It's probable that niether you nor any of your friends were motivated to read FLEX in the hopes of unlocking the secrets to building a rippling set of abs. But for the second-class-citizen status that the abdominal region receives in comparison with showier bodyparts — such as chest, shoulders and arms — its value in both bodybuilding and sports should not be underestimated.
The truth is that a well-developed midsection can actually have a greater visual impact — especially on the ladies — than horseshoe triceps or capped delts. Plus, a strong midsection and core are crucial for stabilizing your torso during other lifts and sports activities.
With our guide to rock-hard abs at your disposal, you’ll have all the info you need to chisel your own eye-catching midsection.
Inhale at the bottom or “relaxed” portion of each rep and exhale as you contract your ab muscles, holding your breath for a second at the top of the rep as you forcefully contract your ab muscles. If this pattern of breathing isn’t reflexive, focus on it until it is, not only for your ab training, but also for every bodypart.
So what about rep speed? You’ll see some people flying through their sets while others plod through each rep laboriously. Who’s right?
We recommend mixing things up. As long as you’re not letting momentum take over, you can do some reps quickly and others more slowly. The important thing is that you feel what you’re doing, both during and after the exercise. Faster reps have been shown to increase the amount of muscle fiber activity in the rectus abdominis and obliques, which can help you better develop your midsection. We often recommend doing some workouts with fast reps and other workouts with slow and controlled reps. Or, start a set with 5-10 fast reps, and then finish with slow and controlled reps to better feel the abs work.
In other words, let your instincts dictate the pace. You be the judge, just judge wisely.
According to recent studies, 48 hours is an ideal amount of recuperation time for aching muscles. Keep in mind that training every other day equals 48 hours of rest between workouts, assuming that you are consistent with your training time.
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