The perfect ab workout doesn’t exist….or does it? Athlean X creator Jeff Cavaliere seems to think so, which is why he released what he calls the “perfect abs workout” on YouTube back in July 2019.
Let’s find out if there’s really “science” behind this ab workout.
About the Creator – Jeff Cavaliere
Jeff Cavaliere might not be a name used in your household at the dinner table, but he’s surely made his mark in the professional sports and fitness worlds.
So, who is this guy?
Jeff Cavaliere was once a trainer and a physical therapist for the championship Mets over a decade ago. He has two degrees to his name and is certified in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Cavaliere created a program known as Athlean X to help people get in shape in as little as 90 days. This program takes a more scientific approach to avoid injuries and maximize strength and muscle gains.
To date, he has over 10 million YouTube followers. So yes, he’s a pretty big deal.
What is the Perfect Athlean X Core Workout?
This particular workout is one that Athlean X creator Jeff Cavaliere uses himself.
It focuses on every minor muscle in the core and the movements these muscles are responsible for. That means it’s not the typical core workout where you’re just cranking out 1,000 crunches or holding a plank for 5 minutes.
This program is designed in a way where it targets certain movements and muscles first so you can get to them before you’re drained of energy. The focus is on the lower ab muscles first before working your way up.
This workout consists of just 7 exercises and will probably last 15 minutes or less. All you need for this workout is a band and a pull-up bar.
Check out the video for this workout below.
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What’s unique about this core workout is that it doesn’t include sets or reps. Instead, you’ll be doing each exercise for a period of 30 to 60 seconds with between 20 and 30 seconds of rest between every 2 exercises.
There’s also a beginner and advanced version depending on your ab strength and experience in the gym.
Let’s talk about the differences between these two programs.
Beginner Athlean X Core Workout
- ISO Reverse Crunches – 30-60 seconds
- Seated Ab Circles (alternating clockwise & counterclockwise) – 30-60 seconds
- 30-second rest
- Recliner Elbow to Knee Tucks – 30-60 seconds
- Opposite Side Tuck Planks – 30-60 seconds
- 30-second rest
- Oak Tree Step Outs (one set for each side) – 30-60 seconds
- Banded Pull Downs – 30-60 seconds
- Plank Pushaways – 30-60 seconds
Advanced Athlean X Core Workout
- Hanging X-Raises – 30-60 seconds
- Hanging Leg Spirals (alternating left and right) – 30-60 seconds
- 20-second rest
- Tornado Chops (alternating left and right) – 30-60 seconds
- Opposite Scissor V-Ups – 30-60 seconds
- 20-second rest
- Sledgehammer Swings (one set for each side) – 30-60 seconds
- Banded Pull Downs – 30-60 seconds
- Plank Punch-Outs – 30-60 seconds
3 Cool Benefits of the Perfect Athlean X Core Workout
The problem with a lot of core workouts is that they only focus on one of the ab muscles: The rectus abdominis. Now while that muscle is definitely important for getting you a head start on your six-pack, you’re neglecting every other muscle in the core.
This Athlean X core workout hits literally every core muscle with a different exercise.
That includes the rectus abdominis, obliques (both internal and external), transverse abdominis, and the serratus anterior.
This does wonders for your ab strength as well as how your abs end up looking a few months out. You’ll be able to see the six-pack you’re desperately craving, but you’ll also get some deep cut obliques and toned serratus anteriors too.
Takes Into Account Fatigue
We all head to the gym with some ridiculous goal of doing 20+ sets for abs and hundreds of reps altogether. Then we get to the third or fourth set and realize maybe we were a bit overzealous with our planning.
That means you’re left with two options: End the workout early or train your already fatigued muscles even more.
The problem with ending your workout early is that certain muscles won’t be directly targeted, such as the obliques. The issue with still powering through the workout is that you don’t have your full energy reserve to push each muscle to its limits, meaning few gains.
Since this workout targets the more heavy-hitting exercises first (bottom-up), you’ll be able to get them out of the way when you’re still full of energy. So you don’t have to worry about any muscle being neglected.
Looking at Jeff Cavaliere’s background, it’s no surprise that this workout is so highly technical. Yet, the fact that this core workout takes on somewhat of a scientific approach helps to prove that it can and does work.
You also get the benefit of knowledge.
The workout video, in particular, shows you exactly what you should be doing in both the beginner and advanced workouts. But Athlean-X also goes goes the extra mile to explain how the exercise works and why you need to do it.
So you’re not just blindly following a workout plan as you might normally do. This can give you the motivation to stick to the routine for several weeks or months as results develop.
1 Negative of the Workout
No Sets & Reps
This is more nitpicky than anything. But the Athlean X core workout uses recommended set times rather than specific sets and reps to shoot for. And there are a few issues that can come along with that.
First, you want to be sure that you’re not seeing a 30-second set as a race against time. You want to make sure that you’re completing each rep at high-quality. Yet, focusing on a high-quality rep might leave you only doing 5 reps per set.
If you end your workout with a mere 35 reps on abs, you did something wrong.
Piggybacking off of that idea, there’s also not much to go on when it comes to knowing when to move up to the advanced program.
Is there a certain rep goal you’re going for? What happens when you can perform the entire advanced workout with no problem?
These are questions left unanswered by the video. Somebody more skilled in fitness might know the answer for themselves, but this is unclear to somebody who’s a beginner.
Final Words on this Workout
The Athlean X core workout is a solid workout for beginners looking to tone their abs and get jacked. Since it’s based around a scientific approach to exercise, there’s no doubt that it’ll get you the look you’re going for if you’re sticking to it.
You can target every muscle and movement for the best results.
The problem is that there’s a lack of clarity. It’s somewhat unclear how to know when you’re ready to move up to the advanced program and how many reps you should be shooting for overall.
Based on everything, this workout is great for beginners but might stall gains unless you bump up the resistance at the advanced level.
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