So the very first thing that you have to stop doing is stop using your hip flexors or the muscles in your neck, and your back instead of your abs.
The rectus abdominus which is the 6 pack looking outer layer of muscle that we’re trying to build up, that muscles main responsibility is trunk flexion.
It does this by pulling the ribcage closer to the pelvis. The only way that you’re going to build this muscle-up is by progressively overloading that motion of torso flexion.
But the problem is that most people will take great rectus abodominus building exercises like hanging knee tucks and stability ball situps and use the completely wrong muscles to complete these exercises.
For example with the hanging knee tucks, they might just be tucking their hip flexors to raise their knees up and down without incorporating torso flexion and bending around their midsection.
If you’re just raising your knees up and down during this exercise without curling your knees into your chest and focusing on bending around your waistline,
chances are you’re wasting your time building up your hip flexors.
Using stability ball situps as another example, a lot of people will simply pull their heads up and down with minimal torso flexion.
Not only does this increase your risk of a neck injury, but without bending around your torso, without focusing on making your pelvis,
which is the front part of your hips, without focusing on bringing that closer to the top of your rib cage right under your chest, you’re once again wasting your time.
Another mistake that prevents torso flexion with stability ball sit-ups is using your legs to roll back and forth for every situp.
This once again takes the rectus abdominus out of the movement and puts the majority of the work on your legs.
You can also prevent proper torso flexion by using too much momentum instead of going slow and feeling the muscle that you’re attempting to work.
There are also tons of other ab exercises that can get you to make very similar mistakes causing you to work other muscles instead of your rectus abdominus.
To ensure that you’re using your abs correctly during all your ab exercises focus on proper form involving torso flexion,
which is once again where you’re aiming to bring your pelvis up towards the bottom of your chest.
Also by understanding that torso flexion is necessary to build up prominent ab muscles you want to prioritize the order of your abdominal exercises accordingly.
Exercises like ab rollouts, planks, and other exercises that don’t involve much torso flexion should be positioned towards the end of your ab workout after already going through exercises that involve more torso flexion.
One last thing I want to mention about this mistake is even though I’m big on using heavy weights for your ab exercises
before moving up to heavyweights you want to first ensure that you understand how to properly flex your torso and target the right muscles.
While on the topic of from let’s address another big mistake that you have to stop making. Working your abs with an incorrect range of motion.
Not only is too short of a range of motion going to slow down your progress but believe it or not too long of a range of motion can turn your ab workout into a total waste of time.
A very short range of motion in regard to ab exercises can be seen in exercises like crunches on the floor,
or planks which actually involve no range of motion and are considered an isometric exercise.
You can take almost any ab exercise that’s done on the floor and increase the range of motion correctly to make the exercise more effective.
For example, you can do declined situps or stability ball crunches to increase the negative range of motion instead of regular situps on the floor.
Both declined situps and stability ball situps allow you to go past the point of neutral allowing you to open your ab muscles more on the descent.
This will allow you to break down and rebuild more ab muscles. By changing the angle and range of motion that exercises are preformed you can place more stress on your rectus abdominus.You can do this for most ab exercises.
For example, instead of just doing regular leg raises you can do inclined leg raises on a bench to increase the range of motion and to create an angle that’s better suited for breaking down your abs.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate exercises with a shorter range of motion like regular crunches into your routine, but the bread and butter should be exercises that allow for the greater range of motion.
However, as I said earlier too much range of motion can be just as problematic as too little range of motion.
An example of too much range of motion would be doing an exercise like stability ball crunches and sitting all the way up for every rep.
By coming all the way up to where your spine is perpendicular to the ground you completely take the pressure off your abs.
It’s like taking a break in between every one of your reps. The same thing can happen with a great exercise as incline leg raises.
You can raise your legs so high over your head that it takes the pressure entirely off of your abs.
To prevent this from happening concentrate on always keeping the tension on your abs. If you feel the tension comes off your abs you know you went too far.
With most situp and crunching movements instead of sitting up to a perpendicular 90 degrees,
you don’t want to go up higher than roughly 60 degrees before coming back down.
The next mistake I want you to avoid is focusing entirely on either isolation exercises or focusing entirely on compound exercises to build your abs.
Compound exercises like deadlifts and squats are excellent at stimulating your posterior core muscles like your back extensors,
they’re also great at building functional core stabilization strength, and they’re great at working deep tissue core muscles,
however, just doing deadlifts and squats for abs is not enough.
They’re not going to do all that much for the external layers of ab muscles that you actually see including the rectus abdominus and external obliques.
Isolation exercises, on the other hand, are great for building the anterior or the front portion of your core, both for muscular strength and size.
You want to make sure you incorporate both into your weekly routine to get the best of both worlds.
This way you’ll be able to build functional core strength for both your anterior and posterior core muscles while building six-pack abs that actually stand out.
The next major ab workout mistake that you should stop doing is going very high with reps instead of concentrating on increasing the intensity of your exercises.
I’ve already touched on this in previous videos and I’ve talked briefly about it a little earlier.
Obviously step one is to make sure that your form is correct and you’re doing the right exercises so you can target the muscles that you’re actually trying to improve.
However, once your form is good, and your abs become accustomed to the intensity of your workouts the only way to continue getting results is with progressive overload.
The best way to progressively overload your abs for growth is by incrementally increasing the weight load used overtime.
I like increasing weight overtime because first of all, that’s exactly what you would do to grow your biceps, chest, or legs.
Your abs shouldn’t be treated differently. But the other reason why is because you always have a definitive way to increase the intensity of your workout.
You know that by performing weighted situps with 20 pounds behind your head instead of the usual 15 pounds behind your head you increase intensity in an easily trackable way.
By constantly increasing the weight load used your abs will constantly be getting stronger and more prominent.
Keep in mind when you work your abs with weights it’s very important to give them a chance to recover.
Do not be one of those silly gym rats that work their abs every day, This is extremely counterproductive because you don’t give them the chance to recover and grow.With that said
let’s move on to the biggest ab mistake that you need to stop making right away.
This is one that I’ve mentioned many times in previous videos, but if your spending your time doing selectorized ab machinery you need to stop right away.
Selectorized ab machines are the ones that you see that are locked into a range of motion, and they have a pin you can use to select your weight.
There are also hammer strength versions of these machines that are also locked into a range of motion, but instead of a stack of weights, you load plate weights onto the machine.
Both of these types of machines are not going to be anywhere near as effective as traditional ab exercises, and they’re more likely to cause an injury.
When you lock yourself into a range of motion you take all the stabilization benefit out of the movement, because the machine does the stabilizing for you.
Due to the fact that these machines are not custom-built for your body if you’re too tall or too short chances are very high you won’t be flexing your torso properly.
You’ll notice that most of these ab machines cause bending around your hips rather than your torso.
This will cause you to wind up using your hip flexors a lot more than the abs that you intend to target.
By sticking to traditional ab exercises like the ones I’ve mentioned today you’ll be able to target your abs better,
you’ll get more torso flexion and extension, and you’ll work your deep tissue ab muscles as well as your stabilizers in a way that would be impossible with these machines that are locked into a range of motion.
I really hope this video has helped you guys out if you enjoyed it make sure you subscribe to the channel.
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