Everybody wants to know what the secret is to getting great abs. Well, let me tell you that there is no secret – you need to train hard and eat sensibly to get to the point where your abs develop those impressive contours.
I’ve been very blessed to have been told by many important people in the fitness industry that I have some of the best abs in the world, but I don’t take this for granted and it takes work!
So I am going to share my top ten ab training tips with you so you can achieve your great abs of your own.
My typical routine can include good old-fashioned sit-ups, hanging leg raises with twist and medicine ball crunches. Here is a step-by-step selection of my top tips.
Tip 1: Training
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Ok, it’s obvious but you need to incorporate weight training and cardio training into your routines, so that you burn calories daily, whilst reducing body fat.
Your cardio can be varied and you can sprint, cycle, swim, climb stairs, use a treadmill, an elliptical and so on. And as well as calorie burning all will work your abs indirectly as these muscles and your other core muscles engage with your limbs to generate power and control force.
Tip 2: Diet
You must follow a balanced diet combining a high level of high protein and a moderate to low carbs and fat level. I suggest 45% protein, 40% carbs and 15% fat. Your diet is key to achieving your body-fat levels low enough to reveal your abs. If you’re following a bad diet it will be hard to get those abs on show unless you have a naturally fast metabolism or possess great genetics.
Tip 3: Variation
Always change up your abs routine – don’t stick to the same routine every week. My typical routine can include good oldfashioned sit-ups, hanging leg raises with twist and medicine ball crunches. Your routine should involve exercises that stress your abs differently – using the three exercises I’ve mentioned as an example, situps for the rectus abdominis and hanging leg raises with twist, for the internal obliques, external obliques and the rectus abdominis.
Whilst dynamic medicine ball work will stimulate your upper and lower abs. I will typically pick about 6 to 7 different abs exercises that I will rotate every week and change up.
Tip 4: Avoid certain foods
Stay away from sugary, high-starch and salty foods. Also avoid foods that are high in fat and high in carbs. These foods can contribute to fat gain, which will prevent those abs from appearing.
Tip 5: Understand your abs
“One thousand sit-ups a day isn’t going to make your abs just magically pop out – getting your body-fat levels very low is the key component”
Understand the myths and truths about abdominal training and this will allow you to train smarter. Getting great abs is not about how many sit-ups or crunches you can do a great 6-pack actually reflects how lean you are.
Guys need a body fat level of 10 to 12% and below to reveal their abs and women 12 to 14% (note women must be aware that these body fat levels can be detrimental to their health – serious athletes and fitness models aspiring to achieve these body fat levels, must be mindful of this and monitor their health accordingly).
We all have abs, unfortunately some of us have to work harder than the next person to attain great looking abs. One thousand sit-ups a day isn’t going to make your abs just magically pop out – getting your body-fat levels low is the key component.
Tip 6: Water
Drinking cold water allows you to burn calories. If you’re completely hydrated your fat burning rate will be optimised. So drink six to eight glasses of water a day. If you do this you’ll burn 70 calories per day (eating and drinking use energy). That comes to 2100 calories a month – as there are 3500 calories in one pound of body weight, you could theoretically lose six pounds every 10 months just from drinking water!
Tip 7: Believe In Yourself
If you don’t believe you can get great abs, then you won’t. The mind is much more powerful than your muscles. If you believe you can do it, you will do everything necessary in your power to attain that goal. Your mind’s power on top of a sensible diet and training plan will help you attain your fitness goals.
Tip 8: Have a Cheat Meal
It’s ok to have a cheat meal whilst eating healthy throughout the week. I advise one cheat meal. Use it as a reward for eating healthily six days of the week. One cheat meal will not affect your flat abs goal.
Tip 9: Feel The Exercise
When you are training your abs make sure you feel the exercises. If you don’t feel the contraction you probably aren’t doing the exercise right. It is important to sense the muscle working, as that will provide additional stimulation and neural feedback and maximise the training response.
Tip 10: Rest!
Although it is important to train hard and be consistent still have to rest your body. Some people think that the more time you spend in the pop out – getting your body-fat levels gym the better your body will get. That’s not the case and ‘living in the gym’ can actually be very very low is the key component counterproductive. You risk over-training.
Your body builds muscle when it’s resting not when you are tearing down your muscles’ protein while training. Giving yourself two to three days rest after a hard week of training will help you attain your goal of getting great looking abs.
A typical week of Obi’s ab training
I train my abs every other day as well as doing cardio. I train sit-ups for 3 sets of 25 to 30 reps and I give myself about 30sec rest between each set. The second exercise I do is medicine ball crunches and I’ll do 3 sets of 25 to 30 reps. A typical cardio session would be running 3 miles at 8min mile pace, which would take me about 24 to 25min.
On this day I perform hanging leg raises for 3 sets of 20 to 25 reps. My rest between each set is about 30sec. This minimal time between sets allows me to truly feel the burn of the exercise as opposed to giving myself too much time between sets. The second exercise I do is the oblique stability ball crunch.
I perform this exercise for 3 sets of 20 to 25 reps and I always make sure I squeeze and contract my obliques whilst performing. It is very important that when you are performing any abs exercises that you are breathing properly. The cardio for this day is sprinting. I’ll do about 10, 100m sprints – typically they’ll have a walk back recovery.
The two abs exercises I do on this day are the forward stability ball roll and the kneeling cable crunch. I perform both of these exercises for 3 sets of 20 to 25 reps and my rest is 30sec between sets. I take a minute between exercises. And my cardio would be a 4 mile run at 8min mile pace, which I’d in about 32min.
As you can clearly see my weekly abs exercise routine is very simple and involves no more than two ab exercises per day and this component of my workout takes about 10min. Good luck on your journey to great abs!