Fitness Magazine

8 Performance Pointers for Summer Six-Pack Abs

By 1healtheating @WeightTop
By muscleandfitness
You’d like to think it’s never too late to start, but the truth is that clock is ticking when it comes to getting those washboard abs in time for beach weather. Don’t panic, though: get started with these tips today and you’ll be set for a (mostly) shirtless summer.
The adage that “abs are made in the kitchen” is totally right, but almost as important is making sure you’re using proper form when you’re working toward better definition and strength in your core. These guidelines ensure you’re not wasting your time—or worse, setting yourself up for injury

8 Performance Pointers for Summer Six-Pack Abs -

8 Performance Pointers for Summer Six-Pack Abs

1. Hold the peak contraction
By consciously squeezing and momentarily holding the peak contraction at the top of each rep, you’ll work your abdominals harder and be less inclined to race through your repetitions.
2. Move at a smooth, deliberate pace
Use a slow, strict motion that increases the intensity of the contraction and minimizes momentum. Momentum is created using fast, explosive motions, which reduce the quality of your workout and invite injury.
3. Exhale at the top of the move
Hold your breath until you’ve reached the peak-contracted position for a stronger, more intense contraction. Exhaling early reduces intra-abdominal pressure, so you won’t be able to contract your abs as strongly.
4. Keep your head in line with your torso
When grasping your head to support it, don’t interlock your fingers, which increases the likelihood you’ll pull on your head and disrupt spinal alignment. Lightly cup your fingers behind your head to support it—don’t pull on it.
5. Make sure the action is restricted to your waist
During most upper and lower abdominal moves, your spine flexes (your lower back rounds), so don’t keep your lower back arched during the movement. Keep other joints stabilized.
6. The range of motion is fairly small in many abdominal moves
Bringing your shoulder blades off the floor in the basic crunch, for example, works the abs through a full range of motion. Don’t rise as high as you would in a full sit-up—such motion doesn’t further contract or stimulate the abs and may increase hip flexor involvement when your feet are planted, such as in decline-bench crunches.
7. Maintain constant tension throughout the set
The ab muscles recover quickly, so if you rest between reps, even if for only a second, it becomes difficult to adequately fatigue the muscle. Maintain constant tension by stopping just short of the endpoint on the eccentric rep.
8. Take precise rest periods between sets
After you complete your set, rest about 60 seconds to let your abs recover so you can complete your next set. If you start too early, they’ll still be fatigued and you won’t reach your target rep.

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