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The Best smart way to sculpt a six-pack

The fitness industry is a crazy business, especially when it comes to abs. For example, if you want to reveal your six-pack.

Everyone wants to have a great physique, and whether male or female the number one area of the body most people want to improve the most is their midsection. Whether you're a female who simply wants to flatten and tighten your tummy, or you're a male who wants to lose the belly belly and carve out some awesome abs, we all want our midsections to be slimmer, tighter and more attractive.

Most people go about developing lean abdominals and sculpting an athletic six-pack the wrong way. I get frustrated when I see males and females in the gym working hard but not working correctly to achieve their goals.

I've lost count of the number I've had times in a gym and see a guy crunch up and down quickly without control then quit when their lower back gives in, well before their abs has been asked to any work of substance whatsoever.

Minimise momentum

The incline bench reverse crunch is a foundation exercise to the hanging leg raise because it focuses on the lower abs. The reason I like this exercise is that people can focus hard on their abs and take out any swinging from their hips.  If you watch most people performing the hanging leg raise, they’re swinging back and forth and certainly not making a meaningful contraction. If this sounds like you then starting with the reverse crunch is essential.

Place the bench at a 30-degree incline, lie on your back with your hands over head holding onto the bench. Bring your knees up until your thighs are bent at right angles. This is the start and end position of the exercise, and in between there should be no swinging at all. The objective is to lift your knees to your chest, flexing your abdominals as hard as you can. As you lower your legs, the tension should be placed maximally on your abs at all times. Done right  you’ll find this exercise very hard indeed, and you’ll see why I use it prior to the hanging leg raise.

The right reps and tempo

When it comes to training frequency I get most people to train their abs at least twice per week. Beginners will do mainly foundational exercises, while advanced clients and athletes will perform the more advanced versions. For rep ranges, most people aren’t strong enough to train their abs properly for high-rep sets. I like to always start off with three or four sets in the 10 to 12 rep range, so long as they can keep 100% tension on their abs. And I keep the tempo pretty slow: I’m a big fan of tempos around 3030 or 2020 when training abs. Using slow tempos ensures pure focus on the abs through the concentric and eccentric phase of each movement.

You need to get lean

The truth is that you will only start to see your abs when you are lean enough.  It’s common for many people train their abs year round and never get a six-pack, because it’s covered in a layer of belly fat. If you’re going to put so much effort into training your abs, put the same level of effort into getting lean, otherwise you’ll never get to see all your hard work in the gym pay off.

 Develop The RIGHT Attitude First!

You must accept the fact that fat loss is difficult. Remember, fat loss (removing the fat from your midsection) is the most important element in achieving your six-pack or tightly sculpted midsection. So, you must accept that fat loss is hard, because when you do you will approach your fat loss training and abdominal development much more seriously and begin to focus on what you need to do in order to achieve your goals.

Too many people assume that they should be able to develop great abs because they go to the gym 3-4 times per week and work hard, doing lots of direct ab work, yet the rest of the week they don’t address other areas of their life that will impact on their physiques, such as nutrition, adequate sleep, stress, etc. These are people who haven’t developed the right mindset and people who aren’t taking their fat loss and abdominal development goals seriously enough. Nothing comes easy, and going to the gym and training hard 3-4 times a week, doing lots of crunches just isn’t going to cut it.