IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #430:
Etch Amazing Abs: The Truth
TRY THIS AT YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
Etch Amazing Abs: The Truth
Q: You guys don’t seem to do many sets for abs, but yours are pretty cut and hard. I’ve watched some guys at the gym train abs for 30 minutes straight. I want my abs to come in as fast as possible, so shouldn’t I do more [than your short ab workouts]?
A: Always remember that to see your abs, you have to have low bodyfat. If ANYONE pares down their midsection layer and has an overall bodyfat of around 8 percent, they will see abs–even if they don’t work them. That’s because those dividing lines are tendons that “strap down” the rectus abdominis muscle, and they are always there, just usually hidden by a layer of fat…
Once you’re lean, how deeply your abs are etched–the depth those tendons sit–is where efficient training enters the picture. You need to BUILD some ab muscle to get deeper ruts so your abs really pop. And it doesn’t take long workouts. We train on our lunch hour, so we’ve had to figure out the best ab-etching routines that don’t waste time…
We get it done with a couple of efficient sets of two or three exercises max. Our ab workouts usually take five to 10 minutes. We train the hip-roll function first, with a leg-raise exercise. Then we train the torso-curl function, with a full-range crunch…
As we explain in X-traordinary Abs, there’s a reason for that order, plus we add end-of-set X-Rep partials at the key point on the rep stroke to increase fiber activation. X Reps trigger an extra blast of ab-etching effectiveness.
Two of our favorite precision ab moves are incline kneeups (hip-curl function) and full-range crunches (torso-curl function)….
Two sets of each of those, with end-of-set X Reps partials on set 2 of each exercise, does it. That’s the simplest routine listed in X-traordinary Abs; however, there are also a few superset and tri-set variations that include substitution exercises, like cable crunches and V-ups, you can work into the mix (remember, change ignites gains).
To repeat–and this is damn important, a fact people don’t want to believe it: You will NOT get midsection perfection with ab exercises ALONE; you must reduce your bodyfat so you don’t have a layer hiding your six-pack.
No matter how awesomely developed your abs are, you won’t see anything if there’s a layer of fat filling in the gaps. You don’t need endless ab exercise, but you must use BOTH proper diet AND training to chisel in eye-popping abs–and it’s really not that difficult or complicated if you’re dedicated.
[For more information on diet and training to get ripped, see X-treme Lean, part of the Double- or Triple-Shredded Combo Offers, which also include X-traordinary Abs and The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout.]
Q: I’ve been reading your X-Training Blog for years. Good stuff, and it gets me motivated. I noticed that Jonathan recently stopped working out for a few weeks when his wife had a baby (congratulations, by the way). I’m coming back from a month-long layoff and was wondering how you suggest I get back into training. I can’t wait to start hitting it hard again!
A: After a month off your body is susceptible to an excess of muscle damage if you train too hard at first. That’s why you must limit re-entry to sub-failure workouts (keep the reins on the motivation at first–no all-out sets).
That should be common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many trainees jump right back in, get painfully sore, and then must lay off training for another week just to recuperate–or worse, keep right on training through the soreness and severely damage muscle tissue, which makes gaining almost impossible.
The best program for breaking back in should be fairly basic so that you regain your coordination and rebuild nerve force quickly. If you do things right, you’ll be back at full strength in about two weeks, so the right program is key…
That’s one reason we went back to the phase 1 Size Surge program recently–to allow Jonathan a better re-entry routine than full-on Positions of Flexion. Remember, POF includes stretch-position work, like overhead extensions for triceps (pictured below). Stretch overload is an ultimate mass trigger, but it’s notorious for heightened muscle trauma and soreness–not what you want while you’re breaking back into training….
The Size Surge phase 1 program is perfect for getting back up to speed because you do only a couple of sets of a big exercise followed by one set of an isolation-type move for each bodypart. That helps limit muscle damage–if you keep your training sub-failure. Plus, you hit each muscle two to three times a week.
The Break-In Workout in the Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide is also a good one–a couple of sets of basic exercises three days a week, with some minor nerve-force-enhancement techniques. In that e-guide we suggest a two-week sub-failure break-in period. That’s optimal for the Size Surge phase 1 break-in strategy as well:
Week 1: Sub-failure sets; weights should be very light–all sets should feel like warmups.
Week 2: Add some weight to all exercises so that you can get the listed rep range, but still without reaching failure; the work sets should not be as easy as week 1, however. You should just be starting to struggle as you reach the end of your sets.
After those two weeks, you’re ready to pack some major muscle on your physique. So go all out and grow!
Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
Double- or Triple-Shred Discount Fat-Loss Offers: Get our diet-and fat-loss e-book, X-treme Lean, together with X-traordinary Abs e-book for a double-offer savings. Or go for the best-deal Triple, which also includes The Fat-to-Muscle Workout. Both offers are at special limted-time low prices. Click the Double- or Triple-Shredded Combo Offer and get on the rocketship to ripped today.
NEW–X-Rep Mass-Workout Offer: You can get our 2 BIG best-selling X-Rep e-books–The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout and Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building–at a limited-time discount price. Those contain everything you need to add slabs of muscle fast–from ultimate exercises to fast-mass X tactics to 4 complete workouts to pro-style training secrets to Arnold’s X-Rep methods. Make any set three to five times more effective! Click the covers below for more info and to see what people are saying about X-Rep mass-training methods…
NEW: The X-traordinary SIZE SURGE Workout, Jonathan Lawson’s legendary two-phase mass program that packed 20 pounds of muscle on his frame in only 10 weeks. See all the changes he made to the original workouts, transcribed from his training journal. In printable templates so you can duplicate his incredible gains. You also get his eat-to-grow diet and streamlined no-frills supplement schedule, anabolic acceleration methods and loads of tips and tricks. Plus, an interview with a top-level bodybuilder who trains Size Surge style for incredible growth.
Newbies: If you’re a beginning bodybuilder, coming back from a layoff or a trainer who trains beginners, our new e-book, Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide, is for you.
To follow the ITRC training program in “Train, Eat, Grow,” get a copy of the latest issue of IRON MAN.
This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman.
The IRON MAN Training & Research Team
The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Our April issue will shower you with inspiration for muscle stimulation, starting with sizzling Hardbody photos of new IFBB figure pro Ava Cowan. In the training-inspiration department, we have Eric Broser’s ultimate pec-pounding tutorial and Brian Yersky’s formula for a big-back attack. Time to get wide. The TEG men continue their quest for more mass with the latest size-surge workouts, and Jerry Brainum takes on organic eating—is it the healthier way to grow? Find the April IRON MAN on newsstands now. See the Table of Contents here for a full preview.
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