Even for the most regular devotees of the gym, a six pack of ripped abs can prove to be elusive. Getting the perfect set of abs involves sticking to some basic principles and banishing many preconceived ideas of how to train your abdominal muscles. The first thing to acknowledge is that you must not try to attain the abs you may have seen on some model you saw in a magazine. The abdominal muscles come in all different shapes and you will achieve your own individual look when achieving your goal successfully. Take a look in the mirror often and admire your progress rather than looking at a poster or in a magazine. Your abs are as unique as your fingerprint. Taking into account that you are getting your nutrition right, then exercise is the easiest part of abdominal development if you follow these effective principles below.
Reps and Recovery
How many repetitions your abs requires is a quite simple concept; rather than hundreds of crunches, repetitions of 12 to 20 are more than adequate. Your abdominal muscles are very adaptable to exercise. Choose 4 to 8 effective exercises in a single session and commit yourself to 12 to 20 repetitions of each exercise, keeping the rest periods short. The rest phase of your workout is crucial to keeping the intensity on your abs and effectively training them. Most of your major body parts need two to four days to recover from intense periods of activity; however the abdominal muscles, along with the calf muscles, recover very quickly. Typically, you can train your abs every other day or three to four times a week. During your ab workouts, you should restrict your rest phase to 30 seconds. If you find some exercise becoming too easy, then add a little weight to the exercise for added resistance. However, by mixing up different exercises during each workout, your abdominal muscles will find it difficult to adapt to your routines.
Technique is also an important factor in your execution of abdominal exercises. Slow movements will really work your abdominal muscle fibers as opposed to using momentum and throwing your torso through a range of motion. Pay as much attention to your motion as you do when trying to squeeze out a repetition of bench press. Slow and controlled movements work the muscle fibers and increases the intensity of the exercise. Remove momentum from the equation and you will achieve greater development of the abdominal muscles. Try focusing on the negative movement of your motion. Whether returning your torso to the floor after a crunch or lowering your legs back down from a hanging leg raise, concentrate on slowing down the negative phase of the movement to recruit your abdominal muscles throughout the entire range of movement.
Ironically, these basic principles are often forgotten in the enthusiasm to workout effectively. Try these basic guidelines for your next AB workout and see if you notice the difference. Remember, focusing on the negative (eccentric portion of the exercise) is like adding an extra 40% effectiveness to your set.