Critical Elements Missing in Your Abs Workout

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Are you struggling to achieve monumental success in your ab workouts?

No one should ever have to struggle with anything, especially ab training. Suffice it to say, you’re probably just not following the right protocols. But you’re in luck! Today, you will learn some tricks that will really help you turn the corner. 

In all my years in the fitness industry, I’ve seen a lot of atrocities. Most of which revolve around ab training and kettlebells. Today, I’m going to focus my attention on abs. I’ll save kettlebells for a later date.

In the big picture, it’s not so much what I see people do that’s wrong. It’s more like what I don’t see people do. Below I’m going to cypher this out a little more and give you some critical elements to focus on in your next abs workout. Just make sure not to get too ripped because you don’t want to embarrass anyone around you 🙂


Do you know what creates definition in your abdomen? No, the answer is not 500 crunches a day. That will likely make you look like an idiot and also give you lower back pain. The truth is, tension gives you definition. And you will not create much in the way of tension by grinding out 500 sloppy, misshapen crunches. Save them for the jabrones.

You get tension by contracting your abs and keeping them contracted over a period of time. This means when you do a set of 50-plus crunches, you’re not getting a lot of overall tension on your abs. You are getting short little bursts of tension that go relatively unnoticed. Paint this picture in your mind for a second.

You get in your car, turn it on and push your foot on the gas. Then you stop 5 feet down the road. Then you punch it and stop 5 feet down the road again. You repeat this process until you get to your destination, which is a mere 1 mile away. It just took you an hour to go a distance that would’ve taken about 60 seconds if you put progressive tension on the gas. Do you get it? Good!

Take this sage advice into your next ab workout. Perform exercises where you have constant tension. I’ll give you a great example. Hang out at the bar! And no, I don’t mean Smitty’s Town Tavern down the street. I’m talking about the pull-up bar. Any time you hang from this apparatus, you automatically get your core standing at attention.

Now throw in some pull-ups, leg raises, windshield wipers or skin-the-cats and you’ve just pulverized your midsection …boom!

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Breath Control

There was a commercial on several years back that boasted the words “You shouldn’t have to wait to breathe.” I believe it was one of those addictive nasal spray companies. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is, you need to learn how to breathe properly to perform quality reps with ab training.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is people holding their breath and scrunching up their faces like they’re having a very tough bowel movement. Please don’t do this! Relax and breathe. Always exhale on the exertion phase and inhale on the recovery phase. If you like to get fancy schmancy, this would be called exhaling on the concentric phase and inhaling on the eccentric.

Let’s go back to the bar for a second for an example. During a set of full hanging leg raises, you will exhale as you raise your legs and inhale as you lower them down.

By getting your breathing under control, you will be able to excel at every single exercise you do from now on.

Overall Recruitment 

I know you may think I hate crunches because I keep coming back to them in a bit of a demeaning way. But that’s not entirely true. They actually have a time and place, and so do full sit-ups. The problem comes into play when you just do crunches or sit-ups and neglect the other areas of your abs.

The anatomical motion performed during crunches is called trunk flexion. If you do one motion over and over again, you will create imbalances and ruin your body. Always think about balance. If you do sets that involve flexion, you should also do extension. A good pairing, for example, would be crunches and supermans.<

I also recommend doing exercises that involve side-lying positions and rotation. That way you are working your entire core and getting multiple planes of movement. That is the true way to get definition AND create a balanced physique that will give you the best crossover effect for your sports or activities outside the gym.

Kettlebell Work

Sorry, I lied. I am going to talk about kettlebells after all. Here is why you NEED to integrate them into your ab training protocol. First of all, you are forced to contract your abs forcefully with every exercise you do. That means you get a lot of tension. Especially exercises like Turkish get-ups, presses, windmills, squats and snatches.

Secondly, you burn a metric ton of calories. Since you recruit so many muscle groups with each exercise, you create a lot of heat, which in turn burns a lot of calories. If you burn a lot of calories, you will melt the fat surrounding your abs and be able to get defined faster.

Lastly, a high amount of muscle recruitment quickly adds up to a svelte, lean musculature in record time. There’s nothing wrong with looking good and showing off what you worked hard to get. Own it!

Closing Comments

Ok, we’re done. Mediate on what I said for a while then go to the gym and implement all the information I bestowed upon you. If you have any further questions, feel free to hit me up.

Until next time, my name is K/Rail. I tell it like it is and say it like I see it.

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