A lean, deeply-chiseled set of abs is—without fail—right at the top of every M&F reader's wish list. Quite often, the promise of a killer midsection is the only mental motivation they need to push through a tough workout or to chew through another high-protein, low-flavor meal. Yet in a recent poll conducted right here at muscleandfitness.com, an astonishing 46% of you said that abs and obliques are the muscles you tend to slack off on the most.
While diet is certainly the main factor in getting that shredded look in the middle, training your abs with regularity is also important. Regular abs training not only helps you achieve that M&F cover model look, but it boosts your overall core strength, making you stronger on all the lifts that burn the most fat such as the squat, bench and deadlift.
Here are 6 tips to help you conquer your abs neglect.
1. Train abs, calves and forearms together
The big-boy lifts—the ones that build the most muscle—are quite understandably the priority for most guys at the gym. The problem is, once you're finished squatting, leg pressing and benching yourself to complete exhaustion, you probably don't want to dive into an abs session. To remedy this, M&F Fitness Director Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS recommends scheduling one session a week for abs, calves and forearms. "Training all of these bodyparts together in one session ensures that you're attacking them with the utmost intensity," he says. "No need to worry about being too tired to get to them at the end of your workout."
2. Do your abs at home
The good thing about abs is that they can be trained anywhere. "If you find spend some time at night watching television, promise yourself to do abs during all commercial breaks," says M&F Senior Science Editor Jim Stoppani, PhD. Cycle between reverse crunches, oblique crunches and regular crunches for sets of 12-20 reps. You can also do this at the office. Every hour drop to the floor and cycle through these three exercises. (Note: This works best if you have an office with a door, or if you're not concerned about your coworkers thinking of you as a body-obsessed lunatic.)