Wondering how to get those 6 pack washboard looking abs? Here is a list of things you should be doing.
- Clean up your diet. Unfortunately you can’t target fat. You don’t get to choose where your fat loss goes. A clean diet with healthy fats will help you lose the extra weight along the midsection.
- Consume enough protein. Protein is essential in gaining lean muscle and the most valuable macro-nutrient. Your body burns more calories breaking down protein than any other nutrient you intake.
- Stop doing floor crunches. You’re wasting your time and probably straining your neck in the mean time.
- Cardio. Cardio gets a bad rep because people are afraid they will lose muscle, but have no fear, you have to do an enormous amount of cardio to actually break down muscle. No you don’t have to kill yourself on the stair stepper for an hour, but interval training for 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week will allow you to see progress.
- Use your core during all work outs. This is honestly the main thing that has helped me personally. Every squat, lunge, push up, dead-lift, etc. I do, I’m engaging my core and holding it tight. This act being done every time you hit the weights will strengthen your abdominal muscles.
Ab Exercises to Try:
Hanging Leg Raises: Engage core to raise legs slowly to prevent a swinging motion. The idea is to control on the way up, freeze, and control on the way down.
Bench abs V ups: Sit near the end of the bench/chair and extend legs straight out in a slanted angle. Lean back slightly and engage your core. Bring your legs in, bending at the knees, squeeze, and then slowly extend the legs back out. If you want more of a challenge, place a weighted plate on the tops of your feet and/or don’t hold on to the bench with your hands as shown in picture.
Dumbbell Side Bend: You can use a dumbbell or plate, both work great. I love these for the obliques but they have to be done correctly in order to get the pay off. Hold weight in one hand and lean to that side. You must mentally and physically be engaging your obliques and double-check that the lean is coming from the side and not your back. Most gyms have a slanted machine that you can use to do this exercise which helps keep form correct.
I could give you a million more core exercises for you to try but I’d be lying if I told you I do more exercises than the three listed above. Those “10 minute abs” videos that have you laying on the ground moving your head up and down aren’t serving you well. I’m not saying you aren’t working your abs at all, but doing exercises that put more resistance and isolate the abs will bring you better results. Also, adding a little weight to your training will NOT make you bulky. I always use a 5 lb or 10 lb dumbbell or plate and I’ve never been told my abs are bulky ;).
Hope this helps! Give the exercises a try in your next ab work out!