10. Breathing: It is often preached to exhale on the contraction and inhale on the negative portion of the repetition. However, you can produce stronger muscular contractions by holding your breath during ab exercises. For example, try exhaling only after you've nearly reached completion of the exercise.
9. Concentration: Michaelangelo did not sculpt his masterpieces with his eyes closed, so what makes you think you can sculpt abs with your eyes closed. As hard as it might be, look at your abs during the exercise. Not only does this improve concentration, but raising the head or shoulders during some exercises causes greater resistance which in return leads to greater muscle growth.
8. Body Fat: Everyone has abs, some people don't see them because there is a layer of fat around your waist. On the days you are not lifting, try some cardio and look into some thermogenics. There are many articles on fat loss on Bodybuilding.com, so look through them and determine which diet and exercise routine will work best for you.
7. It's quality, not quantity that counts: For those of you who can pump out 1000 crunches in 5 minutes, here's a toast and a tip of the hat. but I really don't care. Train the abs like every other muscle. I only give my abs 8 repetitions of each exercise and they look pretty good, I think. Training your abs for long distance repetitions will only be training their endurance, not their strength - and it's the strength that shows.
6. Feel the searing burn: Although you do not necessarily have to feel the burn on every repetition to know that you're stimulating muscle growth, it's a good mental factor to feel some resistance. For resistance, wrap leg weights around your ankles, do sit-ups with a weight on your chest, cancel out regular crunches and do weighted, overhead pull-down crunches on a weight bench.
5. Abs don't cost money: Return that sh*t you bought from that television commercial that aired at 3:00 in the morning. To train abs, you do not need one of those roller things or special contraptions. The products on television are good, but only to a certain point meaning that there is little room for added resistance. All you need is a mat and something to hang from to get great chiseled abs.
4. Lower Abs: Leg raises are a favorite lower ab exercise of mine. Yes, once you hit a certain point, the resistance might be gone but, never fear because there are different variations and movements that you can do to excite muscle growth. For instance, try doing leg lifts off a higher bench, thus increasing the total movement you have to do to get one repetition. Another tip for leg raises is at the very top of the movement (where you body looks like an "L") try to touch the ceiling with your toes without lifting your shoulders off the bench. What this does is incorporate two exercises into one movement and also adds a punch at the end.
3. Mid Section Abs: I have totally neglected the standard sit up for training abs. Instead, I replaced the standard mid section routine with an oblique routine. You can read more about this in my previous article Awesome Abs. Fact is, is that you really don't need to directly train the middle abs, you know, the section between your lower and upper abs. Training lower, obliques and upper abs will undoubtedly hit the mid section without you knowing it.
2. Upper Abs: Again, I rarely. I mean once in a blue moon, do regular crunches. I do not like the fact that you can exceed 8 repetitions without adding weight. So for the upper abs, I do several sets of weighted overhead pull down crunches. The upper abs are probably the hardest to stimulate. But just focus and concentrate on them throughout the exercise.
1. If you want them, act like you got them: It may sound stupid, but after you complete a full set, pose and contract your abs. Yes, I said it, pose! As long as your mom doesn't catch you posing in the mirror, it will be all good. Posing contracts the muscles further and helps separate the muscles to give them that more defined, ripped look.