February 09, 2022
IFBB Pro John Jewett recently hopped on the Muscular Development Magazine's Youtube channel to discuss his opinion on the common belief that abs are only made in the kitchen. Jewett also shares tips and tricks on how to build your abs like a bodybuilder.
Great abs can tie any type of physique together, provide excellent trunk support, and add a wow factor to your body. Unfortunately, getting fantastic abs requires enormous commitment in and out of the gym.
John Jewett is well known in the bodybuilding community as a 3-time IFBB 212 Olympian. He is a registered dietitian as well and received his master's degree in nutrition and dietetics. He started his dietetic career by working in a hospital setting, treating patients with various health conditions.
After a while, he decided to open up his practice, J3SportsRD. He focuses on competitive physique athletes within his practice to get them ready and healthy to be up on stage. Sponsor-wise, he is an Animal Pak Athlete and an Official Gasp Athlete.
John starts the video off by saying that for a long time, he didn't train abs, which resulted in some of his competition looks having almost no ab development. He even thinks throughout the years of not working his abs that it resulted in him losing potential ab definition.
So what do you do when you need to develop your abs when the work in the kitchen is not enough? First you need to understand the muscles and their function before you can properly target them.
John broke down the anterior muscle groups that makeup the core:
Training your abs comes down to knowing the reason why you have them in the first place. Your abs help with bracing and supporting your spine during exercises, like heavy squats. The abs help to transfer energy during lifts; if you have a weak core, you won't be able to put as much force and tension into performing your lifts as you should.
According to John, to reach hypertrophy on your abs, you need to focus on the concentric and eccentric parts of all movements. Specifically for bodybuilders is practice getting on stage and flexing the abs, and performing vacuums.
Don't be afraid to hit failure while working your abs. These first 3-4 exercises are the main ones for hitting hypertrophy within the abs.
More Resources On Ab Core Exercises:
Off days are ideal; that way, you're not doing core work that impacts your bracing ability during your usual workouts. If you don't have any off days, work them farthest away from your leg training sessions, so upper-body days at the end of your workout is the best time if you can't do them on an off day.
John recommends if you haven't been training your abs to start with every four days getting a session in, as recovery time needed decreases, you can work them every three days.
Your progression can look like this:
This is John's exact plan on how to help build your abs when the kitchen isn't quite enough.
Here's an ab-centric workout that hits the major exercises that Jewett covers in his video.
Note: The last two exercises might take some getting used to if you don't have any bodybuilding posing experience. Keep rests between sets under 1 minute.
There were plenty of helpful tips shared in the video by Jewett that touched on everything from ab workouts to training protocols. It's great to get advice like this from the real pros that know what they're talking about. We think you'll like the ab workout that includes some posing, it's important to switch things up every now and then!
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