How To Train Your Abs Properly

Training your abs properly is a misunderstood concept, which leaves almost everyone confused about what exercises work best.

I’ve experienced this myself and can relate to the problem, but understanding the anatomy of the abdominal muscles and understanding how to train each area will benefit your results greatly.

For aesthetics and proper functionality, abdominals need specific targeted training.

If you want to have standout abdominals then you can not rely on the popular misinterpretation you have probably heard someone, somewhere say something like this:

“You use your abdominals with each exercise you do by engaging them, so you don’t need to train them”

Have you ever seen anyone with a great set of abdominals say this? (Unless they are trying to sell you some bullshit)

Direct training of the abdominals is imperative.

The Four Main Abdominal Muscle Groups

Transverse Abdominis – Deepest muscle underneath the visible abdominals. Main attribute is to stabilise the trunk.

Rectus Abdomonis – Better known as the 6 pack. Does some other technical stuff you don’t care about, but ultimately the set that people look to improve the most to look attractive.

External Oblique – Muscles running down the side of the rectus abdominals. These muscles allow the trunk to move in twisting motions.

Internal Oblique – Located inside the hipbones down the side of the rectus abdominus. Also assist in the twisting motion of the core.

Exercises To Target All Areas Of The Abdominals

Training the abdominals needs variation, volume and intensity.

Transverse And Rectus Abdominis:

  • Crunch Variations
  • Sit up Variations
  • Plank Hold
  • Hollow Body Holds
  • Lying/Hanging Leg Raises

External And External Obliques:

  • Side Planks
  • Russian Twists
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Lying/Hanging Twisting Leg Raises

How Many Sets & Reps?

Depending on your own level of conditioning, this will vary depending on each individual.

If you are <20% body-fat then you should read my article on The Truth About Abs before you start a planned abdominal routine.

If you are >20% body-fat then use the following points:

  • Choose 2 exercises from each of the exercise columns provided above
  • Aim to complete 3-4 sets of 20-30 reps of each exercise (For plank holds aim for 30 seconds to 1 minute dependant on your conditioning)
  • Do this 3-4 times a week at the start or end of your workout, or separately when suitable for your schedule
  • Try to choose different exercises each time you train for variation and to stop you from becoming bored.

Contact me via the contact form, drop me an email or drop me a message via Facebook Messenger if you do need any further assistance.

I can design a specific training programme personally specialised to you.

A Final Word

No abdominals can be built effectively without the correct nutrition.

Do not expect to eat like shit and outwork your diet. It never works.

>>For more information, training programmes and training tips visit my website

Published by Thomas Jackson Smith

Personal Trainer. Qualified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Exercise Referral specialist, Football coach and entrepreneur. Interested in health and fitness, exercise prescription, football, nutrition, injury prevention, recovery and mindset improvement. Any views are my own and from my own experience. Looking to build links within the blog community, replying to feedback and offering support so we can learn and grow together!

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