We all want a flatter stomach, more defined abs, or a smaller waist to accentuate that V-taper. So you would think that training abs would be popular, but in reality, a lot of us don't take our ab training very seriously.

If you want perfect abs, you need to train them as intensely as you would any other major muscle group, and you can use this ab finisher to do it. If you've ever trained abs hard, you know it's going to burn, but your efforts will be rewarded when you see the results. You may also notice your other lifts going up a little thanks to having a stronger core to provide stabilization and support.

Beginners can do the first exercise on its own and then the last two as a superset. Advanced athletes should do all three as a triset. Rest 45-60 seconds before you go again. Perform all three exercises four times.

The Ultimate Ab Finisher
Rope Crunch
4 sets, 25 reps
+ 3 more exercises


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Technique Tips

Rope Crunch

The weight on the rope should be light because it's the contraction at the end of the rep that makes this exercise more meaningful. It's tempting to let your arms to do the work as you approach failure, but don't do it. Once you get in position, your arms shouldn't move at all.

Start and end the movement with the midsection, squeezing your glutes and keeping your hips stationary to maintain the focus on your abs, not your hip flexors. Concentrate on pulling your bellybutton in and contracting your abdominals to make the rest of your upper body go forward. Exhale as you crunch, and keep your abs engaged as you slowly go back up. Controlling your speed is an important part of targeting the correct muscles.

Lying Leg Raise

You don't need to go very far to do this exercise—just use a nearby bench or even the floor. With leg raises, you may need to bend your knees slightly to get the full range of motion required to target your abs. Pay attention to your hip flexors and make sure they aren't doing the majority of the work.

Lying Leg Raise

Raise your head and shoulders slightly to activate the abs and get a greater ab contraction with less hip recruitment. If you're on a bench, hold on to the sides to help stabilize your body. Raise your legs to a 90-degree angle, lifting your hips at the end for extra emphasis, and then lower slowly. Try to keep your feet from touching the floor at the end of the rep, which will keep tension on the abs since they won't get a chance to fully relax.

Side Plank

Side planks are growing in popularity because they target the part of your core that helps stabilize and define your waist. This exercise doesn't require a lot of big movement and targets several muscle groups at once, making it the perfect end to a hard workout. Just because you're not moving doesn't mean planks are easy. Holding up your entire body in an isometric contraction is challenging and will force every muscle in your core to work, keeping your abs strong and tight and giving your waist more definition.

Unlike side bends, side planks don't lead to muscle growth and an expanding waist. Use a mirror to help keep your body in the right position. That way your abs will be tight, and you'll get the most out of this simple but effective exercise. Hold each side for 25 seconds, and you're done with one round.

About the Author

Roger Lockridge

Roger Lockridge

Bodybuilding is the reason I am who I am today. I am more confident in myself, actually looking for the next challenge, and inspiring others.

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