Define Your Abs Without Crunches

All this time I’ve been telling people that you don’t need to work your abs to get defined abs. Today is the day I realise you do.

This was the case because I haven’t worked my abs specifically for so long (for at least 6 months to a year) and still had defined abs. And then suddenly I wake up today after doing biceps just yesterday and my abs feel like they’ve been worked. I’m just recapping in my head about yesterday and what other activities I did to work my abs. I don’t think eating was one of them. Honestly, I didn’t go rock climbing or anything recently or swim or do anything that would’ve involved the abs.

In saying that, for me to have worked my abs during weight training, there’s a particular breathing technique that a lot of people do but most people do the opposite of. Basically, you want to breathe out as you’re pushing, pulling or lifting the weight/contraption. When I say breathe out, I mean to do it internally as if contracting your abs and not just emptying your lungs. When you feel a difference, that’s when you know you’ve distinguished between the two.

On the contrary, when you’re resisting (ie. controlling the weight in the opposite direction) the weight, you should breathe in and hold your breathe as if you’re preparing for another repetition.

In addition to your breathing technique being extremely crucial in working your abs, the amount of weight you push, pull or lift is also a big determinant. You need to be lifting as heavy as you can for a given amount of reps if you want to achieve results. There will be times when you’re fatigued and you feel like you can’t complete the last rep or few reps without fighting hard enough just to do so. During this moment is when your abs are contracted the most because you’re trying to maintain the best form possible while attempting to complete those last few reps (to only work that one particular muscle – isolation). You’ll definitely feel like you need to use momentum or swing your body or hips a little just to finish that rep.

The biggest tip I can give you is – the harder you try to isolate that muscle, the harder your abs are going to contract.

That’s all I’ve got for now.

I hope this was super helpful and if you want cheese-grater abs, apply this to your workouts!

Anthony Luong
L1 Fitness
Lean Physique Coach

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