• Ciaran O’Connell

Stop leaving abs until the end of your workout

It’s become a normal thing to do, adding an abs circuit to the end of your workout in the attempt to leave the gym feeling like you’ve got a ripped 6 pack.

Your abdominals are just like any other muscle. So why are they being left until the end of a workout (if you can be bothered to do them by then).

Instead, they should be trained in the same manner you train your chest / back / shoulders / legs etc.

Give dedicated time to focus on the movement occurring in the abdomen. Mix your core exercises in with your compound lifts and you’ll be laughing.

I say ‘core’ exercises because there is a different between ab and core exercises.

Exercises that target the abs tend to involve a form of spinal flexion and occur from a laying down position. All that’s happening during these exercises is a curvature of the spine and some tension on the abdominals.

Core exercises however, involve a lot more effort. The core itself is everything from your neck to your hips. That is the core of you. The core is used to stabilise us in day to day life, from carrying shopping to balancing on one leg to reach something.

Exercises that involve a level of stabilisation, rotation, anti-rotation, tension, or control will work your core hard. This is why compound exercises are so highly favoured by anyone with a good 6 pack - they know the value of exercises that work the core.

Instead of your workout looking something like this:

  • Bench press

  • Lat pull down

  • Shoulder press

  • Seated row

  • Bicep curls

  • Tricep extensions

  • Ab circuit

Try something like this:

  • Bench press

  • Paloff press

  • Pull up

  • Deadbug

  • Military press

  • Hanging leg raises

  • Bent over row

  • Farmers carry

Treat all muscle groups the same if you want to grow them.

They require specific attention, not off a whim as a circuit of the same form of spinal flexion.

Of course, all of this is pointless for showing the abs if you’ve not got low enough body fat. In order to achieve that, be in a calorie deficit.

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