How You Should Train Your Abdominal Muscles

The easiest way to develop visible abdominal muscles is also a breakthrough in bodybuilding science.

This might come as a shock to some of you, but the last thing you should do for a six-pack is crunches. According to experts the only reason you may want to do crunches is to improve the size of your abs. The thing is, we all have abdominal muscles, even the most obese people amongst us. Think about it, active children often develop a six pack during their childhood without doing a single crunch, and the same goes for many adults that refrain from eating sugar and refined carbohydrates. You may have heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”, diet is really more important than working out if you want a shredded torso. Additionally, crunches often do more harm than good and they’re not even the most effective exercise for a flat stomach. If you effectively want to develop a 6-pack you should do the exact opposite of a situp.

Research shows that the ‘ball roll-out’ exercise, which originates from Switzerland is much more effective and safe for creating hard and visible abs. In this exercise, you place your fists on a fitness ball and extend forward. Unlike crunches, this swiss exercise is beneficial to your spine, and next to growing your abdominal muscles the ball roll-out also develops your lower-back muscles.

Swiss-Ball Rollout Exercise

However, this exercise isn’t some new scientific invention by some professor, it’s just a dynamic version of the classic plank, one of the most popular ab exercises. The thing is, when you do a sit-up or crunch you are bending your spine. When you do a plank or ball rollout you’re bracing it, this makes a lot of difference. Any exercise that makes your abdominals stiffer puts you in the position to generate more power in your hips, which makes you more explosive and efficient. Furthermore, it’ll improve your physique. Several studies report that the Swiss roll-out and planks are 25% more effective in creating abs than crunches or sit-ups. I guess you now know what exercises to perform to get the most out of your gym time?

If you’re still a fan of regular crunches you might want to hear what Dr McGill from Waterloo University has found out in regards to the crunch. According to his research on influential Kinesiology, crunches can permanently damage your spinal discs if done wrong. When McGill decided to measure the forces placed on the spine during crunches he noted that they were so high that they were capable of causing a herniated disc.

By now you’re likely convinced that planking is the way to go. If you don’t have access to a fitness ball for a roll out a regular plank is a great alternative. Basic planks are more difficult than you might imagine.

plank

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You perform a regular plank by placing your toes and forearms on the floor, shoulders blades pulled and down while keeping your body straight ( be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees). Once you are able to hold a plank for longer than 90 seconds with ease it’s time to increase the difficulty with a more challenging version of the plank such as the side-plank.

Pro tips:

  • Plank in front of the mirror, this helps you keep good form
  • Use a supplement (shop here) that increases your muscle to fat ratio so your abs show quicker
  • Add the 5 exercises from the video below for a full body workout: