Abdominals are best trained within a circuit, and these two circuits are amongst my favorite

June 15, 2018

We’ve been conditioned to think that the crunch is the only really effective exercise for the abs. It’s not. There are many other movements than can and should be used to strengthen and develop a strong core and achieve impressive six-pack abs.

I’m sure you’ve seen at some point, an informercial, advert, or video, showing someone poorly executing a floor crunch or sit-up, often in black and white and with a big red X altering people not to waste their time on this movement. It’s usually shown to advertise a new type of six-pack workout miracle piece of equipment – nothing more than a fad, and usually ineffective and a waste of money. Look, I’m not in any way against the standard crunch. It’s a great exercise – when performed correctly, but lets face it, it’s not exactly one of the more exciting and challenging of moves. Within this post, I’ll show you two abdominal circuits that will do more than help sculpt a defined centerpiece, aka – your abs!

rob riches six pack abdominal workout

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Keep The Intensity High

The structure and placement of your abdominal muscles aren’t like other muscle groups, and quite unique in how they work and function. Given their shape (bands of muscle, more like thick rubber bands), and proximity to the heart and lungs, they can receive blood and oxygen much quicker than other muscle groups, and so can withstand a higher amount of punishment (I use this word lovingly as a measure of training intensity). Performing abdominal exercises in the same manner as you would other muscle groups – a set, followed by a recovery/rest before then performing the 2nd set, and so on, wouldn’t challenge the abdominal muscles as much as if they were pushed to work under more intense conditions – such as a continued circuit of all exercises performed immediately one after the other.



Get Your Breathing Pattern Right

What happens when you take a big, deep breath in, and exhale. I mean really exhale and get all the air out from the lungs? Try doing it, and touch your stomach as you do so. Do you feel your abdominals get tense and contract. They are. They’re involved in this deep-breathing, and can make a big difference to how the abdominals are involved in each movement.

It’s easy to get lost in each exercise, and by that I mean you’ve probably found yourself at times just going through the motions and counting the reps until you can finish and move on to the next exercise. If you’re really truly serious about exercise and transforming your body (and mind, in addition to man other aspects of your life), then you need to remain conscious and aware during each and every exercise – especially when it concerns abdominal training.

Next time you perform (any) abdominal exercise, slow things down and practice such breathing technique. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and as you exhale, blow all the air out of your lungs and contact the abdominal muscles. Repeat this pattern a few times before starting the exercise so that you get the rhythm down. As you perform the exercise, and start to crunch the abdominals, begin to exhale and time it to that at the end of the movement when your abdominals are flexed, you have fully exhaled and can give them an extra squeeze.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

Your body is an incredible organic machine, and will find the most efficient way of doing something. This means that when exercising and challenging the body, it will be quick to find a way to use less energy and perform the same task with greater efficiency. This usually means conditioning the muscles, getting stronger, and improving your cardiovascular circulation to get more blood and oxygen (nutrients) to the working muscles, and be quicker to clear away toxins that are can be a byproduct of exercising.

The point I’m making here is that if you perform the same exercises in the same routine too often, the body will soon adapt and the benefits to you may not be as big. Once the body has adapted to this routine, the changes you were experiencing  at first will soon diminish. By alternating your abdominal routine within different circuits, and occasionally switching up your exercises, you’ll be able to hold your body off from becoming too familiar with your routine.


Abdominal Structure

This topic has been brought up to me numerous times, and so I want to make a point about it here. Your abdominal structure is unique to you. Some people who are tall may appear to have 8 or 10-pack muscles, while others may appear more blocky with abs seemingly wrapped around their entire torso. You can’t change this any more than you can your eye color or height. The biggest gift you can give yourself is not to compare you with anyone else, and focus on achieving the best YOU that you can be. Imagine you looking and feeling the best that you can be. Etch that vision in your mind and work towards it every day. There’s nothing quite like waking up and looking and feeling like you’re doing everything you can to be the best version of you.

sixpack exercises rob riches

Perform Circuit 1 & Circuit 2 on different days. This will keep the workouts varied and continue to challenge your abdominals.

Circuit 1

Circuit 1: Perform 1 set of each exercise, then immediately perform next exercise in circuit without rest. Repeat circuit 2-3 times

Circuit 2

Circuit 2: Perform 1 set of each exercise, then immediately perform next exercise in circuit without rest. Repeat circuit 2-3 times