Quick and effective aren’t typically two words we would put together in a fitness sentence, but with the description of this ab workout, we will! You know I’m a science nerd, so in this post, I want to share the why behind this approach because I believe when we understand why something works we are so much more likely to give it a try and stick with it. Also, fitness is about training smarter not harder. If we can achieve results in less time, it’s worth a try!
About the Workout:
This ab workout focuses on one main thing… the time under tension also known as TUT. Time under tension refers to the length of time a muscle is under strain during a set. Let’s create an example…
Set #1: you complete 10 crunches and each crunch takes you 2 seconds to complete… TUT = 20 seconds.
Set #2: you slow down the exercise by counting 1 second as you crunch you body in and counting 3 seconds as you extend your body out of the crunch for a total of 4 seconds to complete 1 rep. You complete 10 total reps at 4 seconds each rep… TUT = 40 seconds.
Comparing these two examples, while we completed the exact same number of reps, in set #2, we spent 2x as much time under tension.
Why it’s Effective:
Personally, I believe a lot of methods are effective. I believe methods are most effective when they are cycled. Unfortunately, we don’t always learn new methods or even if we do, we forget to apply them. Luckily for you, that’s why I’m here! I’ll help remind you (or bug you hehe) to try all sorts of new approaches.
Most of us think of core training as quick bursts of energy within ab exercises. You fly fast from side to side in a bicycle crunch or contract quickly in a sit up. Instead, the effectiveness of this approach comes from spending a significant amount of time under tension without rest.
Studies (like this one) have showed the effectiveness of muscle time under tension. Get how cool this is… in their experiment, they had participants train each of their two legs in two different styles. On one leg, participants completed reps of 12 secons per reps of leg extensions and on the other leg, those same participants completed the same number of reps but took only 2 seconds per rep. Protein synthesis on the cellular level can be measured as an indication of muscle growth. Researches took measurements of protein synthesis in these participants after training and found that on the leg that spent more time under tension, protein synthesis rates elevated sooner than and to a higher degree as compared to the leg that completed reps of 2 seconds. How awesome!
Clearly, the amount of time under tension during exercises makes a difference, especially in muscle hypertrophy aka how we see what we call “results.”
We will cycle through 4 abdominal exercise. The exercises themselves aren’t as important as the overall approach. In these 4 exercises you will keep your hands behind your neck/head as a support! Keep from pulling on your neck. As we complete 30 seconds of each exercise (as the standard workout… there are modifications below), the key is to move from one movement right into the next without stopping. As you transition, do not allow your ab muscles to relax and do not rest your neck and head on the ground throughout the entire workout.
I want to stress again… the time under tension approach comes from you not allowing your ab muscles to relax and you not allowing your head and neck to rest on the ground! It will only take you 2 minutes to complete this.. push through! It’s worth it!
My Tip – use your music as your guide. Pick your favorite song, fast forward until the screen shows a total of 2 minutes remaining in the song, hit play and GO with these exercises until the song stops. Just guess when 30 seconds has passed to move onto the next exercise. If you finish all 4 before your song stops, just keep going! Only stop when your song stops.
Beginner + Advanced Modifications:
Standard – 30 seconds each exercise, 2 minutes total
Beginner – 15 seconds each exercise, 1 minute toal
Advanced – 30 seconds each exercise, 2 minutes total, 2-3 rounds
If you’re participating in the Summer Fitcation Challenge, today’s workout is Cardio + Abs. Instead of the scheduled ab workout, try out this one!
Guess what? To make things more user-friendly for you, I created a workout summary you can save to your phone and/or print!!!