Possessing a slim and tight six-pack for your midsection is key for looking good on the bodybuilding stage, or just at the beach. However, many bodybuilders will train the muscle group like any other. The truth is that the abdominals are built like no other muscle group, and must be trained differently as a result. Let’s examine some of the keys to effective abdominal training. Keep an open mind, as many of these techniques won’t apply to other muscle groups.
If you spent your leg and chest workouts hiding from free weights and relying solely upon the use of Hammer Strength and Nautilus machines to get the job done when it comes to stimulating the muscles, you wouldn’t see all that much muscle growth. However, the use of crunch and leg raise machines, as well as cable crunches, can be very beneficial for abdominal development. Remember, the goal isn’t to move X amount of weight – it’s to deliver a sensational pump to the entire abdominal region.
We’ve always been told to avoid using any heavy weight at all when it comes to abdominal training. However, this actually should only apply to those with naturally wide waists. If you have decent shoulder width and a small waist, and particularly if you are lacking in the muscle department, it may advance your abdominal development greatly to use some weighted crunches or weighted side bends. If you notice your obliques growing too large, cut back on the weight and they’ll shrink down, just like any other muscle group.
Specific serratus training
If you’re training chest, back, and abdominals regularly, your serratus development should be fine. You’ll know for sure in the closing weeks of your diet when the body fat percentage is low enough for the serratus to emerge. Toss in machine or barbell pullovers a few times each month when training chest or back, and you’ll be fine in the serratus department.
You’re not going to have abs like Ahmed Haider, no matter how hard you train them. You need diet to help bring out new cuts and shape, and make your highly developed abdominal muscles become visible to the eye. There are a lot of people out there with terrific sets of abs that we’ll never see, because they can’t diet down to 6 percent body fat.
As you probably already know, a repetition range of 8 to 12 is ideal for most muscle groups. For complete abdominal development, you need to toss this mantra out the window. Sets consisting of 20 to 50 repetitions are going to be necessary if you want complete abdominal development. Weighted sets of 8 to 12 repetitions aren’t going to give you the midsection you desire!
Use the clock
An old trick of the great Arnold Schwarzenegger was to train abs by the clock, not by the set. A stopwatch set to 20 or 30 minutes should be more than adequate for keeping you on track with training, without spending your time counting sets and reps. Put on some intense music or your favorite television show, and start crunching!