Absolutely, I Want Abs!

Absolutely, I Want Abs!

by Coach Eric Broser

As I write this, the summer is rapidly approaching! And with rising temperatures and longer days filled with sunshine, most gym goers find themselves scrambling to improve upon their midsection.
For some, that simply means melting away belly fat and achieving a flatter tummy.
For others, greater core strength is the primary directive.

However, for most serious lifters/fitness buffs, the ultimate achievement is a rock solid, shredded, and perfectly delineated 6-pack. Now, while many “experts” in the fitness community might claim those great abs are not manifested in the gym but rather via diet and cardio, let me assure you that in order to present a truly impressive abdominal wall, each “brick” must be maximally developed (both thick and deep), which will occur only through hard training.

With that in mind, here are five of my favorite exercises meant to do just that!

The Movements

Exercise #1: Parallel Bars Straight Leg Raise

Stand in between a set of parallel bars and lift yourself into what would be the starting point for performing dips. While holding your torso locked in this position, raise your legs to just above parallel by flexing the hips. Hold at the top for about one second, and then slowly lower your legs back down while keeping the abdominal tight throughout. Tip – Try your best not to focus on your hip flexors and think to yourself, “Lift with, and contract, the abs.”

Exercise #2: Hanging Bent Leg Hip Raise

Stand below ab straps hanging from a high bar. Place upper arms in straps and grasp straps above. Raise legs by flexing hips and knees until hips are fully flexed. Continue to raise knees toward shoulders by flexing waist. Return until the waist, hips, and knees are extended downward.


Exercise #3: BB Push Crunch

Sit down on an abdominal incline bench set between 30 and 60 degrees, making sure to secure the feet/ankles under the pad before lying back into the starting position. Have someone hand you a moderately weighted BB, which should be held with an overhand, shoulder-width grip and positioned at arm’s length over the chest. Flex at the waist to raise the torso while keeping your arms (and BB) locked in position. Do not allow the lower back to rise off the bench. Squeeze the abs hard at the top for a second or two before carefully lowering back to the starting position.
Tip – Pick a spot above you on the ceiling and remain fixated on it throughout the set. Pretend the goal is to “push” the BB to that spot on every rep.


Exercise #4: Cable Crunch

Kneel below the high pulley. Grasp the cable rope attachment with both hands. Place wrists against the head. Position hips back and flex hips, allowing resistance on the cable pulley to lift the torso upward so the spine is hyperextended. With hips stationary, flex the waist so elbows travel toward the middle of the thighs. Return and repeat.

Exercise #5: Cable Twists

With both hands, grasp a stirrup handle set at about shoulder height on a cable pulley. The far hand should be placed over the other with fingers interlocked. Facing sideways to the weight stack, step away from the pulley until the near arm is both horizontal and straight. With the feet spaced just beyond shoulder width apart, bend at the knees slightly and lift near the heel off the floor, resting on the ball of the foot. While keeping the arms straight, rotate the torso to the opposite
side (across your body) until the cable makes contact with the shoulder. Hold this position for a moment, and then return to the starting position.
Tip – Attempt to initiate the movement by using abdominal/oblique power and not by pulling with the arms.

Why Don’t I Have Abs?

Ok, so your body fat is now in the single digits, and you are in the gym hitting abs 2-3 days per week, but yet, you’re stomach looks nothing like those guys and gals in the magazines. Let’s take a quick look at a few possible reasons why.

No Resistance:

Abs are muscles just like your delts and tris, so why not train them in a similar manner? Doing sets of endless reps of leg lifts and crunches is not going to build jaw-dropping abdominals any more than bodyweight push-ups will develop an Arnold-like chest. Thus, you should not be afraid to perform weighted abdominal exercises that limit you to just 12-15 slow/controlled reps if you really want some deep “squares” in your midsection!

Quick/Choppy Repetitions:

If there is any muscle group that should be exercised with slow-paced, meticulously performed reps, it’s the abs. Pay careful attention to achieving a full range of motion from stretch to contraction – and make sure to get a tight/intense squeeze at top.
Fast reps will do little to overload the abs and will more likely result in injury and/or inferior results.

Lack of Intensity:

So many lifters are working under the false notion that all it takes to create a
truly outstanding 6-pack is a few easy sets of crunches and leg lifts at the end of a workout. But as I mentioned earlier, the abs are muscles just like any other, and if you really want to carve bricks into your belly, you have to train them with similar intensity to all of the other muscles in your body. So, don’t leave the gym without putting serious hurt to your abs!

Ab-Etching Workout

  1. Parallel Bars Straight Leg Raise: 3 x maximum reps
  2. BB Push Crunch: 3 x 12-15
  3. Cable Twist: 2 x 16-20 per side
    *This workout can be performed two times per week, with 2 days rest in between.

Eric Broser has been involved in the fitness industry for over 30 years. He is a world-renowned celebrity trainer, competition prep coach to top amateurs/pros, author, magazine columnist, supplement company/gym owner, and the creator/pioneer of five unique training systems.

Eric Broser

Are you interested in sharing your thoughts and ideas with our community? We're always looking for passionate contributors who align with our mission of promoting a healthy, enjoyable, and sustainable lifestyle. If you have valuable insights, inspiring stories, or practical advice to offer, we'd love to hear from you!

To contribute, send an email to asia@asiazuk.com with your article pitch or submission. Please note that content should align with the topics covered on our website, and we reserve the right to decline any requests that do not meet our guidelines.

Join us in inspiring others to live their best lives. Together, let's make a positive impact!