Getting and keeping a lean strong set of abs is challenging. It requires hard work and discipline, but it is not out of reach. With the proper strategies in place, you can be the proud owner of your own shredded cover model abs.
I have distilled 18 years of experience into 10 straightforward tips that you need to incorporate to achieve and most importantly keep a strong, lean set of abs. When done correctly, your abs will not only look great, but help prevent injury, and help stabilize your body in all key moves in your workouts.
If you gradually incorporate all 10 of these strategies, you will see improvements in your abs. Let’s get started!
1. Eat smart
It goes without saying that if you want to see your six pack, you have to get your diet in check. There is so much information available that it can get confusing, even contradictory so it’s best to keep it simple. Eat four to five times per day to ensure a steady flow of nutrients in your body throughout the day and to help you avoid cravings when your blood sugar gets low. Make your diet high in lean protein, and moderate in dietary fat and carbohydrates. Stay away from saturated fat, food items high in sugar, and anything processed (aside from a once weekly cheat meal) and you’ll be lean in no time.
2. Drink up!
In addition to a sound diet, to get abs you must stay hydrated. Consuming three liters of water per day will make sure your body is functioning at peak condition by aiding in digestion, and making sure you are flushing your system regularly. Even slight dehydration leads to a noticeable decrease in performance. It will also keep you satiated and stave off cravings for sweets and other foods that can ruin your progress. This equals fat loss so you can see the hard work from your abs training.
3. Train Abs Consistently, but don’t overdo it
To get shredded abs, you do not have to exercise them every day. In fact, that can be detrimental to your progress. They can be trained more than once a week, however. I suggest three abs workouts per week, targeting each region- upper, lower, and obliques. It is enough to stimulate growth and progress, without overtraining them.
4. Quality over quantity
The 1,000-crunches-a-night myth has been long debunked. All that will do is make you tired while slightly stimulating your abs. Higher rep sets are fine on occasion, but be sure to make most of your sets in the moderate rep range of about 12-25 reps. This way you can focus on your abs working, and get more quality reps instead of mindlessly exercising until you hit an exorbitantly high number of reps.
5. Build you abs with weighted exercises
Standard crunches and leg raises are great, but exercising your abdominals with weight will add a whole new level of detail. For example, doing hanging leg raises with a light dumbbell between your feet, or cable crunches with resistance will sculpt the abdominal muscles. This will carve deep ridges into your core, making your abs more visible. Incorporate a few weighted exercises into your routine each week and reap the benefits.
6. Don’t forget to Train Obliques
All too often, people exercise their upper and lower abdominal region while forgetting the obliques- the side walls of your abs. This will help complete the package and give you more complete development of your core. Any abs exercises where you are twisting will target this area.
7. Add more fibrous carbohydrates to your diet
Your diet is perhaps the most important part of getting a lean six pack. Most people get this wrong, thinking if they just do hundreds of crunches a week, abs will suddenly appear. Everyone knows to eat a high protein diet, but few pay attention to their carb intake. Make fibrous carbs- primarily fruits and vegetables- your main carb source and you will be well on your way to achieving your goal.
8. Contract your abs during other exercises
Even when you aren’t exercising your abs directly, it is crucial to flex your core during your other weight training workouts. It is especially important when performing compound moves like deadlifts, squats, and bench press. It will add detail to your abs that you can’t achieve through regular abdominal training and will help your other workouts dramatically.
9. Exercise your Lower Back
It’s an opposing muscle group to your abdominals, similar to the way biceps & triceps, and hamstrings & quadriceps interact. It will help balance out your physique and strengthen your core.
10. Cardio, cardio, cardio
You will sculpt your abs with targeted abdominal exercises, but reveal them through cardiovascular exercises. Everyone has a six pack, but it is typically hidden by a layer of fat. Cardio, plus a sensible diet, will help reveal your hard work!
Thanks for reading, check back tomorrow for the Workout of the Week! -Parker
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