Bulging Abs With Weight Exercises
Obtaining a visible six-pack is all about having a low body-fat percentage. However, you can speed the process along and make your abs more impressive by building up the muscles so that they bulge out slightly more. Compound free-weight exercises such as squats and deadlifts are excellent for developing your abs, but to bring the muscles up to their full potential, you should add two 15-minute ab sessions each week, focusing on core-stability exercises that utilize weights.
To perform a plank, lie down with just your forearms and toes in contact with the floor, and your hips and torso held straight. Hold the position for as long as you can by squeezing your abdominals and glutes. This exercise trains the stability function of your core. Once you can hold a plank for a minute, wear a weighted vest or have a training partner place a weight plate across your mid-back.
Standing Band Crunches
Attach a heavy resistance band around a chinup bar, hold the band with both hands, level with the side of your head. Bend forward from your hips by squeezing your abs, and descend as far as is comfortable, then return to the starting position slowly. This exercise is popular among powerlifters looking to improve their abdominal strength for squatting and deadlifting. And unlike regular floor crunches, it doesn't put too much stress on your hip flexor muscles. You can also do this exercise using the weights on a cable machine.
Dumbbell Garhammer Raises
The Garhammer raise is very similar to a reverse crunch or lying leg lift, but you start the movement lying on your back, with your hips bent to 90 degrees. From there, contract your abs to bring your knees toward your head, and push your hips off the floor. Like standing band crunches, Garhammer raises do not involve your hip flexors and place more stress on your abs. Place a light dumbbell between your feet to add weight.
One of the lesser-known functions of your abs is to prevent movement, particularly rotation and extension, so including an exercise in your program that trains these functions is vital. For the Pallof press, stand to the right of a cable machine, and grasp the handle with both hands. Step to the right so that you have to resist the pull of the cable, and press the handle straight out in front of you. Hold this position for two seconds, then bring the handle back into your body. Do three sets of 10 reps per side.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.