When asked what exercises to do to get a flat six-pack, I get frustrated inside. Society is brought up to believe you can workout your 5-6 days a week and that will get your your dream body. But in reality, working out will not give you that. Working out PLUS a clean diet CAN. Is nutrition more important than dieting? No. Is dieting more important than nutrition? No. Both are equally important. Both are beneficial and complement each other. So going back to how to get abs…
Your Abdominals are just like any other muscle in your body. You need to work them out using weight in order to allow the muscles to build. But you won’t see them unless your body fat is low enough to allow them to peak through. So here is what to do:
I hate crunches. There, I said it. People think they can do a hundred crunches a day and get a 6-pack: WRONG. They are pointless unless you are truly engaging your abs correctly. So instead, I want to provide you with some of my favorite abdominal exercises. Some are from my Physical Therapy background, some from my Pilates repertoire, and others from my Weightlifting experience. I recommend they be performed 2-3x a week because just like any other muscle, they need time to rest and recover as well.
Be aware that it is important to train the core in a 3 planes of motion- not just flexion/extension (like during a crunch). Only doing sit-ups or crunches simply shortens the Rectus Abdominus muscle which may effect posture poorly. So strengthening your core in side to side motion and rotational motion will engage your other core stabilizing muscles.These include your Transvere Abdominus, Obliques, Erector spinae, Quadratus Lumborus, and several other minor ones. So in the picture below are 6 exercises- 2 for upper abs, 2 for lower abs, and 2 for obliques. Try them out!
1*Upper Ab Decline Sit-ups with weight- Lie on your back holding a weight at your chest. Perform a sit-up and then slowly return back down.
2*Lower Ab Incline Rollovers- Lie on your back with your legs straight out and flat. Raise your legs up towards the ceiling and then your knees towards your forehead, keeping them slightly bent.
3*Oblique Bicycles- Lying down on your back with your legs in tabletop (90 degrees) and hands behind head. Then crunch your opposite elbow to your opposite hip. Alternate side to side.
4*Upper Ab Cable Pull Downs- Place a rope strung from up high on a cable column. Kneel down in front of it, holding the ends of the rope in each hand. Then crunch down bringing your elbows to your knees. Remember to make your abs do most of the work, not your arms.
5*Lower Ab Stability Ball Pikes- In a push-up position, place your ankles on top of a stability ball. Slowly raise your hips up towards the ceiling, bending at your hips (like a yoga downward dog position). Keep legs straight (or slightly bent to make it easier). Then return back to where you started.
6*Oblique Plank Hip Dips- In a plank on your elbows, hold the plank. Then dip/tap your left hip to the ground & then the right. Alternate side to side.
The answer to getting abs in the kitchen is simple- Eat better! You do not have to cut out all sugar, fruit, etc. You just need to track what you eat and be sure to meet your Macro’s daily. Try to eat whole foods, produce, protein, lean meats, vegetables, complex carbs most of the time. Yet allow yourself some treats here and there. You could have the best 6-pack in the world, but until your belly fat diminishes, you will never see it. Since you cannot isolate where you burn fat, I recommend HIIT because it is the best way to burn fat.
Remember it is not easy. If Abs are what you want, you have to work hard. You have to stay focused on the goal. It will probably take time (depending on your body fat level) so hang in there!
(click on picture to zoom in)