In the ’80s, when they started appearing on everyone, muscular middles went mainstream. Here are top 5 abs training mistakes and how to correct them! Hard cores were no longer hardcore. In the Golden Era, Arnie and his squad, worked their abdominals for 30 minutes daily. For some of today’s pros, crunch time only comes precontest.
This post is for nearly every lifter, from gym novices to Mr. O competitors, because most of us are letting our abs off easy. In this article, we’ll examine the most frequent midsection mistakes and lay out ab solutions for making your middle the center of attention. Read below to see the top 5 abs training mistakes and how to correct them!
1) ABS WORKOUT NEGLECT
Bodybuilders might neglect abs because they assume they can chisel them in the next time they diet down. For them, the three C’ s–carb restriction, cardio and crunches–go together like bacon, lettuce and tomato, and when their middles are not being defined, they figure, why bother? Another reason for neglect: even when bodybuilders do train abs, they tend to tack low-intensity sessions onto random workouts, and because those workouts accomplish little, they can be skipped with little guilt.
As with other muscles, set goals–from how you want your middle to look to specific rep and resistance targets. Twice per week, give your abs the same focus as other bodyparts. If you do cardio separately from your weight workouts, an excellent time to hit abs is before cardio, or you may want to ab up in a separate workout at home. Do eight to 12 sets for your rectus abdominis and three to five sets for your obliques. If you’re in a rush, superset abs with other bodyparts or do all your ab exercises as a giant set with no rest between exercises.
2) Upper ab exclusivity
Most bodybuilders focus primarily, if not exclusively, on the upper rectus abdominis–the six-pack. In fact, that is only one of four ab areas to train. The other three are the lower rectus abdominis (from below your six-pack to your groin), the external obliques (on either side of your midsection) and the transverse abdominis (located underneath your rectus abdominis and obliques). The lower abs are often neglected, because–when you have at least some clothes on–they’re less visible than the upper abs. Obliques are typically skipped, because bodybuilders are afraid of widening their waists. Transverse abs are out of sight and, therefore, usually out of mind. Lower abs are important for core strength and a powerful look that ties your upper and lower body together. Reverse crunches and leg or knee raises work this area.
Obliques are also crucial for core strength, because they stabilize your upper body and, when fully developed and defined–picture the piano key rows on Dexter Jackson’s sides–they grab attention. Side crunches and machine trunk twists work this area. Waist width is primarily the result of a broad hip/waist structure. Nevertheless, if you’re concerned about oblique overgrowth, do sets of 20-30 reps. Your transverse abs aren’t visible, but they play a crucial role in your posture and keeping your belly in. You can work this area anytime and anywhere by pulling your bellybutton in toward your spine as far as possible and holding that position for a count of 10. Repeat for up to 10 times.
3) Not Focusing on Form
If you’re doing an abdominal exercise and you’re not really feeling it, I’m going to tell you a cold, hard truth: It’s probably not because you’re super strong and fit. More likely, you’re not doing it properly. The key to really working your abs is to focus on your form, by deeply engaging your abs throughout each movement. This is commonly described as “pulling your navel towards your spine,” or “scooping” the abs inward and it will help you engage more muscle fibers (especially the transverse abs), making each repetition more effective. And did you know: Mentally focusing on the muscles you’re trying to engage during any exercise (abs or otherwise) actually does make a difference in how well you execute the move? Try it next time and you’ll notice a difference!
4) NOT DOING PLANKS
The plank has quickly become one of the most popular core exercises out there. This move targets your abs as well as your arms, shoulders, and legs. When performed regularly, it improves mental focus and makes you stronger overall. Different variations of the plank will hit different muscles.