In 'Getting ripped!' we looked at what abs are and also the benefits of working on your six-pack. It's not about vanity - although let's face it rippling abs look pretty good - but also about the body benefits strong abdominals bring, such as better breathing, flexibility, greater range of motion and movement, not to mention stability and core strength. The question now is "how?"
For many men, the image of a perfect male body with hard-as abs and a washboard stomach can seem like a fantasy ideal, reserved for pinup models and celebrities with their cosmetic surgeries and on-location personal trainers. However, there's nothing stopping your average man from creating a more-defined torso and getting ripped in the process. All you need is a firm strategy and some fitness know-how:
If you're abs are hidden under a layer of fat then you need to shed some weight to reveal your six-pack definition. You might be building up muscle but that doesn't mean to say you should start eating more. Instead, ditch refined carbs, or high GI carbs, such as white bread and pasta which produce a blood sugar surge followed by a slump which stimulates cravings. Go for brown so-called slow carbs. Eat a protein-rich but healthy breakfast to curb appetite and cut out bad fats. Remember, burning protein takes up more energy than burning carbs or fats.
Crunch & Sit-ups
Crunches create a strong core and really work the six-pack muscles, or rectus abdominis. The key is to maintain control and not let your legs swing or drop down quickly. With any type of crunch you want to keep the abdominals engaged and continuously working. The same goes with sit-ups, where you can challenge the abs by taking the pressure off the hips and making your core do all the hard work.
Another great core strengthening exercise. The static plank can also improve posture and help you tone. Planks really put the transverse abdominis to the test, which involves the flat muscle layer to the sides of the abdominal area that wraps round, keeping the torso looking trim and pulled in. These are the deepest abdominal muscles and give the stomach that flat look. Get these muscles between your ribs and hips in shape and the six-pack that sits above will look even better.
If you work intensely on your abs every time you workout you might find that you are not getting the results you expect. It's important to work other muscles in the body so that you don't create an unbalanced look. Not only that, but rest days are important in letting the good work that you do on your abdominals take effect and to let sore muscles recover.
Rather than thinking more, think more difficult. Utilize free weights and other ways to create resistance to add an extra difficulty level to exercises. When you're working your abdominals you want to engage the muscles in a challenging way rather than put them through a long training period.
Keep up the cardio, as this can help burn fat and also strengthen your abs. You don't necessarily need to create a complicated routine either. Squats and building up endurance with a jumping rope can all toughen up the core and give those abdominal muscles a real workout.
To create that defined V that runs down from the hips to the pelvis to frame your six-pack you need to add some twisting movements to your workout. Side bends and crunches with a twist can work well, such as touching each knee with the diagonal elbow as you lift off the ground. What's vital is to go at the rate that feels right with your obliques as they are often not overly strong or developed and might not benefit from a real pounding.
Whether you're aiming for killer abs or not, no workout is complete without some strength training. This doesn't have to be about bulking up but toning up instead. By developing muscle mass the body has to work harder and this burns more calories. With the right strength training you can look more slender, which is perfect for showing of your new ripped abs.
If you want a six-pack then it's time to rip it up and work with us. Get in touch.