The concluding two articles of our ModernMass series are not your typical “Mass” concerns, the first of which is the abdominal muscles. This isn’t a debate on the ever-growing midsection of today’s bodybuilder, but a call-to-action on developing strength from an often forgotten region. Sure, if you’re going to hit up Kevin’s pool party by Friday you may throw in some extra sit-ups and go low-carb for a week, but to separate yourself from looking just skinny to becoming SWOLE, follow this plan.
Weighted Decline Sit Ups
The rectus abdominis (six pack) function is flexion of the hip and trunk. This can be done through a variety of movements. However, is it possible to target the “upper” or “lower” abs? It's possible..the muscle fibers from the origin to insertion point are not continuous and some studies have shown increased activity in the upper of lower regions during specific movements. For this exercise, use a light (manageable) weight, keep the back neutral and control the movement. The exercise should be abdominal-dominate and not hip, so focus on slower, non-jerky movements.
Unilateral Cable Crunch
These can be great to hit the external oblique. This region, also known as the “love handles”, can be trained with a unilateral rope crunch with rotation to the same side as your hand. With one arm gripping a handle, perform a crunch downwards and rotate towards the side of the handle.
To lift big, you need a strong “core”. The plank helps to strengthen the transverse aabdominals which act as a stability belt when performing big lifts such as the squat and deadlift. Well-developed transverse abdominals will also provide the appearance of a flatter stomach due to its “corset-like” effects. John Davies, Founder of Renegade Training, advises to ensure the naval is drawn into the spine and a flat back is maintained throughout the movement.
HardCore Ab Workout
- Decline Sit-Up 4 x 12
- Cable Crunch (with rotation) 3 sets x 5 reps, each set with peak contraction
- Plank 3 x 30 seconds
- Extra Credit: Stomach Vacuum 10 x 10 seconds
From a standing position, bend slightly at the knees and roll the shoulders forward looking at a waist-high bench in front of you. Place hands on bench, draw chin to chest. Inhale as if you are pulling the naval in as far as possible and exhale.
Prepared by Nik Ohanian
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