How to Double the Effects of Your Abdominal Workout

You all know the standard routine; do a hundred crunches, a hundred bicycle kicks, a hundred flutter kicks, a hundred fill in the blank, in hopes of getting that ripped midsection. While doing those movements surely won’t hurt, what if there was a more effective way to get the ripped abs you wanted? Want to spend less time in the gym doing abs and get better results? Sign me up.

To fully understand the logic behind this, one must first understand some basic physiology of the abdominal muscles. Have you ever noticed that certain muscles in your body are harder to grow than others? For instance, both your calves and forearms require a LOT of attention to see any visible improvements. The reason for this is both of these muscle groups are constantly worked throughout your day. Typing, eating, petting your dog, combing your hair; all of these movements require significant use of your forearms. Walking, running, standing, climbing stairs; these activities draw on the muscles in your calves for support and power. Since these groups are worked on such a constant basis, we need to really go above and beyond to really shock these muscles. Our abs are no different. Whether we are standing, breathing, turning to the side, or performing any number of basic movements, our abs are going to come into play. This is why doing hundreds of sit-ups is going to produce slow and mediocre results. To your body, those sit-ups aren’t a whole lot different than the stress induced by every day moving around.

Think of it like this; if you wanted to target your biceps and develop some really great musculature in your arms, would you lift a tiny spoon, or would you opt for something heavier, like a set of dumbbells to stimulate growth. Lifting that spoon a thousand times a day will certainly lead to some benefits, but will also take much more of your time and energy than curling a set of dumbbells would. Not to mention, the progress made by lifting the dumbbells will be ten-fold. Take this approach to your midsection. View your abdominals the way you view your biceps, back, or any other major muscle group. Pound them with heavy weights to encourage growth and eye-grabbing definition.

We’re going to show you have to shave an easy 15 minutes off your abdominal workout by including a few weighted movements into your routine. So many people will spend 20, 30, or more minutes working their midsection. When you are doing tons of weightless movements like flutter kicks, bicycle crunches, and sit-ups, its no wonder it takes so long. Treat your abs like any other muscle and aim for repetitions in the 8-15 range. Go for short rest between sets, because, unlike other muscles, recovery time for abdominals is much less than other muscle groups. This will ensure a constant level of stress is placed on the muscles, giving you a better workout in less time.

Some great exercises to incorporate into your ab routine would include:

Ab Crunch Machine: Pump the weight up to a level where getting 12 reps is tough, and 15 feels like its going to be impossible. Work through the (good) pain, and get those reps in. One of the best exercises out there for hitting the abdominals with weight.

Hanging Leg Raises with Dumbbells: This is a great exercise to hit the lower and middle sections of your abdominals. Hang from a pull-up bar or other object while grasping a dumbbell between your feet. Slowly bring your knees to your chest before lowering back to the start position.

Decline Plate Crunches: Simply adding a plate or dumbbell to standard weightless ab exercises is a great and extremely simple way to ratchet up the intensity. Grasp the plate firmly across your chest and do a standard sit-up on the decline bench. For added benefit, and to hit your obliques add in a slight twist to each side at the each repetition.

Weighted Planks: Get yourself into plank position and have a buddy throw a plate across the mid-section of your back. You will instantly feel your abs tighten to support the additional load. Try to hold for a full minute. Once you can easily get to the minute mark, increase the weight on your back.

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