I really did suck mud at the start of my lifting “career.” When I look back on the first few years of my training (more like five years…), it’s impossible to not end up with my face hole open and hands on my head. Among the many hundreds of things that I have been doing incorrectly, six, in particular, stand out.
So here are six things I wish I knew earlier about resistance training that might save you a few years of dicking around in the gym.
1. Abs are NOT made in the kitchen
“Abs are made in the kitchen” is probably the most brainless thing I had ever heard (for the most part). What is not a brainless thing to say is this: Abs are made in the gym; Revealed in the kitchen.
Don’t get me wrong — no amount of silly 8-minute ab workouts is going to make up for the fact that you are too fat. Because spot reduction isn’t a thing. If you cannot see your abs, you need to get leaner than you are now. Which entails a calorie deficit.
But if you want your abs to pop out a bit more noticeably and appear more blocky, you need to train your abdominal muscles the same way you would train any other muscle:
Step 1: Pick a loadable ab exercise that you can track long-term for improvements and in which rectus abdominis, this bad boy…
Step 2: Get within a few reps of failure.
Step 3: Take a proper rest period between the sets.
Step 4: Apply progressive overload over time by using more plates when doing cable crunches, more weight and/or a fuller range of motion when doing leg raises, or a higher incline when doing reverse crunches.
Step 5: Employ the power of calorie deficit and reveal the abs you have built.
A side note: Some people are lucky and they have blocky abs just by getting lean enough. Genetics, you know. If that’s not you, train your abs with…