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abs o’ steel, baby!

January 28, 2012

One of my goals for the new year was to get a defined six pack. Vain?…yes. Challenging?…yes. Determined?..yes!

It doesn’t take a million endless crunches to get a strong core. Yes, crunches and ab work do assist and help, but want to know what’s more important? Proper form and diet. In every workout, every exercise I do, I make sure I’m using proper form and my alignment is correct. So much movement and stability comes from our core, so when we’re working out(think dead lifts, rows and lunges) we need to make sure our core is engaged– working, even when not being worked. Make sense? Take a military press– It’s not just your delts and tris being  worked– you should feel a good amount of your strength coming from your core. A seated military press(on a stability ball) will help give you some feedback–wether your back is arching or not. Engage the abs, try it and feel it. When it comes to diet- we need to be eating clean. Our abs are just like any other skeletal muscle in our body- if there’s a layer of fat on top we’re not going to see the kind of definition we want. We can work the muscle all we want, but if we’re not aiding in reducing excess body fat, by cleaning up our diet, we’re going nowhere.

 Once the basics are covered, we can move on to actually working and challenging our abs. There’s a lot of debate out there regarding loaded vs. unloaded ab work. Since our abdominal muscles are slow-twitch some say there’s not a whole lot of room for hypertrophy(growth), and others think we can still try to max out and work towards hypertrophy, because muscle is muscle is muscle. I tend to lean towards using loaded moves–using added weight(but that’s only after you’re comfortable using your own body weight). Muscle needs to be challenged in order to grow, so if you’re only doing the same movements for the same amount of reps and sets, you’re not doing too much good, because muscle gets accustomed to the force or demand we place on it.

I work my abs specifically 2-3x a week for 10-15 mins. Other than that I rely on compound lifts and movements. With my goal of getting a more defined six pack, I’ve had to add on heavier weight and clean up my diet some…which with me trying to grain free has helped some.

this was about five months ago:

and this is from a few days ago:

I’ve lost some body fat, which has helped with the look and visibility of my abs. I still have a ways to go, but I can tell a difference already.

Go-to core exercises are: russian twists, hanging leg raises, reverse crunch, planks and plank crunches.


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