Tip: Do Harder, Fewer Reps for Great Abs

Recruit more muscle by tensing hard before every rep of an ab exercise.

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When doing any ab work, your goal should not be to do more reps. It should be to fully fatigue your abs in the least amount of reps possible. Only then will you be efficient at recruiting your abdominals. If you train your abs like this, and you're lean enough, you will get your six-pack to come in.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Before Starting, Tense Your Abs Hard. Before you begin the movement, tense your abs hard. Imagine you're about to get punched in the stomach. When your abs are tensed hard you can begin the rep.
  2. Curl Your Torso Up. The concentric portion of the movement should not be a classic sit-up. The key to this movement is to curl (crunch) your torso up. Imagine trying to bring your head to your pelvis. It's also very important to move slowly, and never lose tension in the abs. If you're losing the tension in your abs you're moving too fast.
  3. Tense Your Abs Hard at the Top. On every rep, at the end of the range of motion (when your spine is curled up), tense your abs hard while still imagining getting punched in the gut.
  4. Uncurl Your Torso Down. Then go back to the initial position following the opposite pattern (uncurling). Now start over from step one.

Aim for 8-12 reps, no more. If you can do more than 12 reps, with the exact form described above, you can add some resistance. But remember the goal is to make every rep as hard as possible, not to add weight. Try to fatigue your abs in the fewest amount of reps possible.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.