athletic muscle building banner

muscle building picture
Get your FREE Muscle Building book below!

Abdominal Muscle Building Program

When the discussion of ab exercises comes up you typically hear about things like crunches and leg raises. These are great isolation exercises for the abs, but if you are familiar with the science of muscle building programs you know that isolation exercises aren't usually the most effective way to build muscle.

Compound exercises, or exercises which use two or more joints in conjunction, are usually considered much more effective since more weight can be used to overload the muscles. For the abs this means that we are talking about a few staples of a good muscle building program which arenít usually considered to be abdominal exercises.

I am referring to exercises such as the deadlift and back squat. These exercises work a variety of muscle groups, including the abs. This may be surprising to some, but if you have ever performed these lifts you know that your spine must be stable in order to remain injury free during a deadlift or squat. The abdominal muscles play a big role in stabilizing the spine during these movements.

As you progress in weight on deadlifts and squats you will find that the abs have to work harder and harder to stabilize the spine. This is overload on the abs, which will cause them to grow.

I rarely do crunches or leg raises, yet when I am lean enough I still have a full six-pack. I may throw in some isolation exercises from time to time, but the bulk of my ab training comes from big, compound movements. This is simply the most efficient way to train your abs.

In addition to squats and deadlifts, I also find that standing overhead presses and weighted pull-ups are also fantastic abdominal builders. But as I alluded to before, it doesnít matter how much you work your abs if you are carrying too much fat around your waist.

The primary determinant of how good your abs look is your bodyfat percentage, not your training program. Just look at young children. Many of them have abs that are clearly visible. Do they have some special training program? Absolutely not. They simply have a low bodyfat percentage. Of course, a well-designed training program will add to the visible definition in the abs, but not if your bodyfat is too high.

Make sure to get your FREE muscle building report!