T Nation

Best Abdominal Exercises

Need help with a good abdominal routine. I have entered one contest, but had trouble in the ab department. Yes, I did diet maybe that was some of the reason too. If anyone has good suggestions I would love to hear them. Thanks

do vacuums!
in my opinion, the TVA is the most underrated abdominal muscle. that is what pulls your whole midsection in tight, like a natural corset. if your TVA is strong, you will notice an all-around improvement in your abs, even a tighter midsection when not flexing…
dan

Well what was the problem with your abs?

Were they not defined enough or not thick enough?

If they weren’t defined either get leaner or blame your parents for bad genetics there(likely the first one)

If they weren’t thick enough hit some heavy work on various ab machines, using the lat pulldown for standing ab work, decline situps with weight behind your head/on your chest and get strong for 10-20 reps on those movements. Also being able to squat and dead big time weights will thicken up your abdominals as well… but you should be doing that anyway already

deadlift. Horizontal machine press with upper back and shoulders off the support.

Abs weren’t defined enough, probably diet factors more. I do squat and dead decent weights and they abs are thick. I think I really need help with a decent diet plan

[quote]LiarPantsOnFire wrote:
do vacuums!
in my opinion, the TVA is the most underrated abdominal muscle. that is what pulls your whole midsection in tight, like a natural corset. if your TVA is strong, you will notice an all-around improvement in your abs, even a tighter midsection when not flexing…
dan[/quote]

Could somebody link a video/description on how to train a vacuum
properly please? Do you do this for reps or just hold it for as long as you can or what?

[quote]powerlift1971 wrote:
Abs weren’t defined enough, probably diet factors more. I do squat and dead decent weights and they abs are thick. I think I really need help with a decent diet plan[/quote]

I mean this with constructive criticism man, but if thats you in your avatar it is definitely your diet. Are you shooting for abs year round or are you a bodybuilder and need help getting abs for a contest.

imo a diet for a bodybuilder prepping for a competition is a little different than your average gym goer who is just trying to look good.

also what do you want to work on with your abs…weight resistance will build them thicker, high reps and squeezing will help them with seperation, but if you have fat and water covering them it won’t matter.

DG

[quote]Artem wrote:
LiarPantsOnFire wrote:
do vacuums!
in my opinion, the TVA is the most underrated abdominal muscle. that is what pulls your whole midsection in tight, like a natural corset. if your TVA is strong, you will notice an all-around improvement in your abs, even a tighter midsection when not flexing…
dan

Could somebody link a video/description on how to train a vacuum
properly please? Do you do this for reps or just hold it for as long as you can or what?[/quote]

i’ve never heard of anybody doing a vaccum pose for an exercise but it sounds interesting.

to properly do the pose try exhaling all of your air out and then suck in with your stomach.

that does make perfect sence. The bodybuilders in the golden era all had a certain look to thier midsections, they also all performed vacuumed. Not many people vacuum now adays and many probably can’t due to drugs. The drugs and way the bodybuilders trained in the golden era probably had a lot to do with it.

I too am curious if it is a hold or reps. I kinda like the idea.

DG

Weighted decline crunch & Weighted hanging leg raise IMO Leg hip raises come in 3rd

[quote]powerlift1971 wrote:
Abs weren’t defined enough, probably diet factors more. I do squat and dead decent weights and they abs are thick. I think I really need help with a decent diet plan[/quote]

My suggestion is to either spend many hours researching diet and cardio techniques or hire a good nutritionist for your next contest prep. I don’t know if I can name names without it seeming like advertising for guys but if you need some help finding people feel free to PM me.

For vacuums, I do something like 3-4 sets of 30 second holds.

You really can notice a difference after a few weeks. I need to start doing them again.

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:
Artem wrote:
LiarPantsOnFire wrote:
do vacuums!
in my opinion, the TVA is the most underrated abdominal muscle. that is what pulls your whole midsection in tight, like a natural corset. if your TVA is strong, you will notice an all-around improvement in your abs, even a tighter midsection when not flexing…
dan

Could somebody link a video/description on how to train a vacuum
properly please? Do you do this for reps or just hold it for as long as you can or what?

i’ve never heard of anybody doing a vaccum pose for an exercise but it sounds interesting.

to properly do the pose try exhaling all of your air out and then suck in with your stomach.

that does make perfect sence. The bodybuilders in the golden era all had a certain look to thier midsections, they also all performed vacuumed. Not many people vacuum now adays and many probably can’t due to drugs. The drugs and way the bodybuilders trained in the golden era probably had a lot to do with it.

I too am curious if it is a hold or reps. I kinda like the idea.

DG[/quote]

this is a video about vacuums, and you can find other ones like it on youtube (and lots of guys just showing off their TVA strength with all sorts of tricks): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjdLYJW61Zw&feature=related

basically just suck your stomach as far inwards as it goes and hold! do it in different positions (i.e. seated, standing, lying on back, with arms above head, etc… they all feel different from one another).

as far as reps and whatnot, you can either treat it like an isometric hold and just do a few sets of one hold each of a certain amount of time (30 seconds? more?), OR you can try to rep it… you can do like 8 second holds for 10 reps… a few sets of that.

anyways, the tricky thing about vacuums is that it is hard to gauge how tight you are squeezing (although a mirror helps). you’ll find that when you’re doing it, if the little voice in the back of your head says “squeeze tighter”, you can likely squeeze just a bit tighter. so keep reminding yourself to do so!
dan

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:
powerlift1971 wrote:
Abs weren’t defined enough, probably diet factors more. I do squat and dead decent weights and they abs are thick. I think I really need help with a decent diet plan

I mean this with constructive criticism man, but if thats you in your avatar it is definitely your diet. Are you shooting for abs year round or are you a bodybuilder and need help getting abs for a contest.

imo a diet for a bodybuilder prepping for a competition is a little different than your average gym goer who is just trying to look good.

also what do you want to work on with your abs…weight resistance will build them thicker, high reps and squeezing will help them with seperation, but if you have fat and water covering them it won’t matter.

Hey I do appreciate the advice, yes it is me the avatar pic. It was my first contest and I trained hard. I know competitions are a lot harder than just looking good, trust me just from trying this one. It was a good experience and I do think with more emphasis on diet I will do much better next time

DG[/quote]

[quote]powerlift1971 wrote:
Dirty Gerdy wrote:
powerlift1971 wrote:
Abs weren’t defined enough, probably diet factors more. I do squat and dead decent weights and they abs are thick. I think I really need help with a decent diet plan

I mean this with constructive criticism man, but if thats you in your avatar it is definitely your diet. Are you shooting for abs year round or are you a bodybuilder and need help getting abs for a contest.

imo a diet for a bodybuilder prepping for a competition is a little different than your average gym goer who is just trying to look good.

also what do you want to work on with your abs…weight resistance will build them thicker, high reps and squeezing will help them with seperation, but if you have fat and water covering them it won’t matter.

Hey I do appreciate the advice, yes it is me the avatar pic. It was my first contest and I trained hard. I know competitions are a lot harder than just looking good, trust me just from trying this one. It was a good experience and I do think with more emphasis on diet I will do much better next time

DG

[/quote]

:slight_smile: Look up a good carb cycle. I believe that if you search “carb cycle” you will find one on this site. An article by CT. It’s pretty much what I follow when I diet.

good luck man.

remember diet is for visible abs, training them is for core stability,etc imo…

DG