Have you been doing sit ups, crunches and other abdominal exercises only to see little to no results? Well, don’t fret because that’s the experience of countless fitness buffs across the country. However, if you’re tired of playing around with trying to shape up your abdominals and are ready to get ripped abs quick then you can do it with this powerful abdominal workout.
Understanding the Abdominal Muscles
Before we get into the meat of this ab program, you should know that the abdominals are tough, dense muscles which can take a great deal of punishment just like the calves and forearms. The abs also consists of several muscles which need to be targeted in order to acquire ripped abdominals.
Rectus Abdominus – The rectus abdominus is the large muscle which runs from your pelvis to your sternum. It is responsible for bending your torso forwards and contracting your legs to your torso. Abdominal workouts will target that long muscle through upper ab exercises and lower ab exercises in order to develop the complete muscle. The rectus abdominus is where the “six pack” is formed.
Obliques – These are the muscles located at the side and base of your torso running diagonally which connect your rectus abdominus to your lats. Obliques consist of both external and internal muscles and are responsible for twisting the torso to the sides and for contracting and extending it laterally. These are important torso stabilizer muscles and should be well developed in athletes.
Intercostals – Intercostals also consist of inner and outer muscles which wrap around the sides of the rib cage above the obliques and under the pecs. These muscles work with the obliques to contract and expand the rib cage and to assist with breathing.
Serratus – The smallest set of abdominal muscles, the serratus connects the lats to the rib cage. They are located just above your intercostals and are intertwined with them. The function of the serratus muscles is to assist your shoulders with extending forward as far as possible. This set of muscles cannot be developed through abdominal exercises. Instead, they are best trained during bench presses where you extend the weight up as far as possible until your shoulder blades raise off the bench.
The Six-Step Abdominal Program
Since the abdominals are tough, you should hit them 6 days a week and no fewer than 3 days a week in order to see results. It’s just common sense that the more effort you put into your abs exercise program, the better and faster your results.
This ab-shredding program is designed to be a 6 day program with the workouts done on a rotating basis, i.e. upper abs on Monday and Thursday, lower abs on Tuesday and Friday, obliques and intercostals on Wednesday and Saturday.
There are 2 exercises to perform every day with each exercise consisting of 2 sets of 25 reps. They make for a good break between other exercises in your strength training program and each exercise should be accomplished within 5-7 minutes. You should not take more than a 15 second break in between sets and no break between exercises more than the time it takes to change stations or positions. The idea is to blast each area hard and fast which will cause the muscles to respond.
Day 1: Upper Abs
Decline Crunch: 25 reps; 2 sets
Cable Crunch: 25 reps; 2 sets
Day 2: Lower Abs
Reverse Crunch: 25 reps; 2 sets
Scissor Kicks: 25 reps; 2 sets
Day 3: Obliques and Intercostals
Seated Twist with Barbell: 25 reps; 2 sets
One-Arm Cable Crunch: 25 reps; 2 sets
Day 4: Upper Abs
Crunches: 25 reps; 2 sets
Ab Crunch Machine: 25 reps; 2 sets
Day 5: Lower Abs
Laying Leg Raise: 25 reps; 2 sets
Hanging Leg Raise: 25 reps; 2 sets
Day 6: Obliques and Intercostals
Hanging Leg Raise Twist: 25 reps; 2 sets
Decline Sides Crunch: 25 reps; 2 sets
Working out your abs will help you build up the muscular tissue in your abdominals. However, the only way to see ripped abs is if you remove the fatty tissue surrounding it. You need to be under 10% body fat in order to see a six-pack. That means that ab training really is a systemic process in terms of training your entire body, eating a healthy diet conducive to staying lean, and creating the proper anabolic hormonal environment within your body (increasing the production of testosterone and natural growth hormone).