Looking for my Abs Under the Scope

Alright, so I’m naturally on the leaner side. 5’8 152 lbs, dont know my body fat percentage. I feel my abs are not nearly as good as they should be compared to the rest of my body. I eat very clean. 99% fat free ground turkey, chicken with all the fat cut off, and 93% lean beef, and tilapia, broccoli, apples, bananas, zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumbers. I have a moderate carb intake, very little to no carbs after 7.

I usually do weighted rope crunches, hanging knee raises front/side, and do decline sit ups with a 20 lbs weight but hold it when I’m flat (I guess a reverse weighted plank?) I don’t do cardio, but I do skateboard about 1-2x week.

My question is, would cardio really help my abs show a lot more or would you say it is my routine.Â

I thought your tattoo was a bikini! Haha. Sorry about that…

You have awesome dietary discipline if that’s really how you’re eating, but it sounds to me like you’re going low carb AND low fat at the same time. Not exactly ideal for muscle building.

It’s really just the case that you need more muscle. I’d not quite go so far as to call you skinny, but really when you’re as lean as you are and the muscles ain’t poppin’, it’s because there’s no muscle to pop.

If I were you, I’d increase my calories, particularly from carbs and healthy (animal, olive and avacado) fats. You might need to add a little fat in the process of building muscle (unless you’ve got the genetics for it - some people do) but don’t freak out; you’re an active guy who knows how to be disciplined in the kitchen so you’ll diet any fat gain off easily enough.

I assume you train the rest of your body, not just your abs?

All I do are crunches–thousands and thousands of them. But I do them in a way that 1) truly isolates the abs and 2) keeps them under constant tension.

Pull a bench so that it close (and perpendicular) to a wall. Lie on the bench with your butt ~12-18 inches from the wall, with your legs running up the wall (doing this will completely remove the hip flexors from the movement). Cross your arms over chest, then try to touch the bottom of your rib cage to your pelvic bone. It’s a very short movement, but still, on the eccentric, don’t let your shoulder blades touch the bench–just come back halfway, then attempt to touch ribcage–>pelvis again.

This keeps constant tension on the abs. Do this for 5 minutes straight, taking (brief) breaks as you need them. When you can do this for 5 minutes without taking a break, go for 10 minutes. When you can do it for 10 minutes without a break, look in the mirror–abs will be there.

I’ve found it helpful for leaning out, though not necessary (e.g. I got to the level of leanness in my profile pic without any cardio whatsoever). If you aren’t doing any right now, adding some (say alternate HIIT or 20-30min LISS) at the end of your training or on off days wouldn’t be a bad thing to do, and is definitely good for general health.

My macros are around 3k cal. I do roughly 1200-1500 in carbs, protein is right around the same. Yes, I train the rest of my body too 5 days a week. Thinking about involving full body movements to where my core is being worked like walking overhead press, farmers carries, cleans/snatches (these I’m a little concerned about since I snapped my arm and had 2 plates and 12 screws put in in feb '15)

Thanks I’ll definitely try this. As for HIIT I’m thinking about doing something like: 30/10 1 minute rest after all 4 have been completed repeat 4-5x

Burpees w/squat jump
Tire + Sledge hammer
Walking overhead carries
Short sprints/jump rope

What do you think?