong-functional set of abs. And even more amazing will be that every Ab Exercise your perform will be more productive due to your body understanding how to contract and feel your abs in every rep and set.
Lastly, one very important thing to stress is the “Progressive Overload Principle”.
Your abs are muscles like any other, and to make them stronger-harder and denser, you need to force them to work harder under more weight or resistance. As you progress, choosing exercises that require heavier resistance will definitely force your abs to grow harder-thicker and stronger and eminently more visible and defined.
There are numerous ab exercises when done with correct technique that will provide excellent results.
The Muscle Couple always tries to train abs in a 3 prong method.
- The whole abdominal musculature(Rectus Abdominus)
- The lower Abs(Psoas)
- The side(Serratus and Obliques).
We usually perform abs at the end of every workout making sure every different workout allows us to focus on one of the 3 different areas.
Our favorite ab exercises are Hanging Leg Raises(Lower Abs-Psoas), Decline Bench Crunches with a twist(Obliques-Serratus and Rectus Abdominus)and Cable Crunches(Rectus Abdominus).
Now that you have a better understanding how to recruit and effectively train your Rectus Abdominus, the abs you’ve always wanted are within your grasp.
Make it happen!