The most effective abdominal exercises focus on time under tension.
Time under tension refers to how long a muscle is under stress during a workout or set. This is the difference between the time a muscle is under load vs how much weight you are actually putting under load with that muscle.
The is especially important when it comes to training the abs. This is because the abs aren’t going to respond to super heavy weight. The abs are a muscle that are designed to be constantly active and constantly stabilizing the core. This is different from our chest or back which is designed to maneuver bigger loads. So it’s important to focus on keeping the abs continuously contracted.
These exercises are done in a circuit, one after the other without any rest between. We are focusing on a solid time under tension where we aren’t doing repetitions. This is just static holds for a specific length of time.
The goal is to take time under tension to an entirely different level. We are doing static holds and keeping the abs under tension for 100% of the time. The exercises are super important to help you get the endurance you need to give you the function you need for other movements such as squats and deadlifts.
If you keep the elbows in more, then you take the stress off the shoulders and put it more on the abs. This also challenges your balance and forces you to create more stability. You can also lean more forward. Roll forward so you are evenly balanced and by being more forward, you will engage your abs more.
You’re going to suck in the transverse abdominus and allow the internal and external obliques to help keep you from swaying side to side. Start with 30 seconds and work your way up to a minute and a half. When you are done with this, you go right into a side plank.
Do side planks to train side to side stability in the abs. Do 30 seconds in the beginning and gradually work up to a minute and half. Next, switch to the other side.
Static holds are great for working the abs while not putting stress on the back. Keep the feet off the ground with elbows slightly bent. Roll your shoulders back and hold the position. Go for 30 to 90 seconds.
Lean back on a decline bench. Grab the bench behind your head, suck in gut and squeeze your glutes together. So, start by sucking and engaging the glutes, then lift the feet up. Do a static hold 30 to 90 seconds.
Get on the floor and do a Cobra Pose. This is to get rid of some of the lactic acid. Whenever you are in a static hold position, you don’t have the lymphatic system flushing out lactic acid as much, so this stretch helps to get things moving out. When you finish this, go right back into the front plank.
This routine is a real good ab burner that doesn’t require a lot of lower back activity.