“How do I get strong, well defined abs?” In my line of work I get asked this question constantly. This question seems to be the sole driving purpose for many men in the gym. This simple question has a complex, but accomplishable, answer.
First off, the statement that you “can’t out lift a bad diet” is true, in most cases, unless you have a genetic gift from God, you have to eat right. Be smart and keep your meals simple and cover the basic energy needs of your body. It is also best to follow a good cardio regiment because, let’s face it, you can resistance train all you want but if you don’t do something that gets your heart rate up and burning fat, you will just be strong with little definition on your body, let alone your abs.
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Now when it comes to training for strong abs, men tend to think that if they do 300 crunches a day they will magically sprout a six pack. Sadly that is not the case. For strong, well-defined abs, you need to break your training up into different training periods with one period training strength, and the other working on muscular endurance, which leads to toning. Programs need to follow the proper set, rep, and weight or acute variables for short. There is a general rule of thumb when training for specific results. There is plenty of cases out there that discuss the perfect set rep and weight ratios, but for the sake of this article let’s keep it simple. When training for strength gains and muscle mass, you would usually have low sets with high weight/resistance. When you want to tone and increase overall muscular endurance, you do the opposite with high reps and low weight/resistance. Your abs are no exception to this rule!
When selecting specific abs exercises to perform
You need to keep in mind that your body is a dynamic moving machine that breaks all planes of movement in one action. When training your abs, you need to keep this in mind – exercises should be just as dynamic. Your abs are part of a larger muscle group, mainly known as the core and their role in core stabilization is what you are going to tap into for you ultimate abs workout. Unstable exercises that require multiple muscle groups is the fastest, most economical way to get the results you want. Lastly, when training your abs, you also need to train your lower back, as it also helps firm up your front and support your core. The lower back also acts as an antagonist to your abdominals and helps with proper posture so be sure to train them as well!
The thing about resistance training is that results do not happen over night or the next month for that matter. You need to know that it takes time for results, generally you can expect to feel stronger in three weeks. This is due to your body getting better at figuring out the movements of your program’s exercises and learning how to properly execute them, allowing heavier loads to be lifted. Good news is three weeks is also when a good habit is usually formed! Depending on where you are physically, you will start to see results around eight weeks of training. For the chiseled six pack abs be prepared for years of dedicated training and dieting.
Below are some challenging abs workouts that build muscle and melt fat
- Cable Chops 4 sets of 8 repetitions (Each side)
- Med ball V-Sit side tosses 4 sets of 8 repetitions (Each side)
- Med ball Wood choppers 4 sets of 8 repetitions
- Overhead cable extensions 4 sets of 8 repetitions
- Reverse Hypers 4 sets of 8 repetitions
- Weighted Ball Cobras 4 sets of 8 repetitions
Muscular Endurance/Toning Period
- Mountain Climbers 3 sets of 30 seconds
- Plyo-ball Cross Crunches 3 sets of 30 repetitions
- Plyo-ball Long Lever Crunches 3 sets of 30 repetitions
- Plyo-ball Push-ups 3 sets of 30 repetitions
- Supermans 3 sets of 30 repetitions
- Prone Hip-Lifts 3 sets of 30 repetitions