A Trainer Shares Top Tips for Shredded Six-Pack Abs and Obliques

The old saying goes that abs are made in the kitchen, and as popular fitness wisdom says, it stuck with a reason: Nutrition is an incredibly important part of sculpting your six pack. But when it comes to exercising half the equation, knowing exactly how to train those muscles is crucial. In a new video, YouTuber and bodybuilder Eugene Teo gives his tips for making your abs – while building a stronger, healthier core.

While static exercises like planks have primary stability-building benefits, especially for beginners, they are don’t do Add weight or take muscles through whatever range of motion is required for long-term strength development, and so Teo advises incorporating movement and resistance into your core training sessions.

Teo breaks down the three major muscle areas that make up your heart, what they do, and how to get the most out of each one. First, the rectus abdominis, which forms the most visible part of the abs, controls the flexion of the torso. He recommends exercises that get as much flexion in the trunk and spine as possible, such as crunches and leg raises, in order to take the muscles in a full range of motion, rather than keeping the upper body rigid, which will actually go a lot more than this work on the muscles hip.

Next is the oblique, which plays a role in rotation and diagonal motion. Teo recommends exercises that include side bending and “wood chopping” movements. “The main focus here is to think of lowering the shoulder toward the other side of the hip,” he says.

Finally, there is the transverse abdomen, just below the oblique, which deals with the pressure of the midsection. Stationary exercises such as planks and hollow body bras are useful here, as well as the tummy tuck, a form of “vacuum training” that some bodybuilders prefer as a way to bend at their waists. This works by bringing your navel as far toward your spine as possible.

“It helps to do this on a full exhale, as this causes the diaphragm to stretch toward the thoracic region of the spine, creating more space around the midsection for the transverse abdomen to perform its internal contraction activity. And draw it all in,” says Teo.

“It’s pretty much impossible to isolate any area through your midsection,” he adds. “All of these muscles are interconnected due to their common placement and roles.”

Another thing Teo does to increase the effectiveness of each exercise when training his core is pairing his breath with specific parts of the movement. For example, he finds it helpful to exhale forcefully when you reach your peak contraction. “It helps to completely shorten any muscle you’re training,” he says.

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