When Anthony Catanzaro started modeling, his agent criticized him for a lack of abdominal development. Never one to sit back and let opportunity pass him by, Anthony set about building one of the best sets of abs the modeling world has ever seen. High bodybuilding placing's have also suggested Anthony's abs are one of his stand-out muscle groups.
One look at the picture's accompanying this article and it is clear to see his mid-section development is well worth trying to emulate. When Anthony first began training his abs, he worked them every day with the greatest of intensity; such was his desire to build an impressive mid-section.
After developing his great abs, Anthony refined his training approach, to etch greater detail and maintain what he had built. Anthony now trains abs every second day, much the same way he would train a regular body-part - with medium reps over a full range of motion.
According to Anthony, the idea is to train the abs with lower reps to make them feel like they have undergone 50-plus. Anthony also explains that diet is an important variable when it comes to revealing the much sought after, but very seldom acquired, "six-pack". One without the other will not produce results.
Abdominals are one of the more important muscle groups to strengthen, as they help to keep the spine in alignment, and enhance posture as a result. A clearly defined set of abs also suggests one is in top shape - their presence is a great indicator of low body-fat levels.
For bodybuilders, they are an essential prerequisite if placing high is a goal. With Anthony's advice, once again exclusively on Bodybuilding.com, a great set of abdominals will be yours. Remember: first impressions are lasting ones.
[ Q ] Anthony. Describe your current abs training routine.
I love training my abs! It's almost spiritual for me. There is nothing more impressive than razor cut abs! I train them hard every other day for about 20 min.
I start out with broom stick twists; I'll do five minutes straight without stopping. This helps warm my abs up for the attack I'm about to lay out on them!
Then I'll go into decline bench sit-ups and perform them nice and slow for 20 reps, and three sets. Remember, you can do 10 reps of something correctly and it would feel like you did 50 reps. So really focus on what you're doing.
Then I would do some leg raises on that same decline bench. I'll focus on raising the knees toward the chest then slowly back down, with my feet always staying at least 18 inches or more off the ground.
You don't want to lower them all the way down because that would put way to much stress on your lower back. Remember: the pain you need to feel is in your abs, not anywhere else.
Then I would finish off with dumbbell side bends to work the obliques. I would grab two 15 pound dumbbells keeping my legs spread apart as far as possible.
Now with the dumbbells in my hand, slowly lower one side at a time letting the dumbbells rest on the side of my thighs. This really burns your obliques.
I also love to do floor work for abs. I am happy to say that I am involved with the development of a new product at this time, which supports your back.
It is a newly designed piece that I truly feel will take your ab training to new heights. It will be revealed in weeks to come and I can guarantee that it will be apart of everyone's ab training routine, and of course I will be using it religiously... STAY TUNED!
[ Q ] Tony. Were your abs always genetically strong, or have you had to work hard to develop them over the years?
I have to say that my abs were never a strong point of my physique. When I first starting modeling, my agent used to bust my chops about them! He would say "what's your waist 36?" It was really a 32 at that time, but with no definition. Well what did I do?
I looked in the mirror and said "If nobody is going to give me abs I have to earn them". So every single day for one year straight without fail, I trained them with a lot of floor work and by the end of the year I had a 30 inch waist with razor sharp abs. Of course diet played a huge role in it.
[ Q ] What abs training approach has worked best for you?
They are all good. However, you should change it around. One day do floor work, then another day use decline benches and machines for added resistance. Just do what you have to do!
Located between the ribs and the pelvis on the front of the body, the abdominals are among the main "display" muscles, and their importance cannot be overstated.
Essentially, the abs support the trunk region of the upper body, allows movement, and hold organs in place by regulating internal abdominal pressure. Those with weak abdominals will, at some point in their lives, experience serious back pain (the abs support the lower back).
The abdominals are comprised of four muscles:
1. Rectus Abdominis
The rectus abdominis is situated at the front of the pelvis, between the ribs and the pubic bone. This is the main set of muscles one often refers to when they discuss "the six pack", due to its several bumpy ridges, which jut out directly in front of the body.
The rectus abdominis serves to move the body between the ribcage and the pelvis.
2. Transversis Abdominis
This muscle is situated deep within the abdominal complex. Its main role is to maintain internal abdominal pressure, and stabilize the trunk.
3. Internal Obliques
These muscles are located just inside the hip bones, flanking either side of the rectus abdominis. Their role is to twist the body, via their contraction.
4. External Obliques
These also flank the rectus abdominus and function to allow trunk rotation.
[ Q ] Machines or bodyweight exercises: What are best for abs training Anthony?
Well you know me, I love old school exercise's so I would definitely say that your own body weight would be the most natural and effective method.
[ Q ] Do you do any special exercises for intercostals and oblique?
I just hit them the same way I would the upper and lower abs. With constant tension.
[ Q ] When designing an abs training routine, what are the main points to be considered? What sort of technique should one use?
The abs are no different than any other muscle group. The only thing is we really don't use our abs in our every day life, like we would our arms or legs. Therefore, the muscles of the abs need to constantly be trained.
The best way to train them is every other day, hitting all of the abdominal muscles. I would recommend purchasing a muscle anatomy chart so you can really see what's underneath the fat.
[ Q ] How many times a week can abs be trained in your view?
I always laugh when people tell me... "Well if I train them every other day, won't I be over-training them".
Those people by the way never have abs, period. They are always looking for an excuse not to workout. Train your abs every other day for 15-20 min with 30-40 seconds rest between sets. I can guarantee you will see results!
[ Q ] What improvements/alterations have you made to your abs program over the years?
I never truly change my routines. I rotate the rep range, resistance, and exercises, but I never fix it if it isn't broken.
I truly believe in the basics, and that goes for everything in my life. I have always found that the best things in life are the most simple.
[ Q ] How important are abs in your occupation as a model?
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Like I said before, anybody can flex their arms to show that they're in shape, but the true test lies underneath the T-SHIRT.
[ Q ] What rep ranges are best for abs? High reps or low reps? Why?
I don't believe in the high rep range for anything really. I used to train with 30-50 reps even more so sometimes the results I got were not as good as when I took my time and felt every rep.
The negative part of the exercise is just as important as the positive. Keep your rep range at 12-15 with everything for abs.
Feel the burn in the abs, not your heart racing in your chest from all the reps.
[ Q ] How important is cardio when wanting to reveal the abs?
Cardio is very important! Not just for your abs, but for your entire physique. The whole idea behind seeing your abs is getting the body fat that is covering them off.
Think of it like this, you have a beautiful new corvette in your garage and it is covered, so nobody sees it. What is the point to this?
You see, it's the same thing with your abs. Under the body fat there are these ab muscles just waiting to come out. So cardio along with understanding how to eat to achieve razor sharp abs, is a must.
I have successfully helped thousands of people around the world achieve this with my customized diets, created just for them.
I take out all of the hassle that people have in wondering what they need to eat and what not to eat. It's the best $25.00 investment you can make for life! Just go to anthonycatanzaro.com, to find out more, or to order your very own diet. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!
[ Q ] What, in your opinion, is the best overall ab exercise, and why?
The crunch is the most effective because it targets most of the ab region.
That's why I am so excited with this product that I will be endorsing! It takes the basic crunch as well as many other ab exercises to a whole new level.
How To Perform The Crunch:
Anthony believes in abdominal crunches to etch that superior development.
Here's how to perform the perfect crunch.
- Lie down on a soft surface and bend the knees, so they are facing upwards. Place your hand behind the head or across the chest (advised).
- Flatten lower back against the floor.
- Bring shoulder blades about one or two inches off the floor, and connect the abs.
- As you are coming up, exhale, and keep chin tucked in. Also, keep the neck straight.
- Hold contraction for one second at the top of the movement.
- Lower body back to starting position, without fully relaxing (keep the tension on the abs).
[ Q ] What advice would you give a beginner who wants to develop respectable abs? What are the best exercises?
Hit them every other day with a passion, knowing that you are going to have razor cut abs!
Stick to floor work which involves, broom stick twists, crunches, and bicycles.
[ Q ] In your view, why are abs important from a bodybuilding standpoint? Why are they important in a functional sense?
From a bodybuilding standpoint they are the secret weapon to winning a show. I've seen it over and over. In a close show between two guys with a similar body, the guy with the better abs always wins.
You see, it's the first thing besides your confidence that the judges will see. You can never hide your abs.
In a functional sense they are important because when you are on your back, and find it hard to get up or if you are bending over to tie your shoe, and you can't do this it's usually because of your GUT.
It also wouldn't hurt your sex life to have ripped abs...TRUST ME!
[ Q ] Could you provide five abs training tips?
My five tips for developing razor sharp abs!
- Diet! "That doesn't mean don't eat".
- Drink water, water, and more water! All I can say is that the more water I drink, the better my abs start to look.
- Train them every other day religiously!
- Make them a priority in your training. That means train them first before anything else.
- Know that I had no abs when I started, but I never said "Well I just don't have the genetics for razor sharp ab development" or "I hate training my abs". Don't be one of those people who make excuses.
Remember, you are the master of your physique. That means you are the boss. Now put those abs to work!
[ Q ] Thanks Tony
God Bless, David