15) Don’t Do Anything Stupid
Maintaining proper form will help you develop your abs more effectively and ward off injury.
- Curl your spine—don’t lock it flat. Maintaining a flat back is good for just about every other exercise in the gym, but not for ab training.
- Relax your hip flexors (upper thighs) when doing decline crunches. Pulling through your hip flexors reduces the tension on the abdominals.
- Don’t pull on your head when doing bodyweight ab movements; this disrupts spinal alignment.
16) Skip The Shortcuts
You want to increase the stress on a muscle, not decrease it. Here are a few ways to make a movement more difficult:
- Hold the peak contraction for a long count rather that immediately going into the negative rep.
- Slow down your rep speed; use a smooth, deliberate speed of movement to minimize momentum.
- When doing ab exercises on the floor, never let your shoulder blades touch down between reps, which momentarily takes tension off the muscle.
17) Don’t Try To Out-Train A Bad Diet
Abs aren’t made in the kitchen—they’re made by hard work in the gym. But they show as a result of what you eat in the kitchen.
You can train abs every single day, 10 times a day, but if your diet looks like shit you’re never going to see those abs. They may be there, but they’re going to be hidden by fat.
18) Burn Extra Calories With Hiit
I can get my abs to show without stepping on a single cardio machine. For most people who are looking to lower their body-fat levels, however, aerobic exercise can tip the balance so you’re running a daily caloric deficit.
In terms of types of cardio, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is superior because it enables you to burn far more total calories—both while you’re working and up to 24 hours afterward—than steady-state cardio.
Tabata training is done similar to HIIT: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off. Whether you’re doing weights or cardio, Tabata-style training can be an effective fat burner. And we won’t even get into the boredom factor of sitting on a machine for an hour.