6 best ways to have perfect Abs

You know the obvious benefit of abs exercises: a chiseled midsection you that will make you look and feel like Britney-freaking-Spears. But aesthetics shouldn’t be the only things dictating your abdominal workout.

“Abdominals are not just there to make you look good, they’re actually part of your core, which provide stability to the spine,” says Rachel Mariotti, C.S.C.S., a personal trainer in New York City. And spinal stability is hugely important, because that’s what keeps you standing tall and moving throughout your day without any pain or limitations.

“If you’re only focusing on the front of your abs, i.e. your six-pack—the rectus abdominis—you’re only really working 30 percent of your core,”

Mariotti explains. You also need to work your internal and external obliques, and the transverse abdominis, the muscle underneath the obliques, she says.

And working your abs should be part of larger core or strength routine—a.k.a. not just busting out 500 crunches on the daily. Adding 15 to 20 minutes of abs work at the end of a strength training session two times a week will do the job, she says.

“Try adding two to three of the abs exercises below into your current legs, arms, or full-body strength routine, doing them back-to-back at the end of the workout to gain the most benefit,” suggests Mariotti. “Most of them target multiple parts of the abs and core at the same time.”

And here’s the secret when it comes to abs workouts: It’s not so much about sets and reps, and more about time under tension.

“This means you want to feel a good burn in your abs and core without taking too much rest,” says Mariotti.

Soon enough, you’ll see those abs popping right out.

 


Abs workout – Cable Chops

How to do it: Holding a cable handle in both hands at your chest, turn sideways and step a few feet from the machine, standing with feet wider than hip-width apart. Press arms straight out from the chest. Holding there, rotate arms away from machine, keeping legs and hips stable. Return to starting position with arms extended. That’s one rep.
Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps with 12- to 20-pounds
What it works: The chopping motion works your obliques and transverse abdominis, plus “it teaches your body how to use core muscles during the rotation of the spine,” says Mariotti, which is important for mobility.


Abs workout – Bar Chops

How to do it: Holding a cable handle in both hands at your chest, turn sideways and step a few feet from the machine, standing with feet wider than hip-width apart. Press arms straight out from the chest. Holding there, rotate arms away from machine, keeping legs and hips stable. Return to starting position with arms extended. That’s one rep.
Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps with 12- to 20-pounds
What it works: The chopping motion works your obliques and transverse abdominis, plus “it teaches your body how to use core muscles during the rotation of the spine,” says Mariotti, which is important for mobility.


Abs workout – Angled Bar Chops

How to do it: Holding a cable bar in both hands, turn sideways and step a few feet from machine, standing with feet wider than hip-width apart. Press arms out from the waist, holding the bar at an angle to the body. Chop at an upward angle as you rotate away from the machine. Return to starting position with arms extended. That’s one rep.
Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps with 12- to 20-pounds
What it works: “Moving at a different angle will activate and put more tension on different parts of the abs, obliques, and core,” says Mariotti.


Abs workout – TRX Pushup

How to do it: Hold the TRX handles in a pushup position, shoulders directly over wrists. Keeping hips down and stomach tight, push arms forward until they get close to your ears. Pull them back in to return to start. That’s one rep.
Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
What it works: “Using the TRX gives you less stability, making the intricate muscles of the core activate and stabilize,” says Mariotti. “This move activates the rectus abdominis while engaging several parts of the core such as the serratus anterior and lats.”


Abs workout – Hanging knee-ups

How to do it: Hang from a bar with your body in a straight line. Squeeze your abs to draw the knees up slowly, until they’re slightly above hip height. Slowly lower down while engaging the lats to avoid a swing. That’s one rep.
Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 15 reps
What it works: “This engages your entire rectus abdominis—your “six-pack abs”—while forcing the lats to stabilize,” says Mariotti.


Abs workout – Hanging knee holds

How to do it: Hang from a bar with a straight body. Squeeze abs to draw the knees up slowly until they’re slightly above hip height. Hold. Recommended sets/reps: 4-5 sets of 20- to 30-second holds What it works: “Holding the knees up will start to create a high amount of tension on the rectus abdominis, forcing it to become even stronger,” says Mariotti.

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