Are you someone who covets that six-pack ab look? Want to be able to turn heads this beach season wherever you happen to be going? If you’re looking for that sleek, firm midsection, there are a few things you need to know.
In order to have success with this goal, you definitely do need the right approach. Sadly, many people go about things in all the wrong manner and never go on to see the results they were hoping for.
Let’s go over your guide to perfect abs so that you can start your game plan informed and ready to see maximum results.
The Ab Muscles Explained
In order to understand how to best get abs, it’s important that you understand the overall structure of the ab muscles themselves. Your abs are comprised of three main core muscle groups – the rectus abdominis (which makes up the ‘six pack’ muscles), the transverse abdominis, which sits deep to this superficial muscle, and then the oblique muscles, which run around the side of the core and make up the ‘love handle’ area.
While the rectus abdominis is therefore the main muscle group you want to be focusing on, do keep in mind that training all three will be important for functional strength and help ensure that you prevent injuries as best as possible.
The Best Exercises For Getting Six Pack Abs
So which moves are best for garnering you a great looking set of abs?
While it is important that you are performing core training exercise, don’t overlook the fact that heavy compound weight lifting exercises will work your abs considerably as well.
Compound Exercise Examples
Take a set of full squats for example. This movement is going to recruit the ab muscles to keep you balanced the entire way through the set, thus yielding great ab strengthening benefits.
Or look at walking lunges. Due to the fact you need to stay stabilized as you do this, you can rest assured your abs will be coming into play.
The other nice thing about these exercises is that they are going to work many of the larger muscle groups at once, thus their overall calorie burn and metabolic boosting potential will be higher as well. What does that mean? Faster fat loss progress.
One thing you must always keep in mind is that if you have a thick layer of fat covering your abs, it’s going to make it hard to actually see your abs. Therefore, any exercise that assists with fat burning is going to get you one step closer to your end goal.
Optimal exercises include the squat, deadlift, shoulder press, bent over row, walking lunges, and pull-ups. Focus on these as the top priority during your workout sessions.
Direct Ab Exercises
Then for direct abdominal exercises, think instability. The less stable your body is while doing any ab move, the more your muscles will be contracting. An ab ball is an excellent tool to consider using to help firm up your midsection in a hurry. Crunches on the ab ball, lying leg raises with the ab ball, and prone ball roll-ins are all excellent for seeing good results.
In addition to that, the plank, the bicycle, the decline sit-up, and the hanging leg raise are also all great movements that will stimulate all the main muscles in the core region.
Where Does Cardio Fit In?
Lastly, let’s not forget about cardio. While hours on the cardio machines is definitely not necessary, do try and include a few sessions of interval sprints whenever you can. Research published in the Journal of Obesity suggests that this form of exercise is far superior for burning up body fat. Alternate between very brief bursts of intense exercise with active rest periods.
Training Details: Perfecting Your Core Workout Routine
Now that you know the exercises you should be performing, how do you put it all together? Ideally you’ll want to hit the gym at least three times per week for a well-balanced weight lifting workout program. Make sure to give each muscle group at least 48 hours of rest between sessions to allow for full recovery to take place.
You should train abs every other day as well, giving them adequate rest like any other muscle group. If you are training hard, you should be damaging the muscle fibers properly, which requires time for repair and rebuilding.
Cardio can then be added to your workout routine, doing it for 2-4 sessions per week as time permits. Be sure that you are allowing for at least one day for complete rest each week to avoid overtraining and burnout.
As far as reps and sets are concerned, you can train your abs with the higher rep range as they are an endurance focused muscle and will likely respond best to this type of stimulation. Aim for 15-25 reps per set, doing 2-5 sets per ab move depending on how many different ab exercises you plan to perform.
For your main compound exercises in your strength training workout routine, you’ll see optimal fat burning results taking the rep range to around 10-15 reps and doing 2-4 sets depending on how much time you have to exercise.
Taking A Well Rounded Approach
Finally, don’t forget that your workout is only half the equation. If you really want to see optimal progress in getting six pack abs, you’ll want to make sure that you are looking at your diet plan as well.
Diet is key for helping you lose body fat and therefore see the abdominal muscles you’re building underneath. If you aren’t eating right, unfortunately all the training in the world is not going to help you get visible abs. Fix your diet and results will soon follow.
So there you have the main points to know and remember regarding getting your perfect set of abs. What changes do you need to make in your workout program to see results?