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Training

THE ART OF ABS

THE ART OF ABS - Luke Matthews
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Abs are the representation of a well-built physique and symbol of discipline.  They are easy to wish for, but obtaining them can be difficult to earn.  If it was easy everyone would have them.  That’s also what makes abs so rewarding when you see them start to form.  I have 6 quick tips to consider when training for abs.

Squeeze them at the top
Don’t focus on counting your reps.  The most important thing is to squeeze those abs at the top as if you are ringing out a wet sponge.  Ten quality hard contracted reps are better than 30 sloppy ones any day.  This is where a mind-muscle connection is extremely important and effective.  The abs will respond greatly to this technique.

No more than 15 seconds in-between sets
Abs respond well to time under tension.  I have found that 15 seconds is the magic number before the added benefit of the previous set starts to diminish.  It’s hard to only “rest” 15 seconds, but remember it’s about quality reps and time under tension, not about the rep count.

Train abs 1st
A lot of us train abs at the end of our workout when we are about to run out of steam.  We quickly get in a few sets and call it good.  Then we wonder why our abs aren’t popping with shredded obliques.  Abs need to be trained hard with our undivided attention just like any other muscle group.  I suggest training them first, at the beginning of your workout for a chance to give them the attention they need.  It also serves as a great warm-up for the rest of your workout and has them activated for stabilization that benefits the rest of your lifts.

You have to borderline obsess about getting them to get going in the right direction.  It takes discipline, commitment, and drive with your diet and fitness.

Isolation
Full-body movements are great for ab development and strength.  However, abs need to be isolated just like a rear delt to get them to form like a sculpture.  I break up my ab training into upper, lower, and oblique training days.  I only train them when they are fully recovered, so if they are still sore I take the day off.

Small movements
The abs fully contract with small movements.  An ab crunch contracts the abs totally without help from the hip flexors as in a full sit up.  Sit-ups are all fine and well, but when trying to isolate the abs keep it short and sweet.

Abs are made in the kitchen
At the end of the day, abs are made in the kitchen.  I believe that it’s 100% diet and 100% fitness.  However, if I had to really break it down I would say it’s an 80% diet.  You just can’t out-train a bad diet.  Get your macros in order and stay consistent.

Abs are one of my favourite muscle groups to train.  Follow my 6 tips and you will be on your way to the chiselled core you desire.

Photo By:  Jay Kenneth

Born and raised in Idaho, Luke Matthews is a United States Marine Corps veteran and athlete. He played both baseball and basketball growing up, continuing his athletic career through college and into the professional European league. After baseball, Luke entered the world of men’s physique bodybuilding where he competed for 5 years. This eventually led to a career in fitness & lifestyle modelling. Additionally, Luke is a certified ACE personal trainer, which makes him highly desirable for his knowledge and professionalism.

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