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Many people today continue to erroneously believe that proper ab training requires a high number of repetitions to be effective. But there’s a better way, a simpler way, and here it is: Train the upper abs separately from the lower abs, and train the upper abs first. Work the upper abs like you would other upper body groups with similar number of reps for the upper body. And once the upper abs are exhausted, and cannot be used to synergistically assist the lower abs, turn your attention to training the lower abs separate from the upper abs. Phil’s routine has been modified below to make it more user friendly for the average member. The premise is the same however - Tire out the upper abs then burn out the lower. Give it a shot!
Here is the workout:
- Upper abs 4 sets 20 reps.
- Lower abs 2 sets 20 reps. That’s it.
This workout takes so little time that you could even work this muscle group 3 or 4 times a week. The best way to perform this workout is to find an abs machine where you can do only an upper-body quarter crunch, without engaging your lower abs at the same time. A machine that uses upper and lower abs in the same exercise will not work and defeats the purpose. The exercises must be separate.
That’s why the Abs Bench X2 is the perfect abdominal machine for this routine. It allows the user to perform forward crunches (upper abs), as well as reverse crunches (lower abs), separately (or together) on the same machine.
For the uppers abs we want you to perform ‘half reps’ for a total of 20. What we mean is come only half way up, return and repeat. This will keep your abs under constant tension while only engaging the upper abs! Recover for one minute and repeat for 4 x 20 reps. As you get stronger decrease the amount of rest between sets or increase the resistance by adding 5 pounds to the upper bar on the Abs Bench X2.
Remember the body responds to progressive exercise. Now that upper abs are exhausted your upper abs cannot synergistically kick-in to assist lower abs with the reverse crunch exercise on the Abs Bench X2. When you try to train your lower abs before the upper abs are exhausted, the upper abs and hip flexors will compensate and “help” perform the exercise, causing the lower abs not to work hard enough. Once the upper abs are exhausted, when you lift your legs during your reverse crunch exercise on the Abs Bench X2, you should feel little or no assistance from the upper abs. You will instantly feel your lower abs working.
Perform 2 sets of 20 FULL Repetitions on the lower crunch. Rest 1 minute between sets. We recommend having some resistance for the lower crunch right from the outset. Again, as you get stronger reduce the rest between sets or add more resistance. Remember - progression is the key!
Trying to work all of the ab muscles at the same time is less efficient and can take a long time. It also results in needless extra stress on the spine. Using the protocol described above allows you to train your abs more efficiently and more frequently. And the Abs Bench X2 makes it easy to perform this workout all on one machine. Variety Abounds You’ve heard it said that variety is the spice of life. They same is true of your training. By constantly challenging your body with new stimuli you force it to continue to adapt and improve.