This 10-Minute Workout Hits Every Part of Your Abs

Emily Shiffer
·4 mins read

From Men's Health

Building a set of cut abs requires a combination of a healthy diet and smart workouts that target every muscle of your core. And Jeremy Ethier, kinesiologist, fitness trainer, and founder of Built with Science, has just a solid workout plan you can use to do just that.

"Although your diet will be responsible for revealing your abs in the first place, your training will then be responsible for how developed and how well your abs and lower midsection look once they're finally revealed," says Ethier.

You should first understand your anatomy before you set out to do that. Ethier goes on to explain that there are four areas that make up your abs, and how each of these muscles play a significant role in sculpting out ripped abs.

Photo credit:    - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: - Hearst Owned

Area 1 and 2: Rectus abdominis
This is the section people typically associate with the coveted six-pack.

"This section can be further divided into two regions; the upper and lower abs. Given that they’re innervated by different nerves, each of these two regions can be selectively activated with different abs exercises," says Ethier.

Area 3: Obliques
"These run down the sides of the abs and not only adds definition to your midsection, but can help visually taper and narrow down your waistline," says Ethier.

Area 4: Serratus anterior
"This is situated right on top of the ribs, which adds more definition to your midsection, as well as playing a vital role in shoulder health and injury prevention," says Ethier.

'Your abs workout routine and abs exercises needs to be designed in a way that hits each of these various muscles," says Ethier.

Here is the four-move, 10-minute workout that Ethier uses hit every part of the six-pack. He recommends doing this routine one to three times per week after your main workouts or on rest days.

Exercise 1: Reverse Crunches
This move targets the lower abs over the upper abs in terms of activation. Ethier suggests starting with this move because it's more difficult than the others, and the lower abs is the area that most people struggle with developing and strengthening.

"Before you even start, initiate something called posterior pelvic tilt by squeezing your glutes and contracting your abs so that your pelvis tips upwards and your back flattens onto the bench. This will pre-activate your lower abs and keep them activated. When you perform a rep, all I want you to think about is curling your pelvis up towards your belly button and think about contracting your lower abs," says Ethier. "Build up this movement to roughly two to three sets of 15 to 20 reps done with bodyweight and full control, then move onto performing them weighted and/or with a decline implemented for two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps."

Exercise 2: High to Low Woodchoppers
This exercise will hit your obliques.

"You want to keep your arms extended and elbows locked, and then use the one side of your obliques to rotate your torso down and across your body towards the opposite knee," says Ethier. "I’d recommend a set and rep range of roughly two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps, adding more weight as this becomes easier."

If you have a hard time with the exercise or if you're missing a cable machine or resistance bands, another viable alternative are bicycle crunches. For these, you will need to implement a higher rep range of 20 to 30 reps or until failure.

Exercise 3: Weighted Crunches
This move targets your upper abs.

According to Ethier, the key is that you’re emphasizing the top down aspect of these movements by focusing on simply bringing the rib cage forward and down towards the pelvis. Moves can include a stability call crunch or weighted cable crunch.

"Your hips should simply remain stationary as you perform each rep. You’ll want to use a moderate rep range of two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps, gradually overloading these with more weight as your abs develop and strengthen overtime," says Ethier.

Exercise 4: Serratus Jabs
The final exercise targets the serratus anterior via protraction and upward rotation of the scapula.

"You can use a band or cable and set it up such that your arm travels upward during the jab. Then you want to simply perform an upward punching motion and reach as far as you can at the end position in order to protract that scapula and fully activate the serratus anterior," says Ethier. "Again, use a rep range of 10 to 15 reps per side for these and overload it overtime by increasing the resistance."

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