What are the absolute BEST ab exercises for those who want to compete? Scan the Internet, the popular fitness magazines such as Oxygen Magazine, Muscle and Fitness Hers, or ask the personal trainer or figure coach at your local gym and you are most likely to get a variety of answers.
If your goal is to compete in your first figure contest or just get a body of a fitness model, then it is 100% ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that you take part in a quality figure competition diet, cardio, as well as a training program that incorporates a variety of ab sculpting exercises to get you lean and a tight midsection.
A lot of first time figure competitors have a hard time getting their abs lean and tight. This is due to a variety of reasons such as hormones, body fat distribution, a diet with too much processed food, or an improper ab training program. If you can really lock-in a sound diet and ab workout you can display well-developed abs in your figure contest and even walk away with several trophies, an overall, and even your pro card. How cool is that?
So, let’s discuss some of the best ab exercises you can include in your prep program to get lean and get your abs cut, hard, and tight. Ready? Let’s go!
To get a lean body, that of a figure model or fitness competitor, a quality ab workout is ESSENTIAL. However, for those 6 pack abs to shine through, you will need to have low body fat overall. Low body fat is a combination of a proper figure diet in combination with various cardio formats. Even if your body fat is not low enough yet, doing ab training is still beneficial because it will build and strengthen your core.
Below are 3 VERY Important Techniques You NEED to Include in Your Workout…
The Forgotten Technique (Pay Off – Small Waist)
A very effective ab exercise, but highly controversial, is the stomach vacuum. The vacuum exercise, when used consistently, can make your waist appear 3 times smaller, and even shrink it a few inches. This great news, but hard to believe, I’m sure.
You see, the abs are a combination of internal and external muscles. The external muscles you probably know; the rectus abdominis and the obliques. Your basic crunches and twisting oblique ab work train these two popular muscles.
The internal muscle you may not be as familiar with. The internal ab muscle is the transversus abdominis. This muscle lies under the rectus abdominis and oblique’, and is usually ignored.
The inner abdominal muscle doesn’t usually get much attention. It’s the muscle that supports good posture and controls deep breathing for power movements. Since this muscle is out of sight and out of mind it is are usually weaker.
Simply by training this neglected muscle with the stomach vacuum you can build a stronger core, tighten your abs, and shrink your midsection.
To execute the vacuum exercise properly all you need to do is suck in your stomach as far in as possible and hold it there and maintain normal breathing. Hold that position for 10 seconds, rest and repeat.
Start off with 3 sets of 10 seconds, 2-3 times a day. Gradually build your time to 15 seconds, then to 20 seconds. Try and make it a goal to master the stomach vacuum for a full minute. If you can do that, I guarantee that you will have a super slim waist.
Secret Training Trick to Target Your Lower Belly
Targeting the Lower Abs Effectively (Most Trainers are Unaware of This!)
One of the best figure competition ab movements is training the lower abs. Many people THINK the lower abs are weaker. In essence they aren’t. The abs are thick above the navel, but below there is only a thin muscular wall and connective tissue. You can have the upper hand on your ab training by training your lower abs FIRST in your workout.
A lot of fitness trainers and figure coaches will have you to do hanging leg raises for your lower abs. Would it surprise you to know that hanging leg raises DO NOT target your lower abs? Hanging leg raises don’t even touch the lower abs as most people assume they do. The hanging leg raise actually hits the Sartorius muscle in the leg!
The Sartorius is the longest muscle in the body and it runs from the outer hip to the inner side of the knee, spiraling down the leg. This is the muscle targeted by hang leg raises.
Not all is lost. You can still target the lower abs. You see, your lower spine can flex a small amount so you can zone in more on lower ab work. The trick is to roll your hips up.
So, rather than doing hang leg raises and working your longest leg muscle, do hanging knee raises. When you do a hanging knee raise, lift your knees up and then roll your hips upward to get a good crunch on your lower abs. This isn’t an easy exercise, but with continual training you will be able to master some good quality sets and build a stronger lower ab region and eliminate that lower belly pooch.
Build a Solid Muscle Base (This is important… A MUST Do for Etched Abs)
If you want those finely detailed, etched abs, you need to build your ab muscles. Your basic crunches only won’t do the trick. You have to add resistance. Don’t worry though. Many figure competitors fear adding resistance to their ab workout, fearing it will build thick and bulky abs. It won’t. You can build your ab muscles to a certain degree, but they won’t grow the same as other muscle groups such as you biceps. By adding resistance to your abs you can sculpt them, creating those defining sexy lines you see on the top figure competitors.
To polish off your abs be sure to include ab resistance training such as cable crunches, machine crunches with weight added, decline crunches holding a weight plate, etc. These exercises will help build the muscle to burn off belly fat so your etched abs can show.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that some of the best figure competition ab exercises are unique and not what you would imagine, but that’s why figure competitors have such great physiques and abs. They do the ab training that actually work the ab muscles the right way!
Since these are some of the best ab workouts I challenge you to give them a try. You’ll feel and see the difference in your abs in just days.
Now That You Know 3 of The Best Ab Exercises… You Need To Check This Out…
Now, if you want more tips and information to really increase the intensity of your training program, you need to get a copy of “Figure Competition Secrets.” It is the Best-Selling figure prep eBook online and rated #1 at ClickBank. It comes with 4 phases of training to take you right to your show. With FCS at your side, you will never be at a loss and always have a training program to take to the gym.
Karen Sessions – Figure Coach
(Article, 3 of the Best Ab Exercises for Figure Competitors, Written by Karen Sessions)