You can't just lift heavy, hoping they will grow, because no one wants big abs. Look at the guys in the magazines - sure their abs are defined, but they stick out past their chests! Who wants that? This is due to steroid abuse (otherwise known as 'roid-belly').
If you want to learn how to develop great abs - abs so deep you can hold quarters between them, and ladies (or guys) flock over - keep reading.
Body Fat Levels
The most important thing about how nice your abs are is your body fat level. If you don't have under 8-10% body fat, no one's going to be able to see your abs, no matter how many crunches you do. Just look at some of the inexperienced people in your gym!
They do 100's of crunches hoping to get better abs. It's just not happening, there's too much fat. To be able to see your abs, you need to reduce body fat. This means dieting, cardio, and (if you have the money) a good ECA stack. Check out my article on 'cutting up' to learn how to lose all that fat.
Again, you'll see a lot of guys doing 100's of crunches and situps every day. For one, this is ineffective, and two, it's overtraining. It is very easy to overtrain your abs since many don't think of ab training like they do training their chest. Next, you don't want big abs that stick out like a pot belly. You want flat abs with deep lines in between them.
Decline Weighted Sit-Ups
Decline Weighted Sit-Ups are one of the best ways to develop the line that runs down the center of your abs.
This will tear your abs to pieces (when done correctly). To do them, adjust a situp bench to where it is on about a 30 degree incline. Hold a bar (start out with an unweighted bar, or a wooden pole - something that only weighs about 1-2 lbs) behind your neck and, keeping your back straight, very slowly lower yourself to where your back is just off the bench.
Then slowly come back up to where your body is parallel with the floor. The idea is to go really slow. The slower you lower yourself, the more it is going to work your abs. You should feel a deep tightness when doing this, not like the average crunch burn. Do about 10-20 reps, or to failure.
Decline Sit-Ups (Shown Without The Weight).
My next favorite exercise is leg lifts. Again, these aren't your conventional leg lifts, where you are doing everything fast and not getting any results.
Lie on a declined sit up bench with your legs toward the floor (yeah, its hard to describe, but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about). At a moderate speed, bring your legs and butt up and off the bench.
Slowly lower your legs keeping your toes pointed. Try not to let your butt touch the bench at all (this will be the most difficult part, but when done right will give you the greatest ab pump). I'm always sore from these the next day.
Variation & Form
The most important part of ab training is variation and form. Without proper form you can do 1000's of reps and still get nowhere. As for variation, I switch up my exercises every two weeks.
Sample Ab Routine
- Leg Lifts - 2 sets x 20 reps
- Failure Ab Crunches - 1 set*
- Decline Weighted Sit-Ups - 2 sets x 12 reps
- Roman Chair Lifts - 1 x 40
*Failure crunches are where you do 20 crunches in perfect form, then take 5 deep breaths, do as many as you can, take 5 deep breaths again, then do as many as you can, and so on until you can only do 5 crunches. Make sure all your reps are in good form, and only use this method once every 2-3 weeks to avoid overtraining and to keep things fresh.
When doing these exercises, make sure you squeeze your abs at the contraction points. This will help to ensure a long- lasting tightness.
A six pack to all!