Ab Strengthening Workout

Introduction

In this ab strengthening workout, we mainly focus the development and strengthening of the abdominal muscles.

As seen in the exercise table layout below, this is not your typical 2-exercise abs workout, but it rather consists of well-chosen exercises that are different from one another.

That way, we ensure that we will hit every single muscle group in the desired area and develop physical qualities that are more than just simple contractions.

For example, you will stretch and isometrically target your abdominal area with the last exercise- The wheel rollout.

Workout Priorities

To start off and warm up our abdominal area, we do 3 light sets of floor crunches. That allows us to activate the primarily targeted (prioritized) muscle group- The Rectus Abdominis.

From then on, we move on to weighted exercises to develop strength qualities and we finish off with an exercise that primarily focuses on the balance and targets the neighboring muscle groups as well.

Overall, the goal and main priority of this workout is to condition your abs, however, overall core development is also one of the priorities for this ab strengthening workout.

Exercises

Exercise Sets Repetitions
Floor crunch 3 12
Weighted hanging leg-hip raise 2 12
Cable kneeling crunch 2 15
Wheel rollout 2 Until failure

Exercise Map

Floor Crunch

floor crunches

Execution

  • Lay down on the floor
  • Get your heels closer to your butt
  • Place your arms behind your head
  • Crunch up, without letting your lower back get off the floor
  • Contract the abdominal muscles and hold the contraction briefly
  • Get back to the initial position and repeat

Note
Avoid lifting your lower back off of the ground and crunching all the way up, as that will put excessive tension on your lower back vertebrae.

Weighted Hanging Leg-Hip Raise

weighted hanging leg hip raise

Execution

  • Pick an appropriate weight and place the dumbbell in front of you
  • Grab the bar at about shoulder width and hang freely
  • Grab the dumbbell between your feet and keep your legs completely straight
  • Lift your legs up, letting the hips go forward whilst contracting your abdominal muscles
  • Hold the contraction briefly, then slowly let your legs return to the initial position, without letting the dumbbell fall down
  • Repeat

Cable Kneeling Crunch

cable kneeling crunch

Execution

  • Set up a rope on the higher pulley and grab it with an overhand grip
  • Kneel down and keep your hips slightly back
  • Keep the rope in front of your face with your arms static
  • Crunch with your upper body and contract the abdominal muscles
  • After holding the contraction for a brief second, return to the initial position slowly
  • Repeat

Kneeling Wheel Rollout

kneeling wheel rollout

Execution

  • Kneel down and grab the wheel, placing it in front of you
  • Keeping your back straight and balancing on your knees and arms, move forward slowly
  • Feel the stretch in your abdominal area and roll out as far as you can
  • Roll back into the initial position, keeping tension on the abdominal muscles
  • Repeat

Note
If you can’t roll out all the way initially, start off with shorter roll outs.

Workout Tips

Step-by-Step

As mentioned, some of the exercises are more difficult, including the ones where we use weight. If you are a beginner or an intermediate trainee who has little to no experience with these exercises, go light.

For example, for the weighted leg raises, start off with a very insignificant weight and learn to control it. From then on, slowly increase the weight and engage the abdominal musculature more, until it gets easy to control the movement.

Same goes for the last exercise- Make small increases of the distance endured.

Warm Up Properly

As this workout includes weighted exercises, as well as bodyweight stretches, it is recommended to do a proper warm up of the whole body and especially the core area (abs, obliques)

Through the first exercise, this is the exact effect we achieve; however, we recommend doing ~5 minutes of steady state cardio at a low pace, in order to get the blood going throughout the whole body.

Timing the Workout

Another recommendation of ours would be to do this workout at the end of your back workouts.

That is simply because the Rectus Abdominis, or in other words, the six-pack, is basically the antagonist of the lower back, meaning it would be a good idea to target opposing muscle groups within a single workout.

On top of that, some of the movements in the exercise table, such as the wheel roll-out and the hanging leg raises, stretch out the back pretty well. And you don’t want a stiff back, do ya?

Avoid Overdoing this Workout

You might be thinking “if this workout is good, doing it a thousand times will be the best”, but that is not quite true. If you want a defined belly, keep in mind that what matters most is your body fat percentage.

To get the best out of this workout, we recommend doing it once or twice a week.

Conclusion

This workout primarily focuses on building strength in the abdominal area, with the included weighted exercises. Other benefits that this workout provides are core stability and overall abdominal development.

The workout should not be done excessively and should be rather controlled. Transitioning slowly into the new exercises is of prime importance, if you want to avoid injuring yourself.

Before moving into any heavy weights, which, by the way are not necessarily required for the abs, make sure to learn the proper execution of each exercise and gain control.

If you want to favor your back workouts, you can do this set of exercises after training your back. That way, you will target opposing muscle groups, as well as stretch out the back. That in terms, will prevent fatigue and relax the muscle tissue.

Last but not least, don’t forget to compliment your body with nutrition, because after all- Every single workout, especially one with weights involved, requires proper recovery. And that recovery comes from nutrition and proper rest times between workouts.

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