ABS 101 – Step by Step Six Pack Plan! (TARGET EVERY AREA)

ABS 101 – Step by Step Six Pack Plan! (TARGET EVERY AREA)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today we’re talking all about the abs, and
I’m going to show you – in what I think is the most definitive video – how you’re
going to get yours to pop, and the best tips that you can apply to your ab training to
make sure you’re getting them to show. Now, let me start off with a couple of things. When we talk about abs we’re not just talking
about the abs alone. I think you’re probably meaning everything
in this region here, and that’s a whole hell of a lot more muscles than just the abdominals. I want to show you how to hit all of these
things, and of course, we’re breaking out the muscle markers to help us do that. One up front caveat that I know we need to
talk about because some people always come around these videos looking for that shortcut. I’m going to tell you right here, to your
face; there is no shortcut when it comes to having your abs show if you refuse to watch
what you’re putting into your mouth. Your diet is going to dictate how well your
abs show every, single time. No matter how much cardio you do you’re
never going to outrun a bad diet. So, if your diet is in check, then you can
start to see all the rewards of watching all these muscles come into play, and into focus
as you start to work them the way I’m going to show you, okay? I want to make sure I cover that. Now, let’s take a look at the anatomy, since
we’ve started talking about it. When we look at the core we have the rectus
abdominus here, which is broken up into however many packs. That damn Jesse has an 8. I seem to have 6. One, two, three, four, five six. Now, the linea alba is the line that runs
right down the middle and sutures across here, which is going to compartmentalize the abs
into those regions. I’m going to show you how you can actually
use that to your advantage in the future to get these abs to pop a little more. We’re going to cover that in a little bit. But besides the rectus abdominus, this muscle
runs this way. The fibers of this muscle run up and down. That means through flexion and extension – keep
in mind ‘extension’, because we’re going to hit that, too – through flexion and extension,
we contract that muscle. But because we can actually flex the pelvis
from the bottom up we know we can hit the lower abs because the fibers are preferentially
hit differently by having the lower portion of the pelvis move from on the top. Versus the top moving down on the bottom. We can preferentially hit these two areas
slightly differently, depending upon the exercises we choose. We have the upper region and the lower. From the side here, we have the obliques – as
I contract – that run all the way down here at this oblique angle. They feed all the way down, and in. We don’t just have the visible external
obliques here, but we also have the internal obliques that run up at this opposite angle. So, they run this way, and the external obliques
run at this angle. Now, you don’t want to forget the all-important
serratus, which is the muscle that runs up through here. They help us push our arm away from our body. But – here’s a bit word for you, guys
– they interdigitate. Meaning, they intertwine here with the external
obliques to complete that look. So, when they’re both working together,
as you can see here, they’re going to help to carve out that mid-section completely. So, you don’t want to ignore those. Of course, we finally have the transverse
abdominus, which runs across this way. Basically, like your own inner weight belt. When it closes down, and cinches down, and
contracts it provides support all the way around the midsection, all the way through
to the back of the spine. So how are we going to hit these areas now,
but make sure we’re covering all the anatomy, but getting them each with an exercise that’s
going to do the best job? Well, it takes breaking them down one by one. If we look at the first region here, the lower
ab region, we’re going to look for exercises like this that initiate the movement with
the bottom moving on a fixed top. Basically, curling the pelvis up, toward you. That can happen in any of the floor exercises,
in the hanging ab exercises that you’re seeing here. The fact is, the pelvis is coming up toward
the top, initiating the contraction from the bottom up, and therefore, slightly favoring
those lower ab fibers. Now, we can take that from there and apply
the same concept to hitting the upper abs. That means we want to take any exercise that
allows us to initiate the movement from the top down. Maybe the legs stay stationary, but the top,
and our shoulders are coming off the floor, creating that spinal flexion down toward the
pelvis. The next thing we want to do is, if we’re
going to hit the obliques – again, guys, I always talk about following the fibers. We know that obliques run at these acute,
diagonal angles here. If we realize that, we need to know that rotation
is going to help us accomplish that. It doesn’t just have to be rotation this
way. I could stay fixed here and rotate from the
bottom. Therefore, we have top down rotation, which
is rotating on a fixed lower half, or I have bottom-up rotation, which is rotating on a
fixed upper half. There are a lot of different ab exercises
that allow us to do this. The key is, you want to make sure you’re
using these exercises to effectively target the obliques specifically. Now, know again – as I mentioned in the
beginning – the serratus is a muscle that doesn’t seem to get that much love. Exercises like this one here in particular
are perfect at it. This is done on a physio ball for a little
extra stability challenge. We’re just going to have our arms on the
ball, and once we get in that stable plank we try to push our arms straight through the
ball, allowing our back to rise up toward the ceiling even more. Again, it doesn’t just have to end there. Maybe you don’t have a physio ball. We’ve talked about doing it on a captain’s
chair, which could easily be the corner of a kitchen countertop. You just get your body in there and push your
body away, and lift away, so the serratus is actually doing its job. Another option for you here. Finally, the transverse abdominus tends to
have its own set of exercises, or at least technique, that allows us to hit that area
because you have to be really conscious of keeping your belly pulled in and flattened. I’ll get to this in a second with some exercises
because we specifically talk about the breathing being one of the main factors for controlling
how well you’re able to perform this. As far as a sequence here, an overall ‘how
would you stack these exercises together?’, here’s a general rule of thumb. Because we’re moving the legs in all those
lower, bottom-up movements we realize that they become pretty damn hard because of the
weight of the legs that we have to move. That instantly makes them the most difficult
choices in all our ab training arsenal. We want to make sure we’re doing those bottom-up
and bottom-up rotation exercises early on in whatever ab workout you’re doing, when
you have the most strength. It continues to move up realizing that the
rotational movements of just the obliques are going to become a little more challenging
because rotation is something a lot of don’t train often enough. And those tend to be a little bit weaker. Again, we tend to do this in combination with
some spinal flexion, so it makes it a little more difficult than the same, straight, top-down
movements, which usually come later. The mid-range and the top-down movements with
our lower body fixed, moving like a classic crunch would actually be a very easy ab exercise. But done later in the workout when you’ve
already fatigued it becomes something is still challenging for you. The idea is, you move from the bottom-up,
stick rotation in the middle there, and you finish it out by doing your specialty exercises
for your serratus, and again for the transverse abdominus. Now that you know the anatomy and the exercises
that hit those different areas, and a bit about the sequencing of how you want to structure
your ab workouts, I have three incredible tips here that are going to make all of your
ab workouts more effective. It starts with one of the simplest things,
guys. We do it every, single time we do our ab exercises. It’s our breathing. But it’s incredibly important. Here’s why: a lot of guys screw this up. When it comes to your breathing options in
life, in general, you can either do two things. Actually, I’ll give you three. One: you can breathe in, you can breathe out,
or you can hold your breath. Now, we know that it’s not advisable to
be holding your breath through any of your exercises. You want to do one or the other. But what we do is, we want to breathe out
on the exertion of the exercise. Meaning, whatever exercise you’re doing,
when you’re exerting yourself, or coming up – a classic example would be the crunch. As I come into the crunch, that’s the hard
part. I want to breathe out every time. Hanging leg raise. Anytime I’m moving and doing the movement;
that’s when I want to be breathing out. But here’s the key difference. You have two opportunities for the abdomen,
and what it’s doing. You can either be pushing out like that, or
you can be cinching in, which would be tightening it down like that. That’s where that transverse abdominus that
I referred to in the beginning of the video comes in. The transverse helps to contract, again, in
this way like a weight belt to keep this down. What you want to do is make sure that as you’re
breathing out you’re cinching in. Down. You don’t want to breathe out and push out
at the same time. What you’re doing is, you’re actually
weakening your abdominal wall and doing exactly opposite what it is you’re trying to do
this entire video. You’re making yourself have a more bloated
appearance and weakened abdominal appearance. So, with every exercise you do, remember to
breathe out on the exertion and cinch down at the same time, and you’ll have a much
better looking set of abs. Now, we can take that a step further by looking
at something else we happen to do wrong. That is, the lack of extension and full range
of motion on ab training. Guys, what happens all the time – if you
train on the floor exclusively, or if you train on a bar, or let’s say you train on
a bench and do a decline ab exercise. The bench, the floor, even hanging here is
limiting your body’s ability to extend. If we know that the true function of the abs
is to move from an extended position here, where they’re stretched, into a flexed spine
where they’re now contracted; where is the extension on all those other exercises? You’re literally stopping yourself on the
floor. You’re stopping yourself on the bench. A lot of times when guys get up here they
never get themselves into an extended position here. They just stay right in the middle. Well, what happens from that is you’re literally
doing the equivalent of taking a tricep pushdown, starting here, and finishing here. You’re going from a contracted position
to a less contracted position. You’re never getting into a full stretch
on the triceps. We want to make sure we do that with our ab
training. So, make sure when you’re doing your floor
work that you at least include some exercises that allow you to slide a towel underneath
your low back to get yourself into more of an extended state. Even when you’re doing your hanging ab exercises
here, make sure when your legs come down you allow your body to extend and get a stretch
on the abs before you initiate the next contraction. The key is: don’t overlook the fact that
the abdominal muscles themselves still have full range of motion and you want to make
sure you’re including it. Finally, a lot of guys will ask me “Jeff,
I can actually see my abs, but I don’t have a lot of depth. There’s no real, deep cuts. What do you do to get your abs to pop more?” That is actually just a factor of probably
omitting weighted ab exercises and powerful ab exercises from your training. What I mean by that is, we’ve talked about
it at the beginning of this video. The linea alba being one of the key features
of the abdominal muscles, including how they separate, and divide the compartments into
that 4-pack, 6-pack, or 8-pack. You cannot change the structure of that. You cannot change its ability to either allow
you to have a 4-pack, or 6-pack or an 8-pack. You have what you have. But what you can do is hypertrophy those abdominal
muscles by including weighted ab work to make them pop out more from the sutured down area
of the linea alba, which will give you a deeper looking set of abs. What we do is a lot of weighted ab exercises,
like the ones you’re doing and seeing here. You can see that we could do them either with
a dumbbell, or by hanging weights off our legs and doing weighted leg raises. Anything that’s going to allow us to weight
an exercise that we normally wouldn’t be weighting is going to allow the muscles to
be subjected to the same loading parameters that you will with any other muscle group. Which can lead to hypertrophy. The thing we want to also focus on is how
you’re performing them. We realize that always training your abs slowly
– not that it’s a bad thing because we want to make sure we get good contraction
– but always training your abs slowly is really doing a disservice to the fact that
there are type II fibers in your abdominal muscles that aren’t being trained if you’re
not training them explosively. Start to include some high velocity movements
that allow you to get a stronger, more powerful contraction quicker, and your muscles will
respond by actually growing a bit, and having a deeper looking appearance to your abs. First off, guys, I always say “If you want
to look like an athlete you’ve got to train like an athlete.” That means training explosively. It’s not limited to just your other muscles. Your abs are a muscle that can be trained
explosively as well. This is 6-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio
Brown right here doing one of the ab sessions that we do, and we get explosive. The fact is, if you want your abs to get to
pop you need to train them explosively and powerfully. The fact is, guys, there are a lot of things
that we want to consider when it comes to a complete ab training program. I think all of them matter, as you see here. Not just understanding the anatomy and understanding
that there’s a lot more to the abs than just the abs alone. But knowing how to hit them and having a plan
of attack on how to hit them in your ab workouts, and then holding onto those key, key tips
that allow you to get more range of motion, a better breathing pattern, and including
the right types of exercises. It all matters, guys. At ATHLEANX.com I care about it all. I always say, “We put the science back in
strength”. If you’re looking for a complete program
on how to train your abs and look like an athlete because you’ve got to train like
an athlete, so all these things always matter; head over there and get our ATHLEANX training
program. In the meantime, if you’ve found this video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what else I can cover for you
and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days and weeks ahead. All right, guys. See you soon.

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