A shredded six pack is the sign that you are truly an elite level trainer and athlete.
You want great abs and we know how you can get them. Follow this how to build abs guide and see results fast!
Abs muscles have two important jobs to fulfill. First, the abs muscles play a pretty big part in your body’s stabilization and energy exertion, especially when it revolves around compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, and the bench press.
Second, having strong and well-defined abs looks appealing for most onlookers. Admit it: You’ve heard the ladies talking about Ryan Reynolds abs or the abs of some other Hollywood star.
This ultimate abs guide is going to discuss everything from dieting to training in order for you to have a better understanding of how to get a six pack.
Let’s start this guide and get you headed in the right direction for the ultimate workout.
Learn How To Build Abs
As mentioned, your abs are a part of the big picture when it comes to movement. This could be compound lifts or even running.
The abs muscles are also broken down into two different sections. These sections are the external and internal abs.
Your external abs are the ones you see in the mirror. Your internal abs are beneath the skin protecting your organs and important core muscles such as your diaphragm.
When you perform an action such as the deadlift, you need to tense up your abs to help contract your core to pull the weight. This contraction distributes energy that provides the stabilization and trunk movements.
Weaker abs will feel sore after doing compound lifts such as this. That’s where gym workouts and stomach exercises for men come in handy.
The soreness is a sure sign that better abdominal strengthening techniques are needed.
Gym Workouts With Crunching Exercises Aren’t Your Only Option
Crunches are pretty good for your abs since they are isolating this region of your body. But, other exercises work as well.
Even isometric contractions work very well. These contractions are the ones that take place while your body is in a static position. This basically means you get into a position and then hold it for a certain timeframe. It will cause tension to the muscle group the position is intended to target.
Three of the primary isometric contractions to consider are the paused lying down leg raise, planks and stomach vacuum.
All three of these exercises cause your abs muscles to contract without movement, and are actually a lot more difficult to do than you likely think.
The top exercise out of these would be the planks. Planks are commonly referred to as being used for core training. Yes, the plank assists with core training and distributing beneficial contractions throughout your body.
Studies show that the plank exercise places 100% contraction against your abs. That is the reason why they became popular all of a sudden.
The plank is probably one of the most difficult exercises to master. But, with enough practice, your abs will love the amazing contractions.
Bodyweight Or Weighted Resistance For Abs Training?
There are a lot of disputes as to whether or not the best thing to do is use only your bodyweight or weighted resistance. The answer to these disputes is pretty simple.
Use both your bodyweight and weighted resistance to add variety to your abs workouts. This is how to get a six pack.
This dispute is like the age-old debate of deadlifts or squats. Each is good for you and being picky about comparing these types of things is silly.
Bodyweight training is a great option because you can do abs exercises no matter where you are. You can be on a vacation and still perform almost all the different bodyweight abs exercises.
Want another perk?
It gives you a lot more exercises to choose from without the necessity of spending money on equipment or gym memberships.
But, weighted resistance is also good because added weight will of course, increase the strength of your abs at a faster rate. Performing a significant amount of weighted abs exercises also helps give that outward abdominal appearance.
Doing more abdominal exercises without weights is generally going to make your abs appear flatter and more defined.
These situations, of course, do not always occur because of genetics but are pretty common occurrences.
These Are Weighted Exercises You Should Consider For Abs Workouts
You could always use the abdominal crunching machine where your sit or lay and grasp handles to pull the resistance, but there are more options to consider.
Medicine balls and weight plates come in handy, especially on the decline bench for sit-ups.
You could extend your arms out above your head with either weighted device and then do the movement. That applies even with crunches where you could hold the plate behind your head to place resistance.
The cable machine is useful as well. You can do seated cable rope crunches to get a nice burn on your abs. Keep in mind that if you do compound lifts, you should strive to use your abs to your advantage by squeezing them during the movement.
This will give them a better workout.
Nutrition Is Vital For Abdominal Growth And Definition
You can’t expect to have abs if you are eating unhealthy foods that lead to fat gains. Forget it. It won’t happen.
Your stomach is one of the main areas fat is going to start building. This is not a good thing because doing abs exercises with excessive body fat in the stomach region just places to build muscle in an awkward position. They may appear through the fat, but other times they can be below the fat. Again it depends on your body type.
If you have fat, then light abs workout regimen are okay. But, you should be focused on cardio to burn most of it before getting too serious about abs definition.
This is not to distract you from your goals, but it needs to be said to give you realistic hopes. That is why the dieting portion of this guide is important for the development of your abs.
Those with normal or above average body fat need to be on a fat burning diet. It doesn’t need to be too crazy, but fat loss is needed for your abs to grow. For this reason, you need to consume fewer calories than your body needs for energy. For example, if you need 2,000 calories per day, then you would start off by lowering this amount to 1,700 calories per day. Try a great meal plan to lose weight.
This is going to allow your body to burn more fat than you would without a calorie deficit.
That being said, you need to eat nutritious foods that are high in protein and have some dietary fats. Carbs should come from sources that have plenty of fiber.
Fiber helps burn fat, keep you feeling full and is a carb that does not count towards your carb intake. The reason is because fiber is a nutrient that our bodies can’t digest, so anything consumed that is fiber will be sent back out the other end.
Don’t Be Afraid To Add Oblique Exercises To Your Training
Your oblique muscles are the ones found on your side. You’ve seen them. This is in the region often called the love handles.
This is another core muscle that plays a similar role as your abs in your compound movements. When you target this muscle group you also recruit abs contraction, so the idea is to add in a couple of oblique specific exercises to give your waist all-around definition.
Here Are Two Different Abs Workouts
It’s time to start your gym workouts and getting your abs in shape. You will be given two different workouts to use.
One is focused on using different types of things that gyms carry or you might have for a home workout. The other is focused on bodyweight exercises. These require no equipment. With that said, getting a yoga mat may be a good idea.
You can use each workout for three or four days a week depending on how often you wish to train. Rest days are required and this will be covered after the workout schedule.
Take no more than 45 seconds for rest between sets and use moderate weight while doing resistance exercises.
Bodyweight and Weighted Resistance Training
Exercise Sets Reps
Normal Plank x3 Hold 30-60 seconds
Elbow to Knee Crunch x4 x25
Lying Down Oblique Crunch x4 x15 (each side)
Static Lying Down Leg Raise x2 Hold 30 to 60 seconds
Hanging Leg Raise x3 x20
Hanging High Knee Crunch x3 x20
Decline Sit-up w/ Medicine Ball x4 x15
Russian Twist w/ Medicine Ball x3 x15
Bodyweight Exercises Only
Exercise Sets Reps
Elbow to Knee Crunch x5 x25
Normal Plank x4 Hold 30 to 60 seconds
Lying Down Leg Raise x5 x20
*Superset: Do the second exercise right after the first.
Static Lying Down Leg Raise x3 Hold 30-60 seconds
Flutter Kick x3 x20
V-Crunch x4 x15
Standing Oblique Crunch x4 x15 (each side)
Russian Twist x3 x20
Reverse Crunch x3 x15
Rest And Recovery Are Important With Abs Workouts
For some reason, there is a widespread and accepted myth about bodyweight exercises. The myth is that no rest period is required.
This is only true if you do a few exercises and for a short timeframe where the intensity was not high enough to cause muscle damage. But, what we gave you is an ultimate workout.
It is not low intensity! You will need to take at least 24 hours of rest to allow for muscle recovery and growth.
This is vital for preventing muscle injuries and it allows them to grow better as well. Abs muscles are no different than your biceps or deltoids. They grow through proper nutrition and training. This is where the nutrition portion discussed comes into the picture.
You need protein to allow these muscles to repair and grow. The process is simple. Protein enters your bloodstream when your muscles signal they are damaged and need repair. It then breaks down the damaged ones and creates exact replicas that are stronger and larger.
Over time this makes the muscles on your body larger.
How to get perfect abs is something on the minds of most men. You now have all the info and the ultimate workout you need to get started in the process of developing thicker and well-defined abdominal muscles.
This is not something that happens after a week or two of gym workouts.
The abs region is usually one of the hardest areas to get your muscles to look just the way you want. That’s why plenty of hard work and dedication is required for results to show.
Both your training and easy diet plans need to be well established and followed regularly. You get the best results when you work hard. Meal planning would be a good idea because this ensures you do not snack too often and it prevents the urges for drinking soda, eating desserts and other unhealthy foods.
Before taking part in any fat loss plan or intense training, you should consult your doctor. This is especially important for those who have had any prior health conditions that required medical attention.
After your abs develop, you will still need to maintain a good diet and training program.
Abs can easily be lost faster than it took for you to build them. The best thing to do is establish a training routine where your abs exercises are added into a few of your workouts.
By Brian Pankau, CPT