Many people seek flat abs and ways to chisel the midsection. Proper nutrition is key in attaining toned abs. No matter how defined a person’s abdominal muscles are, six pack abs will remain elusive without the shedding of fat. In order reduce body fat to reveal defined abs, follow a balanced program involving solid nutrition, fat-burning cardiovascular activity, and progressive strength training.
There are specific abs exercises that can target the midsection and help build lean muscle tissue. Perform three sets of a few abs exercises up to three times a week on non-consecutive days. Work in the 15 to 45 rep range, and try to thoroughly fatigue the muscles in order to make progress. Although nearly the entire midsection puts forth effort on any given abdominal exercise, various exercises can be performed that target certain areas of the abdominal region. Choose from the following exercises to design an ab workout to get washboard abs.
Upper Abs Exercises
Many exercises work the upper abs, including the basic crunch, crunches on stability balls, and decline crunches. More advanced exercises may use a light weight for added resistance. The bicycle maneuver is the most effective ab exercise, according to the American Council on Exercise research studies. It stimulates the most muscle activity.
To perform the bicycle crunch, lay flat on the ground and place your hands comfortable behind your head. Bring your legs upward and move them in a controlled pedaling motion. Keep the entire abdominal region engaged through the exercise. Reach each elbow to the opposite knee for each repetition. Don’t pull on the neck to avoid neck strain.
Lower Abs Exercises
Abs exercises that involve the lifting and lowering of legs often target the lower abdominals. Try knee lifts in a captain’s chair, v-sits, and leg throws to engage the lower abs. To learn proper form and see exercise demonstrations, consider using an online exercise directory, such as Bodybuilding.com’s exercise guide.
The best exercise to work the lower abs, according to National Strength and Conditioning Association, is the reverse curl. This exercise, commonly known as the reverse crunch, is a simple yet effective exercise. Lay supine and place hands by your side. Cross your ankles and lift your hips until your legs reach a 90 degree angle. Use only the strength of your abs to create the movement, and avoid using momentum.
The oblique muscles are along the sides of the midsection and are targeted with stabilization exercises, as well as twisting movements. Well-defined obliques help strengthen the core and give the abs a more overall aesthetic appeal. Planks and plank variations are stabilization exercises that target the obliques. Twisting crunches are another good movement that helps work the abs. Weighted side bends are effective at working the obliques, as well.
To perform weighted side bends, get a slightly weighted barbell with a weight you can safely put on your shoulders. Keeping hips facing forward and hands holding the barbell on your shoulders for support, bend from side to side. Keep your core tight and imagine reaching your elbows to your hips on each repetition. The movement is small, but effective in engaging the obliques.
Flat, six pack abs will only be visible if there is limited body fat. Reduce body fat with proper nutrition and cardio. Consider hiring a professional fitness trainer to develop a balanced program. Perform a handful of the above abs exercise a few times a week to begin developed lean, hard abs and a better physique.