Getting shredded abs is one of the most popular topics in the fitness industry.
Abs become even more important to people as the weather starts to warm up because they have the opportunity to show them off, and they want to do so with full confidence.
To help you achieve a killer six pack, use these five exercises and tips.
1. Exercise Ball Roll Ups
Position yourself with your shins resting on top of an exercise ball and your hands on the floor. You will slowly roll the ball away from you, extending your legs, and then towards you by tucking your knees into your chest.
This exercise works the lower abdominal muscles, and also recruits the obliques to stabilize your body to stay balanced on the exercise ball. Keep the pace of each repetition very slow, sticking to a four count. This ensures you're able to focus on the abdominal muscles and it also makes it more challenging.
Aim for 15-20 reps, going to absolute failure per set, fighting the temptation to speed up your tempo as the lactic acid hits the abdominal muscles.
2. Incline Bench Roll Ups
This exercise replicates the same biomechanical movement as the first, but on a completely different angle. I’ll warn you now – this one is tough!
Set a bench on a 45 degree incline, and lay back on it with your hands above your head, holding on to the head rest. From here, roll your legs upwards into your midsection, and continue rolling your mid-section so your lower spine lifts off the bench and your knees almost touch your face. The challenge comes when you have to hold your body weight and stabilize your body from moving side to side.
Due to the difficulty of this exercise, the repetition range may be lower, likely reaching failure between 10-12 per set. Make an effort to slowly lower your legs back to the starting position on each repetition; this will make the abdominal muscles work much harder.
3. Hanging Leg Raise & Knee Raise Superset
Hanging leg raises are the perfect way to target the lower abdominal muscles while also activating the upper portion of this muscle group.
Using a hanging position with a neutral handgrip on a pull-up bar, slowly raise your legs upwards until they're parallel with the floor. It is essential that you stop your torso from swinging, otherwise most of the tension on the abdominals will be lost.
Aim to reach failure by 10-12 repetitions and then start performing knee raises. The position and motion are exactly the same, but you will now lift your legs up while allowing them to bend at the knee rather than keeping them straight. This makes the exercise slightly easier by shortening the leverage. For this second exercise, aim for another 10-12 repetitions to failure.
This superset will make your abdominals really burn - push yourself through it.
4. Weighted Crunches
Crunches are the perfect way to isolate the upper abdominals. There is a myth that ab training should all be based around light weights, but like any muscle, they grow when exposed to overload. This is why I strongly recommend using some classic weighted crunches to build more prominence across the upper abdominal region.
Perform sets to failure using a 10-12 repetition range, doing at least five sets per workout. This will quickly help develop more noticeable development across the abs.
5. Weighted Planks
Weighted planks are the perfect way to work the entire core including the obliques, upper abs, and lower abs. With stationary exercises, all of the muscle tension is isometric which works the muscle in a unique way. Adding weight makes the exercise more challenging, as does increasing the amount of time you perform each set for.
Begin with 45 second sets, and see how much weight you can support while maintaining impeccable form with a completely straight back and remaining parallel to the floor.
Using side planks for oblique stimulation is also a great idea. Sometimes doing a plank circuit rotating between front, right, and left with no break in between is a good strategy when short on time.
Burn Fat Fast!
Don’t neglect the abdominals in the gym - training them properly can make a real difference in their appearance. Likewise, don't only focus on training and expect to get ripped without considering other factors to reduce your body fat. To look shredded through the midsection this summer, you must reduce the layer of subcutaneous fat which covers your abdominals.
As somebody who is in to training and nutrition, you're already aware that being in a calorie deficit, and eating high quality foods for a prolonged period of time, is the only way to get lean. Using cardio and altering your training intensity also goes a long way to increasing energy expenditure, contributing to fat loss.
Using a multi-faceted approach to weight loss, a good thermogenic fat burner will ensue you attack fat from every angle. L-Carnitine is a great place to start because of its ability to help transport stored fat to the mitochondria where it can be processed as energy. Formulas that also utilize ingredients like capsicum, chromium, and green tea, support fat loss.
Gymnema Syvestre is also a great choice because of its unique impact on blood sugar management, again making weight loss more attainable.
Including these ab exercises in your training regime will go a long way in developing a solid six pack.
My recommendation is to train abdominals twice per week for at least twenty minutes per session.
Remember that controlled breathing is essential when training abdominals; always exhale during the concentric portion of the repetition so you can “crunch” the muscles with greater intensity, contraction, and focus.
Then, focus on losing the fat covering your abs so you can show off your hard work.