So the first trick I want to talk about is stretching.
Now even though stretching won’t directly make your abs grow, it’ll do something else that’ll make it easier for your abs to grow after your workouts.
This is because any muscle in your body will have this thin connective tissue that surrounds it known as fascia.
This fascia isn’t loose, and instead, it’s very tightly wrapped around each of your muscles almost constricting them.
A famous bodybuilding scientist named D.J. Millward recognized this and created what’s known as the “the bag expansion theory.”
In this theory, the fascia surrounding a muscle was considered the bag and by expanding it you would create more room for the muscles to grow
And before that theory ever even came around there were a lot of bodybuilders that were already using fascia stretching techniques to help with muscle growth including Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Years after this theory started gaining popularity there was a study published in the journal of applied physiology in which progressive stretch overload was used to produce a huge increase in muscle mass over a 28 day period.
Even though animals were used for this study rather than people, a 318% increase in muscle mass in 28 days is difficult to ignore.
and size of my abs I was incorporating intense stretching into every one of my ab training sessions.
In fact, it was always a very important part of the workout. To do this correctly you have to understand that the best time to stretch the connective tissue around a muscle is to perform the stretch while you have a pump.
The pump itself is created when a large amount of blood flow travels to the muscle causing a very tight feeling.
When your muscle is pumped the fascia is already being stretched just from the muscle is so full of blood so by stretching it further at the same time you’ll get a much more intense stretch.
This is why I would always perform 3 20 second reverse cobra stretches after my ab training circuits.
So let’s say I was doing a circuit of weighted crunches, v situps, pulse ups, and jackknives.
I would do all of these back to back, aiming for 10 reps of each…At the end of each set when I felt that really tight feeling in my abs,
I would immediately do a 15-second reverse cobra stretch, then I would take a short 5 to 10-second break and then repeat for a total of 3 stretches.
After that, I would go back and repeat the ab exercise circuit for another 2 or 3 sets finishing off with the 3 cobra stretches at the end of every circuit.
Now If you don’t want to stretch your abs in between your sets,
maybe because you don’t want to impact performance you can also just do more stretching sets at the end of your ab workout.
Just remember to do it immediately while your muscles are still pumped.
Let’s move on to the 2nd thing you can do to help your abs grow, progressively overload your ab workouts.
Progressive overload is the number one training stimuli required for muscle growth.
If you never challenge your muscles by performing workouts that take you outside of your comfort zone, those muscles are probably not going to grow.
This same concept applies to your abs.
So without gradually increasing the amount of stress you’re placing on your abs with your workouts you’re just going to be wasting your time.
Even though you can achieve progressive overload by performing more reps and sets with each workout,a better way to progressively overload for muscle growth is by concentrating on intensity.
One study showed that a high-intensity low volume resistance training group far outperformed the high volume moderate-intensity resistance training group in terms of strength and muscle gains.
This is why I highly recommend that you use weights during your ab workouts.
Not only should you be using weights with exercises like declined situps, crunches, pulse ups, and jackknives,but you should also always be trying to increase the amount of weight your using.
Now, you want to do this in a smart way because if you just grab a really heavyweight, put it behind your head and start doing declined situps,
you can wind up with a lower back injury.
This is because when your core isn’t strong enough to handle the weight being used that stress transfers over to your lower back leading to an injury.
So when you start incorporating weights to your situp and crunching movements start with a lightweight and hold that lightweight across your chest,
or straight up towards the ceiling. Once you get stronger you can start putting that same weight behind your head to make the exercise even more challenging.
You can also put a weight in between your feet for lower ab exercises.
And regardless of where you have the weight you want to consistently increase the amount of weight you’re using whenever you’re ready to do so.
I would do this by aiming for a certain rep range like 6 to 10 reps. Keep in mind you can change the rep ranges based on the exercise you’re performing,
but if you’re aiming for 10 reps and you can do all 10 for a few of your sets without a lot of struggling then you need to increase the weight you’re using.
Now to be able to lift a heavyweight with your abs for multiple sets you need to take advantage of the.
next trick which is to make sure that you’re taking longer breaks in between your weighted ab sets.
Just like with any other muscle group, the longer you wait before doing your next set the more your muscles will recover.
The reason you’re using the weights with the ab exercises is to be able to improve your ab strength,
grow your ab muscles and use even heavier weights to continue the gradual growth process.
If you don’t take a long enough break, the number of reps you can squeeze out will drop considerably as you do more sets.
So you want to spend enough time recovering to be able to come into each of your sets almost at full strength.
This will take about 2 to 3 minutes, but for certain exercises like declined situps, you may get greater strength benefits by waiting a full 5 minutes in between sets.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t do circuits in which you do a couple ab exercises together back to back
and only take a break after completing all exercises in the circuit.But even with a circuit at the end, I still recommend taking a full 2 to 3-minute break so that you can still be strong for your next set.
Also, keep in mind that you want to position your tougher weighted exercises like declined sit-ups first because you’ll be able to lift the heaviest loads when your fresh rather than tired.
The bottom line is that for your heavy ab training sets you want to take long enough breaks to be able to continue getting enough reps with that heavyweight as you do more sets.
The next big trick is to work your abs with different angles and with different ranges of motion.
Using things like the stability ball, the declined bench, and the Bosu ball can help you do just that.
When you perform regular crunches you can only bring your upper body back down to the floor.
You can’t go past the floor. However, when you’re performing the same exercise on a stability ball you can go slightly past the point of neutral when relaxing your back around the ball allowing for a fuller range of motion.
Also stabilizing your body on a Bosu ball or a stability ball provides a unique challenge for your deep abdominal muscles such as your transverse abdominus.
Also as I already mentioned you can use the declined bench to create a unique angle for situps.With a regular situp once you come about halfway up all the tension gets taken off of your abs.
However, with a high enough decline, you can come all the way up to the point where your chest meets your knees and the tension will still be on your abs.
Besides declined situps, you can also use the declined bench to perform inclined leg raises, and a number of other exercises that will increase the tension placed on the abs.
The last tip that I have for you to help your abs grow gives them enough time for recovery.
All the muscles in your body grow, not while you’re working out, but after the workout is over when you’re recovering.
If you don’t recover properly with enough rest before working the same muscle again not only will you get fewer results,
but you’ll also increase the chances of getting an injury. If you were to do a leg workout today,
I’m sure most of you would know better than to do another one tomorrow.
For some reason, people tend to treat their abs differently by working them every day.
A lot of this comes from the idea that your abs can take a beating because they’re used all day every day to stabilize your trunk and because they are made up of mostly type 1 muscle fibers.
Unlike type 2 muscle fibers which are known for their strength and explosive power type, 1 muscle fibers are known for their endurance.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that both muscle fiber types need enough time to recover especially if you’re using weights and using intense training strategies to break down your ab muscles with every session.
Which you should be. I recommend that you don’t work your abs any more than once every other day to see the best results in terms of growth.
And also one or two solid ab training workouts per week where you spend the whole session really breaking down your abs…
that may work even better than 3 shorter sessions per week where you just throw in abs as a finisher at the end of your workout.
Remember we want to treat the abs like we would other muscles in our body, so they can grow like other muscles in our body.
That’s it guys I really hope this tip has helped you out Also as I said in the beginning if you’re looking to get six-pack abs then you have to grow your ab muscles through training and lower your body fat percentage with a proper diet plan.
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