Why Ab Workouts For Beginners Are So Important?

If you take 10 random gym goers and ask them why they are there, 9 out of 10 of them will tell you they want a 6 pack.  This is fine and all but without excellent ab workouts for beginners, your progress is going to hit a wall. 

You see, a strong core is a healthy core.  And a healthy core is not just about muscle and definition, it is about movement. 

Getting a six pack is very simple in logic.  Just eat less calories than you are taking in and lift weights. 

Pretty simple!

But to BUILD a REAL six pack takes a lot more than just a good diet.  It takes a good workout. 

In this article I am going to share with you just how ab workouts for beginners should be done. 

The Difference Between A Real Six Pack And A Fake One

What do I mean by a real six pack? 

Your abs are muscles and muscles have a function.  In the case of the abs, their function is to stabilize the spine during heavy lifting and rotation.

If an individual is training their abs the right way, their abs will literally look like body armor.  And in a way, that is kind of what they are supposed to be. 

But most ab workouts for beginners make you just do endless amounts of crunches, sit ups and planks.

This will make your abs grow bigger, but it WILL NOT make them any stronger. 

Just look at the lifters who train heavy all the time with fake six packs.  They need to wear a lifting belt all the time for every exercise that requires a strong and stable core. 

I have nothing against using a lifting belt, but it should not be used all of the time. 

What Ab Workouts For Beginners Should Be Focusing On

A good ab workout always places an emphasis on good movement and function FIRST.  Followed by muscle growth and aesthetics SECOND.

Proper Function

Being all show and no go won’t help you when the shit hits the fan!

So with that said, lets focus on the first priority of your ab workout: Movement!

Phase 1: Proper Breathing

Learning to use your abs properly is like learning to walk again.  You need to pay attention to yourself at all times and catch yourself when you are making mistakes. 

The first and biggest mistake most of you will make is not breathing correctly.

I have already written an article on how to breathe properly for stronger abs, so I wont go into too much detail here.  But getting stronger abs all starts with the breath. 

Abdominal Breathing

Fortunately, there is a simple exercise you can do at the beginning of your ab workouts to get the most benefit. 

Lie down face up on the ground and place a kettlebell on your belly.  As you inhale, take a deep breath and forcefully push the kettlebell up with your belly. 

When you exhale, let the air out of your belly but keep your abs a tight as you can. 

Otherwise the kettlebell will really start to dig into you. 

Perform this for about 20-30 breaths at the beginning of every ab workout and you will surely feel your abs firing.

Phase 2: Proper Movement   

Once the abs are activated, we need to focus on getting the correct movement patterns activated. 

Movements are like muscles, they need repetition and practice in order to really work. 

For the abs, the most important movement they perform is spinal stabilization.  This means we need to concentrate on the obliques and the transverse abdominus. 

Hard Style Plank

The obliques stabilize the spine as we bend over and twist.  To activate them we need to perform the hard style plank.

Planks 

This plank was first introduced by Pavel in his book Hard Style Abs.  In his book, Pavel mentioned that a plank should be performed by squeezing the core as hard as possible while trying to move the floor apart. 

In other words, you want to get into the standard plank position, but push your elbows into the ground and pull them towards your feet.  Also pull your feet towards your elbows. 

You aren’t actually moving, but the result is isometric warfare.  Your abs will fire like crazy.

Watch this video with Bret Contreras to learn more:

Perform the hard style plank for at least 2-3 sets of 10-15 seconds each.

Hollow Body Holds

Next is the transverse abdominus.  This muscle is very tricky because it helps to stabilize the lower back during high tension movements. 

If this muscle is weak or under-activated, then an injury is lurking right around the corner.  Especially during heavy lifting exercises (squat, deadlift, etc.)

To activate, lie down flat and push your belly button into the floor as hard as possible.  Now try to lift your knees into your chest. 

Next, try to stick one leg out.  Now both legs.  Try bringing both hands overhead as well.  This is the hollow body hold. 

Throughout all of the steps mentioned above you want to make sure that you are pushing your belly button into the ground as hard as possible. 

When looking from the side your lower back will look completely flat on the ground. 

If the lower back comes up at all then you need to start over and regress back a step or two so you can hold the position longer. 

You want to hold this position for at least 30 seconds.  Ideally, you should work up to doing it for one minute.

If you have trouble, be sure to watch the following video for assistance:

 

Phase 3: Training

Hanging Leg Raises

You’ll be happy you went through all of the prep work in the earlier phases because your ab training will become turbocharged. 

With your abs all activated and firing, you will maximize function and growth like never before. 

Now you no longer are using typical ab workouts for beginners.  You are now using ab workouts for professionals. 

Almost every major compound exercise works your abs in some way, but if you really want the maximum training, you got it. 

Here are some of the more effective ab exercises you can use in your ab workout:

  • Dragon Flags
  • Standing Crunches
  • Straight Leg Sit Ups
  • Bear Crawls
  • Hanging Leg Raises
  • Toes To Bar
  • Ab Wheel Rollouts
  • Saxon Side Bends
  • L-Sit
  • Reverse Crunches
  • Prone Leg Tucks
  • Ball Exchanges

These are just a short list of some of the exercises that you can perform. 

Whichever you choose doesn’t really matter, just pick at least 3-4 of them and for each one do 3-4 sets of as many reps as possible. 

The prep work is what counts the most.  Don’t let the latest flashy exercise distract you from getting results.  Stay focused and disciplined. 

The power of the content in this short article will save THOUSANDS of hours of trial and error.

Remember something, a successful person is not someone who knows all of the answers, but someone is is not afraid to search for them and use them. 

Conclusion

Most ab workouts for beginners on the web will focus on silly redundant exercises that you see in all of the flashy magazines.  All of them selling you on the idea that getting abs is a simple as performing these five flashy, pretty boy exercises. 

Well I hate to tell you, but that is not at all true.  Building real abs is like building any other muscle in the gym.  It requires a sound training plan by someone who actually cares about getting YOU results.

If you follow the advice in this article, you will get results period. 

A solid training plan built on science, not fashion, is what will lead you to victory. 

With that said, until next time, good luck and go get it!       

         


Tony G
Tony G

Anthony is a fan of all things gym related. Growing up very overweight and out of shape, Anthony whipped himself into shape and stunned his entire community becoming a "fitness guru". Tony then set his sights on strength sports (Weightlifting/Powerlifting/Strongman) and learned all about body mechanics, mobility work and injury prevention. Tony found his true love in the strength sports, particularly Olympic Weightlifting. He earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from Fitchburg State University in Exercise and Sports Science. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the NSCA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.