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How to Build more Visible Abs (3 Science Based Steps)

Want your abs to show? Try these 3 great tips.

This informative video and text from Jeremy Ethier will teach you how to build more visible abs in 3 science-based steps.

Click on the menu link below if you want to go straight to the video.

How to Build more Visible Abs

“If you want to make your six-pack pop and get your abs to show even at a higher body fat percentage, then one of the ways you can achieve this is by actually growing your abs. If you choose the right abs exercises and get stronger with them over time, your abs will respond with growth and hence improve the overall look and visibility of your six-pack.”

Abs-and-Core-Strength-for-Athletes How to Build more Visible AbsSource: Photos Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

“Research agrees with this: a recent 2017 paper analyzed the effect of 10 weeks of regular abdominal training on abdominal growth in twenty-eight collegiate male soccer players. And after the 10 weeks, they experienced a significant 2.1mm increase, 1.9mm increase, and 2.7mm increase in the thickness of their upper, mid, and lower abs respectively.”

“In this video, I’ll show you how to get abs to show through fat through proper ab exercise progression. I’ll cover three evidence-based steps you need to follow when it comes to how to grow abs fast, so you achieve your desired shredded abs.”

Step 1 – Choose the Right Exercises

“The first step to get your abs to show is to choose the right exercises. While there are many abs exercises to choose from, not all are equally effective in helping you grow your abs. According to the 2017 paper mentioned earlier, it was found that subjects that performed only static or isometric abs exercises like the plank, experienced no abdominal growth after 10 weeks.”

“Therefore, static exercises like the plank wouldn’t be your best bet for growing your abs when compared to dynamic exercises that take the abdominal muscles through their full range of motion. More specifically, though, you’ll want to opt for dynamic abs exercises, such as the Swiss ball crunch, reverse crunch, and the hanging leg raise.”

Step 2 – Form

“The second step to follow when it comes to how to grow abs fast is to perfect your form. And this is critical because if you don’t, you’ll end up shifting the load to other muscle groups – such as the hip flexors – instead of working your abs. When it comes to the weighted cable crunch, you should choose a weight you can control and lock your hips into the starting position with your knees bent at roughly 90 degrees. Then, exhale and tighten your abs by thinking about drawing your belly button in towards your spine to create more stability.”

Abs-exercises-marcus-steph How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build MuscleSource: Photos Courtesy of CrossFit Inc / Deposit Photos

“Only then should you crunch the weight downwards by bringing your shoulders down towards your hips by flexing your spine, as this is precisely what the abs are responsible for doing. And as you crunch down, don’t let your hips sink back into your heels. Keep them locked in the starting position. All the movement should come from the flexion of your spine.”

“Then for bottom-up movements like the reverse crunch, again you need to avoid aimlessly swinging and just using momentum, as this makes it a hip flexor exercise with little stimulation of the lower abs. Instead, you need to first again exhale and tighten your abs by drawing your belly button while moving into posterior pelvic tilt such that your lower back is flat against the bench. And then from here, think about raising your pelvis off the bench and curling it towards your belly button while visualizing your lower abs working to do so.”

Step 3 – Progression

“The final step in how to get abs to show through fat is to ensure ab exercise progression. And just so you have a systematic way of doing so, what I’d recommend is stick to a rep range of roughly 10-15 reps for your sets of weighted abs exercises and overload it based on that rep range.”

“So, for example, let’s say you have 3 sets of the weighted cable crunch to do. Once you can comfortably complete all 3 sets of the exercise with 15 quality reps, then you’re now ready to overload it further by simply increasing the weight to the next increment. And then again with the new weight, once you build up the abdominal strength to complete 3 sets of 15 quality reps, you can proceed to bump up the weight even more and repeat the process.”

“So, I hope you were able to see that you’ll be able to effectively increase the thickness and growth of your abdominal muscles through the three outlined steps. But keep in mind that you’ll also need first to strip off excess belly fat to reveal all your hard work. And this is where nutrition and eating the right foods in the right amounts become critical.”

Video – How to Build more Visible Abs

Learn More

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Understanding Hypertrophy: How to Build a Better Physique and Improve Performance

The Ultimate Abs Hypertrophy Guide for Men and Women

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How to Build Muscle – A Beginner’s Guide to Hypertrophy

Does Training to Failure Matter For Muscle Growth?

The Best Glutes Hypertrophy Guide You Will Find

How to Build Muscle: The 4-Day Split Program

Muscles of the Core and Abs

The core muscles are the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall and back that form a tube-like structure. They wrap around your body from front to back, providing support for your spine.

There are many different types of core muscle groups: rectus abdominis (which includes the tendinous intersections), external oblique, internal oblique, transverse abdominis, quadratus lumborum and erector spinae (iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis).

How to Build more Visible Abs – Rectus Abdominis

The rectus abdominis (also known as the “six-pack” muscle) is a midline, narrow muscle that runs vertically from the pubic bone to the xiphoid process. It is an important part of your core and helps you flex your spine forward and laterally flexing.

When you contract this muscle, it causes a slight forward tilt of your pelvis while pulling down on your rib cage which in turn causes spinal flexion (forward bending).

How to Build more Visible Abs – External Oblique

The external oblique is another muscle found in the abdominal region.

The main function of this muscle group is to rotate your body (movement towards your side) and bend it towards the same side (bending forward). The external obliques also help with other movements such as walking/running because they support your spine when you walk/run by maintaining a regular posture.

How to Build more Visible Abs – Internal Oblique

The internal oblique is the deepest of the abdominal muscles. It runs from ribs 5 to 12 and helps to stabilize the vertebrae and pelvis, as well as maintain an upright posture. It also works with transverse abdominis to compress the abdomen. The internal oblique has fibrous bands that cross horizontally in different directions, giving it its distinctive look.

How to Build more Visible Abs – Transverse Abdominis

The transverse abdominis is a deep abdominal muscle responsible for drawing the abdomen inwards and downwards (coccyx to rib cage). It is a thin sheet of muscle that wraps around the body like a corset. The transverse abdominis helps with good posture, as it supports your spine by holding your pelvis and back erect.

How to Build more Visible Abs – Quadratus Lumborum

Quadratus Lumborum: This is the deepest muscle of the core and it’s located in your lower back.

It connects the lower rib cage to the pelvis and helps to stabilize them both.

How to Build more Visible Abs – Erector Spinae (Iliocostalis, Longissimus, Spinalis)

The erector spinae are a group of muscles that extend and rotate the spine. They are the deepest layer of back muscles, which surround your spine and keep it straight. There are three distinct parts to this muscle group: iliocostalis, longissimus, and spinalis.

The iliocostalis extends across your upper two vertebrae and connects them at their sides. The longissimus runs down your middle back creating a diagonal line between each shoulder blade until it reaches its insertion point on the lowermost vertebrae just above where they meet with the sacrum (the end part of your pelvis). The spinalis is located directly below these other two groups; it’s shaped like an upside-down letter “C” with its upper attachment point on T12 (12th thoracic vertebra) through L2L4 (lumbar region of 2nd through 4th lumbar vertebrae), then connecting to S1S5 (sacrum via first through fifth sacral segments).

Conclusion – How to Build more Visible Abs

We hope this article has helped you to understand the different parts of your core and abs, as well as how they work together.

Remember: strong muscles are key to good posture, a healthy back and body, and an overall low-stress lifestyle!

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