Want better abs? The key to shredded, rock-hard abs is a better abs workout – and that includes the support activities you need to perform to make sure you get the most of your workout.
Here are 7 tips to help you get better abs workouts.
Get the Progression Right
If you really want the best possible abs workout, you’ll want to get the progression of your muscles right. The abdominals are not one set of muscles but several, and they should all be worked in the right order.
This means following the ‘Six Pack Progression’ – lower abs, bottom-up, obliques, mid-range, top-down rotation, and top-down – to get the perfect abs workout.
With the Six Pack Progression, you start with bottom-up movements, add bottom-up rotation, and then transition to rotationally driven oblique exercises. After that, you finish up with mid-range movements targeting the top and bottom, and then top-down and top-down rotational exercises to round off.
This approach works because it targets the different muscles that make up the abdominals. By giving them all a good workout, you’ll be on track for great abdominals.
Try Changing Up Your Workout
If you’ve been working out for a lengthy period of time, you may have at some point noticed that your muscles stopped responding to a particular exercise. This is because our muscles adapt quite readily to certain kinds of exercise.
Fortunately, there’s a solution: change up your workout every 4-6 weeks. By doing different exercises every month to month and a half, you can give your body a fresh new challenge and force it to adjust all over again.
One way to change things up is to do different exercises. You can also add to the challenge by incorporating stability devices or by doing crunches on a Swiss ball.
With the new challenge and added difficulty, expect your body to respond by starting to build muscle again.
Give Your Abs a Rest Sometimes
If you’re working your abs out every day or every weekday, that’s too much. You’ll probably see better results if you alternate. One approach we’ve covered before is to do alternating upper body days, lower body days, and rest days. This has the effect of giving your lower body two days off before it’s time to work out again.
You can also still do a bit of upper or lower bodywork on the off days. Just make sure you’re keeping it light – cycling for lighter lower bodywork, for example.
Make Sure You’re Doing Cardio
You can train your abdominals and get them in great shape, but still have frustrating, difficult-to-get-rid-of belly fat. If that’s your situation, consider how much cardio you’re doing.
If you don’t do much cardio, that may be the problem. Here we should note that spot reduction is widely considered to be a myth: in other words, you can’t simply work out your abs and have them show if there’s a layer of belly fat.
By adding cardio, you can increase the number of calories you burn. This can help you to lose that stubborn belly fat for good.
One thing that can help your abdominal workout is resistance training. This may take the form of weights, or you can use resistance bands or other types of equipment.
The key thing is to exercise your torso, the muscles surrounding your waist. The reason is that these muscles help to stabilize the body, so exercising with weights forces them and your abdominals into action.
Overall, this will help you to burn more calories and thus get rid of any belly fat. It will also help you to train your abs in context, along with the muscles they work with.
The reality is that although exercise is much of what it takes to get toned abs, you will also need to eat well. You’ll want to avoid simple carbs – enriched flours, white rice, and sugar – and overly fatty foods.
Train yourself to eat foods that are high in protein, healthy fats (avocado, salmon, olive oil), and complex carbs (brown rice, whole wheat). Over time, your tastes will shift, and you will find these foods more appetizing. It also helps if you learn how to cook some delicious and healthy meals.
Keep the Pressure Up
You’ll want to make sure you keep doing your exercises and increase the difficulty over time. If everything is starting to feel easy and you know you’re doing it with the correct form, introduce some more difficult exercises. For example, say you’re doing weighted crunches. You might try increasing the weight if they’re getting too easy.
Conclusion: Give it Time
No one sees results overnight. Even if you do everything on this list consistently, it will still take time for you to really start to see results. It’s important to not give up or become frustrated or discouraged. Keep at it, and by following these 7 steps you should see great results over time.