Use the Garhammer raise to get six-pack abs
The Garhammer raise is one of the very best exercises for working the lower part of your abs, making it an indispensable move for getting a six-pack. The problem? Hardly anyone knows how to do it properly. Follow my expert guide to nailing the Garhammer raise and start sculpting the lean and defined midsection you want, says New Body Plan’s fitness director Joe Warner
What is the Garhammer raise?
It’s only one of the very best exercises for getting stronger and more defined lower abs. To the inexperienced eye the Garhammer raise looks very similar to the hanging knee raise – which is the slightly easier variation of the hanging leg raise. But there’s nothing easy about adding Garhammer raises to your abs workout if you want to sculpt a lean, hard and defined middle.
What’s so good about the Garhammer raise?
It’s great for working your lower abs because it keeps tension on these muscles for the entire duration of your set. And as you should know, increasing the amount of tension you can put and keep on a muscle is one of the main ways to make it grow bigger and stronger. Here’s more on why tension is so important if you want bigger, more defined muscles.
How is the Garhammer raise different to the hanging knee raise?
In a hanging knee raise there’s considerable time in each rep when there’s no tension on your abs. This occurs in the start position when your legs are hanging straight below your torso. So after every single rep you lose tension on your abs when your legs straighten. You only resume placing tension on your lower abs once you initiate the next rep.
Garhammer raises are different because once you start your set you don’t take off the tension after each rep, so tension remains on the muscles until your set is over. This makes the move incredibly challenging, but highly-rewarding if you want to build a stronger and more defined midsection.
How do I do the Garhammer raise?
• Hang from a pull-up bar with straight arms or, if your gym has dedicated knee raise kit, position your back against the padding with your forearms on the padded handles.
• With your chin up, chest up and back straight, use your lower abs to raise your knees up so your thighs are parallel to the floor.
• There is now tension on your abs, and this is the start position.
• From here, use your abs to raise your knees up towards your chest. This movement should be done under complete control, with no swinging of your legs.
• Pause briefly and hold this top position, then slowly lower your knees back down to the start position where they’re parallel to the floor. Again, this must be a controlled movement back down so don’t let your knees simply drop.
• That’s one rep. Do as many reps as you can whilst keeping full tension on your abs. As soon as you can’t control the reps, end the set.
• Rest for 60-120 seconds then repeat for a total of 3-4 sets.
How can I make a Garhammer raise easier?
If you can’t do more than one or two reps before your lower abs scream for mercy you can work on building up the strength of these muscles with some other great lower abs exercises – including the reverse crunch – that use free weights as well as your own bodyweight. Here’s my top rated bodyweight exercises for getting a stronger core.
How can I make a Garhammer raise harder?
Once you can comfortably rep out more than a dozen high-quality Garhammer raises without stopping – and with maintaining perfect form for the whole set – you can make the move harder by increasing the amount of weight your abs must move and manage. One way to do this is to secure a dumbbell between your feet, or a medicine ball between your knees. Start light, because this extra weight will push your lower abs far harder than they’re used to.
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