This is a topic I’ve been back and forth on for quite some time but I think I have finally answered this question. As usual, it will take some explanation, as this question has been answered through years of training and reflection.
Everybody wants abs. Admit it. Everybody has dreamed of having abs and looking like a magazine cover model. If given the choice between having abs or not, I would bet my lifesavings that 10/10 people would say they preferred having visible abs.
Now, first thing’s first, you will never see your abs if your diet is not conducive to having abs. Maintaining a low body fat is critical to having visible abs. Knowing your body and knowing what you must feed it for this goal is critical. Going forward this article will address the training philosophies and implementation and assumes that diet is where it should be.
DIFFERENCES IN ABDOMINAL TYPES
You will not find any of the following information in a text book or other educational sources. I do not have any science to back this up. This is just my opinion on the different types of abs people have. It comes from my own experiences so take that for what it’s worth.
Some people have thick, ‘blocky’ abs. In my opinion, these are the people who have the best results with no direct ab training. These people are typically, naturally strong, and can get by building a very impressive physique using only compound lifts. These people are not usually natural runners and, for them, running is not necessary for their abs to show.
Some people have thin, sleek abs. These people typically need to use some form of direct ab training, in order to build some ab muscle to improve their definition. Typically, these people find it hard to gain muscle but have no problem showing off their abs, even though their abs don’t have that natural ‘pop’ to them, mainly due to lack of muscular development.
Some people have strong abs and are somewhat visible most of the time. These people may or may not be naturally strong and could or could not find it difficult to add muscle. These people can usually provide good ab shots with the right angle and right flexing of their abs.
Some people have the ‘bodybuilder’ abs. Their abs are clearly visible but it kind of looks like they could use to lose a few pounds in the midsection. When they suck in, they look pretty shredded but when relaxed they have a slight belly. People with these types of abs are more prone to storing visceral fat, which is fat around the organs.
NO DIRECT AB TRAINING
I sat on this side for quite a while. I relied mostly on my diet to keep my abs visible. This approach doesn’t completely neglect training your abs. This approach is centered around compound lifts, that will yield full body strength. Lifts such as: the dead lift, squat, power/hang cleans, bench, and over head press, just to name a few.
This approach means that you will not be doing any isolation work for your abs. No crunches, sit ups, knee raises, etc. There are many people who stay with this approach and develop and maintain, what most would consider, an impressive abdominal region.
I will caution you here though because some people, genetically, have better abs than others. Life’s not fair, some people must work a bit harder (nutritionally or physically) to develop and/or maintain the desired abs.
SUPPLEMENTAL AB TRAINING
Supplemental ab training is something to be added on to the end of your workouts. A solid 5-15 minute ab routine with a good mixture of high rep/ low weight, and low rep/ high weight sets are a good idea here.
I wouldn’t recommend a single day strictly devoted to abs. Unless, it’s technically your ‘off day’ but you can’t manage to keep yourself out of the gym. Then, it would be okay to go and do your regular 5-15 minute ab routine. However, an entire hour devoted to nothing but ab work would probably not be the most effective use of your time.
The abdominals don’t seem to respond to lots of volume in a short time-frame. For abs (and calves), frequency seems to play more of a role. Again, this is just my take on it from personal experiences. I would recommend you do a simple experiment to see how your abs best respond.
MY PERSONAL CHOICE
For me, my abs ‘pop’ more when I work them every day. I don’t like having to work them everyday but I’m always surprised about how little is required to have them look more defined and provide that ‘pop’ I’m looking for.
Some days, I choose to really break them down and do some resisted exercises such as rope crunch downs, weighted bus drivers, inverted sit-ups, etc. Other days, I go for the burn with body weight exercises like bicycles, atomics, heels to heaven, etc.
All these exercises can be found on my YouTube channel. In 2015, I did a “60 For 60 Challenge.” The challenge of consisted of 60 reps of a different ab exercise each day for 60 days. Many participated and it was fun to do. All the videos are still available on my YouTube channel. Check them out!
Like I said at the beginning of this article, this is mostly my opinion formed by my experiences, both personal and from others. Use this information in the best way for you and your goals.
An extra 15 minutes added on the end of the workout may not be worth having a little more “pop” to your abs but for me it is. I have a few videos coming in the future about my ab routines. Members, be on the look out for those. They’ll be here soon!
Abs are a funny thing. Like I said, mostly diet is what’s going to help you get and maintain an impressive six-pack. However, that does not mean to starve yourself. Fuel your body properly and it will reward you handsomely.
If you are unsure about how to properly fuel your body, keep digging around on my site through articles and videos. I think you’ll find the information you seek. If you would like a more customized approach, feel free to contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My readers, I can’t thank you enough! Please, let me know thoughts or questions that arise after reading this article.
Until next time, stay #Relentless
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