7) Use Resistance For Maximum Results
Almost every ab movement I do is with added resistance. Resistance movements allow you to train in lower rep ranges, which better breaks down the muscle fibers. In my opinion, the biggest mistake people make when training abs is doing too many reps with no added weight, such as bodyweight exercises. You need resistance if you want to thicken up the six-pack and create that shadow on your midsection.
8) Work The Transverse Abdominis
I’d say the most underrated exercise is the vacuum pose that works the transverse abdominis, a foundation muscle that’s not visible. Think of a plank done standing, Frank Zane-style.
You suck your belly button in to the back of your spine, which helps increase the strength of that foundational wall. It’s just pulling your abs in and holding it. That’s really about the mind-muscle connection. You can even consciously pull in your inner abdominal wall and try to actually squeeze it back to your spine as you complete almost any exercise.
For example, when I’m doing triceps press-downs, I’m holding that abdominal wall while I’m doing the movement. You can easily do vacuums between sets of larger muscle groups, but you should do them in addition to direct ab exercises.
9) Always Strive To Improve On What You Did Before
Building in progression is just as important in ab training as with any other body part. Don’t just do 3 sets of 15 reps over and over. Strive to do more reps each workout; as you get stronger, increase the amount of resistance.
10) Give Your Abs Adequate Time To Recover
I don’t think it’s wise to do direct ab movements every single day because there’s no time for recovery and growth. While the abs are a fairly small muscle group that recover quickly, I favor a three-times-a-week approach, or about every 48 hours. Remember, they’re getting indirect stimulation through other exercises, so three direct ab workouts a week is a good starting place if they’re a weak point. If they’re not, I’d say just 1-2 times.