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The Magnificent Seven Bodybuilding Abdominals Training Routine

Abdominal Training For Bodybuilding

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Nothing looks more impressive than a well built physique with a six pack of sharply defined abdominal muscles in front of it. Remembering that abdominal definition is entirely dependent upon an awesome bodybuilding diet (as unless you strip enough body fat from your body to get down to 6% for males and 12% for women you will not be able to clearly see your abdominals), I will present below a routine that guarantees quick results in terms of hardening the abdominal wall.

The routine below is composed of 7 abdominal exercises carefully chosen to hit both the upper and lower abdominals. You will note that it can be performed very easily in the comfort of your living room. You will also notice that no direct oblique work is present. The reason for this is the fact that in my experience, direct oblique work only leads to a wider waistline. Besides, obliques get enough indirect stimulation from basic exercises like Squats, Deadlifts, and Standing Presses, as well as Sit-ups, V-Ups, etc.

Exercise #1: Partial Sit-Ups
Primary Target: Upper Abs
Secondary Target: Lower Abs and Obliques

  1. Lie flat with your back on the floor and your knees bent. Your legs should be secured under a piece of heavy furniture. (Note: I am assuming that you are doing this routine at home).

  2. Place your hands crossed in front of your chest.

  3. Flexing your abdominals, raise your torso until your torso is lifted about 30 degrees off the floor. Exhale as you perform this step.

  4. Retaining tension on the abs, lower your torso to the beginning position as you inhale.

    Safety Note: Maintain full control throughout the movement and avoid the temptation to rock back and forth.

Exercise #2: Lying Leg Raises
Primary Target: Lower Abs
Secondary Target: Upper Abs and Obliques

  1. Lie flat with your back on the floor and your legs extended straight in front of you.

  2. Place your hands at your sides by the floor for support.

  3. Flexing your lower abdominals, raise your legs and exhale until they are perpendicular to the floor.

  4. Retaining tension on the abs, lower your legs to the beginning position stopping just an inch off the floor as you inhale.

    Safety Note: Maintain full control throughout the movement. Avoid the temptation to let your legs drop on the negative portion of the movement.

Exercise #3: Lying Leg Raise & Crunch Combo
Primary Target: Upper and Lower Abs
Secondary Target: Obliques

  1. Lie flat with your back on the floor and your legs extended straight in front of you.

  2. Place your hands at your sides by the floor for support.

  3. Flexing your lower abdominals, raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor.

  4. At this time, raise your shoulders and torso as far as possible from the ground in a curling movement without raising your back from the floor as you exhale.

  5. Retaining tension on the abs, lower your legs to the beginning position and then bring your torso to the starting position as well while breathing in.

    Safety Note: Maintain full control throughout the movement. Avoid the temptation to rock back and forth.

Exercise #4: Knee-Ins
Primary Target: Lower Abs
Secondary Target: Upper Abs and Obliques

  1. Sit on the floor (or on the edge of a chair or exercise bench) with your legs extended in front of you and your hands holding on to the sides for support.

  2. Keeping your knees together, pull your knees in towards your chest as you exhale until you can go no further.

  3. Keeping the tension on your lower ab muscles, return to the start position as you inhale and repeat the movement until you have completed your set.

Exercise #5: Modified V-Ups
Primary Target: Upper and Lower Abs
Secondary Target: Obliques

  1. Sit on the floor (or on the edge of a chair or exercise bench) with your legs extended in front of you and your hands holding on to the sides for support.

  2. Simultaneously bring your legs up as far as possible while at the same time bringing your torso towards them as you inhale.

  3. Exhale as you return to the start position and repeat the movement until you have completed your set.

    Note: This is a modified version of the V-Up. In a true V-Up your starting position is lying down on the floor and bringing yourself up with no arm support.

Exercise #6: Crunches
Primary Target: Upper Abs
Secondary Target: Lower Abs and Obliques

  1. Lie flat with your back on the floor and your legs in front of you bent at the knees.

  2. Place your hands crossed in front of your chest.

  3. At this time, raise your shoulders and torso as far as possible from the ground in a curling movement without raising your back from the floor as you exhale.

  4. Retaining tension on the abs, bring your torso to the starting position as you inhale.

    Safety Note: Maintain full control throughout the movement and avoid the temptation to rock back and forth).

    Exercise Variation: I like to perform this movement on top of an exercise ball in order to achieve full stretch of the abdominal wall and thus get full range of motion.

Exercise #7: Knee-In & Crunch Combination
Primary Target: Upper and Lower Abs
Secondary Target: Obliques

  1. Lie flat with your back on the floor and your legs straight in front of you.

  2. Place your hands at your sides by the floor for support.

  3. Slowly bend your legs at the knees bringing them towards your chest.

  4. Once the knees are by your chest, raise your shoulders and torso as far as possible from the ground in a curling movement without raising your back from the floor as you exhale.

  5. Return your legs to the starting position and bring your torso back to the floor as you inhale.

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