A good abs program should contain four things:
- Linear Work
- Rotational Work
- Static Work
- And of course… a nutrition plan!
The first three elements assure that your abs are strong and balanced. The fourth, that they are visible to the public.
Oh yes, there’s that annoying thing that every one says; “Six-pack abs are made in the kitchen.” As much I hate to take conventional wisdom at face value, there’s simply no getting around this one.
Make no mistake, those rectus abdominis shields are there, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to do much of anything. In order to get them visible to the naked eye, you’ll want to start driving the amount of stored energy (fat) you have on your body downhill.
80% (sometimes even 90%) of your washboard stomach success will be predicated on having a solid nutritional strategy in place that helps you 1) achieve less intake 2) have less “kiddy” foods and 3) doesn’t stress you out too much.
We’re not going to discuss nutrition much in this post but if you’d like to drop us a line and ask some questions – CLICK HERE.
Now there are many direct ab exercises… but only a few great ones. Meaning, they get you to where you want to be in a relatively short amount of time with less chores along the way and also carry over to other cool things aside from simply looking good. Coach Petty taught me years ago to always be watching for what the best are doing in what you’re looking to accomplish and follow the same path.
I’d say the grand prize for the most chiseled, balanced, and overall useful mid-section goes to gymnasts. Some of the most heinous direct ab exercises are built into the very foundation of their sport. In addition to their impressive looking physiques, they boast freakish upper body strength and lower body power. Now you don’t need to be a gymnast in order to build a shredded stomach, but you’d be a fool not to take a few notes from their foundational techniques. Let’s lay a few out…
Heinous Exercises For Hardening The Midsection!
*** Hanging Leg Raise (Linear)
*** Hanging Windshield Wiper (Rotational)
*** Hollow Body Hold (Static)
If you can’t do any of these, good! At least you know where to go.
The bare minimum numbers you’ll want to work up to on each exercise are as follows:
Hanging Leg Raise x 8 Reps
Hanging Windshield Wiper x 5 Reps
Hollow Body Hold x 60 Seconds Unbroken
Work these out and up to the point where they become background noise – practically effortless. You should be able to perform these on your absolute worst day which is how I like to evaluate total ownership of movement/strength standards.
Aside from diet, the biggest reason people have trouble getting their abs to show is an enormous lack of strength. If you want to carve things up, you need to focus your attention on the big movements that recruit the most amount of resistance and that demand full body tension and control – like the ones above.
Sit ups? Crunches? Hey, they absolutely have some value but NOT if you’re weak. A sore low back and neck will likely be the result.
The aforementioned movements must be performed under the following conditions:
Hanging Leg Raise
1. NO momentum, or swinging.
2. Elbows and knees straight!
3. No leaning back until feet reach the eyes.
Standard: 8 perfectly controlled reps.
1. Maintain “hollow” position
2. Elbows and knees straight
Standard: 5 reps
Hollow Body Hold
1. Low back stays in contact with the ground.
2. Hips and shoulders stay off the ground. (You should be in the shape of a banana)
3. Legs together, feet pointed, arms overhead.
Standard: 60 seconds, unbroken
**Practice until thoroughly strong and conditioned.