We all want chiseled abs, but most of us don’t really know how to train them. Even when we think we do.
The truth is, there are areas of the abdominal wall that most fail to target on a consistent basis. Those areas? The external obliques and serratus muscles that make up a big part of our core. They get indirectly trained whenever we do any type of standing exercise or during bigger compound movements, but isolating them will truly bring out the detail you have been looking for in your core.
Of course, you won’t be able to truly see these muscles unless your body fat is low enough, but once you get there you’ll be happy that you trained them directly at least twice a week.
One of the keys to that three-dimensional abdominal structure is training your abs from multiple angles, just like any other muscle group in your body. Abs have layers of muscles that intersect in opposite directions, so it’s crucial you train them from different sides and angles.
Below are two workouts to help you target the obliques and serratus and build a complete set of abs. Start slow and progress on to the more complicated movements. Additionally, never forget to train your lumbar/ lower back region – you want to keep that area strong as well. A strong core is compromised of strong abs but also a strong lower back.
Finally, don’t add too much weight or resistance to your oblique work – you don’t want these muscles to grow thick and give your midsection a thick look, which will take away the aesthetics of your entire physique. The goal is to keep your core as small, yet as strong, as possible.
Finally, with any type of abdominal work I highly encourage you always exhale during the contraction of the movement and hold it there for about one second, then slowly inhale and allow the muscle to stretch. Any type of abdominal work will truly benefit with the way you breathe.
Exercise 1 Captains Chair/Roman Chair Side Twist Leg Raises
Tip Don’t allow your hips and legs to go all the way down on this movement. Keep the tension on your abs and not on your hips. Avoid swinging your legs as well and control the movement entirely.
Exercise 2 Cable or Resistance Band High-to-Low Wood Choppers
Reps 20 per side
Tip Follow through the entire motion of the exercise. Keep your head locked and make sure your hands and torso go through the entire motion.
Exercise 3 Decline Bench Russian Twist
Time 30 second bouts
Tip Adjust the decline to your level of difficulty. Keep the tension on the abs at all times by making sure you are backwards enough but not to tilted to the front. If this is an easy movement for you then hold a dumbbell, kettlebell or weighted ball with you as you twist.
Exercise 1 TRX Side-to-Side Knee Tucks
Reps 15 per
Tip You will have to use your entire core to stabilize yourself on this exercise, so make sure you are comfortable from beginning to end of the motion
Exercise 2 D-Handle Cable Side Crunches
Reps 20 per side
Tip Do not add too much weight on this exercise. Place your other hand right on the serratus of the side you will be working and slowly go down and feel the area flexing. This is an exercise you must careful feel otherwise you will not target the right area
Exercise 3 Cable or Resistance Band Low-to-High Wood Choppers
Reps 20 per side
Tip Use the same range of motion as the high to low wood choppers but this time you are starting from a downwards position and moving up. Keep your torso tight and follow through the entire range of motion. Exhale when you contract and inhale when you relax.