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2 Exercises to Help Build Powerful Abs!

Updated on September 8, 2018

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There are people who only care about the looks of their abs, but many of us want to have a midsection that actually is just as strong as it looks! Sure, you may have to shed some fat to see your abdominal muscles in the first place, but they may not look all that great on their own, once that fat melts away.

So, have a listen to what Nick Nilsson has to say about how to build strength in your abs, with two special exercises, to develop abs that function as well as look...

Why would you want strong abs?

There is nothing wrong with training your abs for looks, but if you're just training for looks you're probably not going to build that much core strength. On the other end of the spectrum, if you train for core strength then the looks will naturally come after that. I'd like to have my abs be as strong as they look, and not just look like you have good abs.

Like if you're doing heavy squats, you don't want a little, twig core area that's going to snap. It's critical to have a strong core, because the stronger your core the more weight you're going to be able to lift in almost all exercises, whether you're talking about squats, deadlifts, or barbell curls. Your core is actually activated very strongly whenever you're doing simple curls, because you need to stabilize the upper body as you're moving the weight.

As the strength in your core improves, the strength in all your other body parts is going to improve as well, because you'll be able to use heavier weights during your exercises. That's especially true with squats and deadlifts, because with these exercises you really load that core area. Building up strength in your core is going to be way better for you than wearing a weight belt... you won't have a sore back, and you'll be able to knock out some really heavy lifts naturally! This will automatically carry over into your sports performance as well.

Here are 2 ab exercises you should be doing!

As long as you train your abs properly, because it'll form that natural weight belt around you, you're going to do away with lower back pain and improve your posture as well!

I get a little crazy sometimes, and do really unique exercises that are more targeted than your standard exercises, but for core strength here is one of my favorite exercises...


This is the most simple exercise for building your abs that I have ever found, but it's just ridiculously effective. You can do this with a barbell, dumbbells, or even cables, but what you do is hold your weight at the top of the barbell curl position. Just hold it there, like you're going to do curls, but instead you go ahead and squat. So, it's like a front squat without any skeletal support, because you're not resting it on your shoulders. When you hold the bar in that position, especially when you're in the bottom of your squat, all the tension goes right into your abs.

The first time you do this, use a weight that's a lot lighter than you think you can do, because it's actually a very tough exercise. Half of the reason is because your core doesn't get a break at all, the whole way through the motion of this exercise. Don't attempt high reps with this exercise, because you won't be able to. 3 to 5 reps will do you just fine. The best place to start is just using an empty bar, that's where I started, but I eventually worked my way up to 185lbs.


This next one is a great exercise, especially for sports performance, and it looks a lot like you're cross-country skiing when you do it. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, at your sides, now swing one forward while you swing the other backward. With each swing, as it goes one way, dip yourself down in a little squat, and as you swing back up, push up with your legs. So, you're using a little bit of body momentum to swing those dumbbells in front of you and behind you. Just make sure to alternate your arms like you're a cross-country skier.

You'd think that, since you're using momentum, that you won't be working your abs so much, but the cross tension of two swinging dumbbells is just incredible, because all of that has to go through the core. All the sports that involve throwing and kicking are going to benefit from this exercise. It's going to tighten up your core, but it's also going to give you a great looking set of abs. Start with something like 20 to 30 pound dumbbells at the most, but you can work up to 80-85 pound dumbbells eventually.

Try out those exercises for a while and tell me how well some of your other lifts improve because of it! You're on your way to a strong AND sexy looking set of abs.

If you want more, click through for the next part of the interview with Nick Nilsson where he reveals an underground exercise that will help you visibly improve your abs WITHOUT losing body fat! That's pretty crazy...

© 2018 Ben Guinter

What are YOUR favorite ab exercises for building strength?

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