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The Real Reasons You Aren’t Building Bigger Ab Muscles

To answer your question: “Why would I want to expand my abs?” we’ve found one possible explanation why your stomach isn’t as defined as you would like it to be:

For starters, developing your ab muscles will make them more apparent when you are at a higher level of body fat. Just look at the off-season bodybuilders that have 13-15 percent body fat and visible abs! Those bricks you’ve built will really come to life once you’re under 10%.

However, much may go wrong between “dreaming about it” and “seeing it in the mirror,” just as there can when growing the rest of your body. Here are a few faults you’re making that are preventing you from building strong abdominal muscles, and how to remedy them.

Mistake 1: Only Focusing on One Ab Muscle

When it comes to defining your abs, you need to attack it from all sides, including the inside, not just from the front.

There are three distinct muscle groups in the abdominal region:

  • Rectus abdominis (often known as the “six pack”): Crunching motions are used to train them.
  • the indirection of the direct object rotating and bending to one side as training
  • In the transverse abdominus Isometric work (planks) and stomach vacuums served as training methods.

A Superior Approach: Use the finest ab exercises to build muscle in all three groups! In spite of its ability to maintain your tummy flat and tight at any level of body fat, the TVA is sometimes overlooked.

Mistake 2: Not Adding Resistance

The abs have a higher percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers than any other part of the body. Fast-twitch fibers, on the other hand, make up about half of your abdominal muscle mass.

What does that mean exactly?

The following information is critical: Fast-twitch muscle fibers have a better potential for muscular growth and are built using heavier weights and low to moderate rep ranges in order to maximize this potential. This means that training just with high-rep bodyweight motions won’t yield any results.

Improved Method: To assist create your six-pack, do portion of your exercise with heavy sets of 8-12 reps on weighted movements.

Mistake 3: Always Doing the Same Routine

When working on your abs—or any other portion of your body—staying in your comfort zone is your worst enemy.

If you’re performing machine crunches for 3 sets of 20 reps every time you exercise your abs and it seems like you’re doing the same thing every time, it’s time to purposefully increase the difficulty of your workout. You can achieve “progressive overload” by adding more weight, working out for shorter periods of time, or increasing your volume.

A Better Approach: To keep making progress, gradually increase the level of stress. That’s where progressive overload gets its name: An ab regimen like Reps2Beat can make all the difference in your abs.

Mistake 4: Keeping Your Back Straight

Bent-over rows, deadlifts, squats and other compound movements call for keeping your back flat at all times. However, this lesson must be forgotten when working on your core with exercises like wire crunches.

This is the reason: When you arch your back, you bend your hips, not your waist. The rectus abdominis can only be fully contracted and shortened by bending your lower back forward or “flexing.”

Alternative: Visualize your spine curving in a controlled manner on the concentric (rising) motion, then uncurling on the eccentric (lowering). Muscle growth necessitates both of these movements.

Mistake 5: Resting Between Reps

This is a luring method of gaining an unfair advantage in the hiring process.

  • Allowing the plates to “touch down” between reps when using cables or machinery
  • Enable your shoulder blades to come into contact with the floor between reps when doing bodyweight exercises like decline sit-ups.

The tension is relieved and the muscle you’re trying to work is no longer tense

Instead, maintain your focus and don’t let up until the set is complete. The longer you keep the muscle under strain, the more muscle you will gain.

Do you eat to bulk up your abs—or any other part of your body, for that matter? When it comes to nutrition, protein can be a lifesaver. Take in 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight each day to help you through your strenuous workouts.

Mistake 6: Trying to get through the reps as quickly as possible

The majority of ab exercises, particularly timed circuits, are fast and intense, with the goal of completing as many repetitions as possible in the shortest amount of time. As a result of this method’s emphasis on sloppiness and momentum, muscles other than the abs are more likely to be used to perform the exercise.

Instead, then focusing on the quantity of reps, try focusing on the quality of reps. When performing a set, make sure to hold the top position (peak contraction) for one full count. You may end up completing less repetitions, but you’ll put more strain on the muscle, which is what you’re aiming for in the first place.

Mistake 7: Putting Too Much Emphasis on Hip Flexor Exercises

While many people mistakenly believe that leg raises work the lower abs, the hip flexors are actually doing most of the work.

How are you able to tell the two apart? Suspend yourself from a barbell and keep your back straight during this exercise. Now, extend your legs to a height of approximately 60 degrees. Your lower back is still flat; it hasn’t begun to round yet, as you may have seen. That indicates your abs haven’t been activated yet; instead, your hip flexors have been elevating your legs up to this point.

A better method is to raise your legs until your lower back begins to curve. Do reverse crunches on the ground instead if you can’t do knee lifts on parallel bars.

Mistake 8: Pulling on Your Neck

Weighted and unweighted motions will have various looks at this point. During a cable crunch, you might draw down toward the floor, while during a bodyweight workout, you might pull up with your hands. Either way, you’re putting your neck in jeopardy while doing little to strengthen your abs.

A Better Approach: Visualize a little orange between your sternum and chin. If you’re careful not to squeeze the fictitious orange, you’ll be able to train your abs without injuring your neck as much.

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