3 phase ab routine.
So you want to carve out a glorious six pack and have thicker abs?
Well the first thing that you need to realize is that it is hard work. Once you get there maintaining your shapely abs is even tougher. You need to be realistic about staying in peak condition all year.
It is not just about focussing on the best ab exercises, you need to look into your diet and see if it is working for you. Your ab workouts must be challenging and your diet needs to help you to shed fat and maintain muscle so that you can reveal your thicker abs.
The Best Ab Exercises
There is a lot of misinformation out there about the best way to train your abs and this could be why your abs are failing. Thick abs can be built using direct and indirect exercises. The direct exercises isolate the ab muscles and the indirect ones will increase ab size because they will be stressed.
If you have not done any intense ab workouts for a while it is best that you attack this in 3 phases. Aim to train your abs 3 times a week and follow this routine:
Phase 1 Workout 1
3 sets of decline bench knee raises 12-25 reps per set. This is also known as the reverse crunch and is performed by lying on a decline bench in the opposite position so that your head is higher than your hips.
Then you need to raise your knees and try and touch your elbows with them. Lower your legs to complete the exercise. As this becomes easier you can add resistance bands to your ankles or just use ankle weights.
Then go for 3 sets of the plank exercise. Aim for around 20 to 60 seconds. If you have not done this before it can be difficult at first. Grab a mat and lie down on your stomach. Now you need to support your torso with your elbows and feet (toes).
Hold yourself in this position for as long as you can. Remember to keep your body completely straight.
Phase 1 Workout 2
Do 3 sets of the good old fashioned sit up. Go for 12 – 25 reps of this exercise. If you don’t know how to do a sit up properly shame on you! Lie on a mat and find a heavy object to stop your feet lifting. Put your hands alongside your head so that they are just touching.
Then pull your elbows towards your knees so they are about to touch. Go back down again but don’t let your upper back touch the floor.
The second exercise is the side plank and you should do 3 sets of 25 – 60 seconds a set. You do this by laying on your side with one hand on the floor and feet on top of each other. Raise your hips so that your body is straight.
Hold this for as long as you can. Your obliques and abs will really benefit from this and if you do it properly you should feel it. The trick with this is keeping your body straight.
Phase 1 Workout 3
Do standing cable crunches for 3 sets of 12 – 25 reps. Use a rope here and hold the ends of it above your shoulders near the upper chest. Bend your knees slightly and crunch down and try to touch your thighs with your elbows.
Then do 3 sets of 12 – 25 reps of barbell wheel rollouts. Kneel down and put your hands on a bar with 25 pound plates. Roll the bar forward slowly until you achieve a near horizontal position and then roll the bar back to start again.
Phase 2 Workout 1
Start with 2 – 5 sets of weighted sit ups and aim for 12 – 25 reps per set. This is just a normal sit up with a weight or dumbbell placed on your abs. Next go for 2-5 sets of the plank exercise but this time try and hold for 1 – 2 minutes.
Round off with a hanging V style leg raise, 2 – 5 sets again and 12 – 25 reps. This is done by hanging from the pull ups bar and raising your legs until they are parallel with the floor. Then you form a V shape with your legs and bring them back together and return to start again.
Phase 2 Workout 2
Go for 2 – 5 sets of a weighted decline bench knee raise with 12 – 25 reps. Then do the side plank exercise again for 3 sets this time aiming to hold for 1 – 2 minutes. Finish up with 2 – 5 sets of the barbell wheel rollout with 12 – 25 reps per set.
Do sit up stand up for 3-5 sets and 12 – 25 reps. Start in the normal sit up position with your knees bent. Then thrust your glutes in the direction of your heels while attempting to stand. When you get proficient at it add resistance.
Next is the walking plank again for 3 sets and you want to hold for 1 – 2 minutes. Assume the static plank position and move one of your arms slightly forward and then the other. Slide your feet up keeping your body straight.
Now go for 3 – 5 sets of the weighted Roman chair sit up for 12 – 25 reps. You need to place your glutes on the highest point of the Roman chair pad and then holding a dumbbell, lean back until you reach a horizontal position.
Finish this workout with 3 – 5 sets and 12 – 25 reps of the hanging V style leg raise.
Reps are relative to your training experience. Sometimes 12 is just too easy so increase the number or add weight.