Pump Quiz: 3 Keys to Abs
Sometimes the difference between good and great abs is knowing smarter ways to train. Test your abs IQ with these challenging questions.
By Bill Geiger, MA
1) You’ve decided you want to target your lower abs (below your six-pack). Which exercise best emphasizes that area?
A) DECLINE-BENCH CRUNCH
B) KNEELING CABLE CRUNCH
C) BASIC CRUNCH WITH FEET ON FLOOR
D) HANGING LEG RAISE
2) Training abs first before you tackle another larger bodypart is generally not recommended, especially if you’re going heavy on
A) CHEST DAY
B) LEG DAY
C) BICEPS DAY
D) TRICEPS DAY
3) Because the abs are composed of a great degree of _______-twitch muscle fibers than most other skeletal muscles, they can be trained ________.
A) FAST, LESS OFTEN
B) FAST, MORE OFTEN
C) SLOW, LESS OFTEN
D) SLOW, MORE OFTEN
1) The lower portion of the rectus abdominis is best targeted when your upper body is stabilized and you shorten the distance between your pelvis and ribcage by bringing your knees into your chest. Answers A, B and C are all upper-abs moves because your legs are stabilized and instead you curl your upper body to close the distance between your lower body and torso. On the hanging leg raise (answer D), your upper body is immobile as you bring your feet up high, putting the emphasis on the lower abs.
2) You need strong abs to help stabilize your core when doing any number of standing exercises. Since most chest exercises are done on a bench, it doesn’t matter if they’re fatigued; and since most exercises for the biceps or triceps are single-joint movements done with moderate weights, here too it’s less critical that the abs are fresh and strong. But when you’re squatting, you need a strong core to help produce intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize the spine, so you don’t want to train abs beforehand. The same is true with standing and bent-over back and shoulder exercises. Answer B is correct.
3) The abdominals contain a higher degree of slow-twitch muscle fibers than other skeletal muscle groups, giving them more endurance capabilities so they can be trained for fairly high reps before reaching failure. That also enables them to recover more quickly between workouts, so you can do abs more often over the course of your training split than most other muscle groups. Answer D is correct.