Welcome back to the Mastering series. In volume one of core training, we discussed the best exercises and basic anatomy to help you understand which muscles you should be hitting during your ab training.
We picked three exercises you should be hitting for your core training - the hanging knee raise, Russian twist and the lying leg raise.
These exercises are important as they will help to develop the strength and tone you have been looking for in sexy abs.
Now, let's break down the best ways to ensure you are mastering your core.
This is your most basic exercise for developing a sense of strength in the core. Since you can get a full range of motion on this exercise it is important that you try to keep the rep speed slow and controlled.
Using different grips on the bar may help to hit the serratus anterior more effectively - especially if you are doing side knee raises.
When it comes to reps and sets you should keep this exercise similar to any other strength-building exercise. 8 reps by 3 sets is a perfect starting spot.
As you gain more strength you can begin to increase rep tempo (move slower) or increase intensity (place weight in ankles).
Your best exercise for developing the tone and cut look in your abs. The Russian twist will be best performed as a conditioning exercise. By this, we mean higher reps with a lower weight - similar to battle rope training or pushups.
For the best definition, we’d suggest performing this exercise for time.
Keep your intensity low-medium and try to keep from perfect throughout the duration of the exercise.
Start off with a 40x3 (total of 2min under tension). As you get stronger and more stable in this exercise you can increase the time or increase the weight (but don’t go too heavy).
Leg raises are the original ab exercise - and they could be the most versatile.
I would suggest starting off your leg raises similar to your hanging knee raises. With basic strength progressions you can get stronger and develop a more defined core - there is no need to max out reps for time.
Instead, use a simple 12x3 rep scheme and increase difficulty by moving slower or combining with a planking superset.
This can be done by performing 1-2 minutes of the plank to exhaust the abs, and then completing your 12 reps of leg raises - be sure to take a long 1-2min rest after these sets.
These exercises will help you to take a step in the right direction but do not forget - abs are made in the kitchen. In many cases, it doesn't matter the amount of time you spend training your abs, if your diet is not in check, you are in for a disappointment.
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Want to learn about effective ways to lose weight? Check out this blog post.