Whether you simply want a flat belly, or full-on ripped abs, the secret to getting the look you want is to start by crafting a functional core. And here to tell us how to get’er done is guest coach Tyler Bramlett. Make sure you watch the video at the end of the post. Tyler demonstrates a bonus 7-step progression for awesome abs!
Everyone wants abs, right?
It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, a man or a woman. You might be an athlete, or just someone who wants to look great at the beach.
Sporting a flat stomach or a powerful six pack is the desired end goal for many of us.
So if we’re all training abs, why don’t more people have those six packs?
What if I told you that 99% of people go about ab training completely WRONG!!
Would you be interested in learning why this is true, and what you can do about it?
Well read on my friends, because I’m going to share it with you…
Okay, so how do I know you’re likely among that 99%?
Because I’ve been there! I am not a naturally lean person, and I had to fight for nearly a decade before I finally revealed my abs. But thankfully you don’t have to wait as long as I did—and you certainly don’t have to weed through the same amount of information (and misinformation) in order to unveil these concepts.
So, if this “new method” of abdominal training intrigues you, let me ask you just one more question:
If you answer yes, then the rest of this article is for you!
In the next few paragraphs I’ll explain the concept of progressive abdominal training and why it works. I’ll also share a detailed video with a series of 7 bodyweight ab exercises. If you do them, you will build awesome abs that look great and perform even better.
Okay… The reason 99% of people FAIL in their ab training is that they focus on the wrong elements of abdominal training.
The #1 mistake is to focus on endurance rather than building strength.
Think about all the people you see doing rep after rep of crunches. I’ve seen people do 1,000 or more in a session! The worst part is, you rarely see one of these dedicated people with a flat stomach, let alone an awesome set of abs.
I like to visualize this type of training—where people go for more and more reps of a basic exercise like crunches and sit ups—as being similar to the training of a marathon runner. You build some muscular endurance and little actual muscle tone, but much to the detriment of your overall strength.
But why should you care about building strength and power in your abs?
Because the muscles that make up your abs LOVE to be strong!
Gaining muscular size in your abdominals is IMPOSSIBLE if you focus solely on muscular endurance training, or if you just do high reps of easy exercises.
You can, however, build your abdominal muscles FASTER and reduce your waistline if you focus on a proper set of progressive abdominal strength exercises.
I like to think of this as sprint training your abdominals.
So what is progressive abdominal training?
It’s what gymnasts and athletes use to build their impressively lean and strong abs, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s the only way you should approach your ab training.
The idea is simple. First, you achieve a baseline of competency in a particular movement. Once you have that, instead of adding more and more reps over the course of your workouts, you increase the complexity and difficulty of that movement.
This way you constantly challenge all your core muscles and get better RESULTS!
Here’s an example of a basic abdominal progression.
Practice the first exercise 2-4 times per week. When you can hold it for 90 seconds, move on to the next exercise.
Repeat, and continue to make the exercise more difficult over time.
Exercise #1 – The Kneeling Plank
Come into a plank position on your knees and elbows, with your torso in a straight line. Hold this position, squeezing all your muscles. Work up to a 90 second hold. When you’ve nailed that down, move on to the next exercise.
Exercise #2 – The Plank
Come into a plank position on your toes and elbows, with your torso in a straight line. Hold this position, squeezing all your muscles. Work up to a 90 second hold. When you’ve nailed that down, move on to the next exercise.
Exercise #3 – Plank On Swissball OR TRX
Come into a plank position on your toes, with your elbows on a swiss ball and your torso in a straight line. Hold this position, squeezing all your muscles. Work up to a 90 second hold. When you’ve nailed that down, move on to the next exercise.
As you can see, you can continue to make this exercise more and more challenging. The variations are just about endless.
Training like this removes the cap on your physical potential. By focusing on achieving better movement as opposed to more reps, you remove the need for fancy set/rep schemes and other industry gimmicks that leave you blinded to the reality of what really works.
Move Better = Look Better
Okay, now that you understand the method behind this madness, I want to give you something useful that you can apply to your training today.
Below is a video that highlights a 7-step abdominal progression that builds up to the strict hanging leg raise.
I chose this exercise because it’s challenging enough that you’ll have to work to get it. But it is 100% achievable by anyone.
This way you’ll have no excuses for not starting your abdominal progression journey right away.
Just pick one of the 7 exercises outlined in the video and work on it 2-4 times per week. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 reps, move on to the next exercise.
Before you know it you’ll have developed AWESOME ABS that look GREAT and PERFORM EVEN BETTER!