Are you wanting a toned stomach and visible abs? I’m sure you’ve asked people how you get there before and heard every story and every tip there is. Abs is not only one of the most desired body part but also, arguably, the most flattering. That said, getting ripped 6-pack abs, or even a toned stomach for that matter, is far from the easiest thing to do – but it is doable. There are so many websites and articles that tell you a ‘top secret method’ to getting a 6-pack. It’s important to break down the sensible from the nonsense to increase your overall shape! So we’re going to exactly that: break the facts from the myths and, the best thing is, you don’t even have to overcomplicate it.
Three Golden Rules
Before we go any further, there’s three, as I’m going to brand them, ‘golden rules’ of training abs. If you need to do anything, it’s remembering these! Write them down, screenshot them or print them off if you need, just don’t forget them!
- Eat right – hit your macros and having the right amount of proteins, carbs and fats in your body each day
- Have a low body fat – eat at a calorific deficit if you need to
- Work out – train well and hit every big compound exercise
Rule 1: Eat Right
Nutrition is critical if abs are your focus.
Unlike developing most muscle groups, your abs can only become stronger by training them, they won’t become more well defined – that’s about eating clean and at a calorific deficit if you’re carrying too much ’round the edges’
Abs are made in the kitchen…
… it might be another cheesy quote but it’s 100% factual. Potentially, you can ‘get away’ with a slightly off-point diet whilst your bulking or aiming to add on size as you’ll be eating at a calorie surplus. Your goal here is to see well-defined abs so you need to make sure that your diet is as close to perfection as possible.
Rule 2: Have a low body fat
Measure your body fat if you need too because the lower body fat you have around your stomach, the more chance there is for those abs to peek through. Rule 2, in a way, ties into to the first rule. Countless sit-ups and crunches are only going to make your abs stronger, as well as a healthy diet, you need to have a little amount of body fat.
You are not going to crunch your way to a six-pack
Sorry if that’s ruined any plans but hopefully it’s saved you a load of time you were going to potentially waste…
Rule 3: Workout
Look at deadlifts, squats and bench-press. On paper, each compound exercise hits everything but abs: your hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, delts, traps, chest and arms. So why am I suggesting these? It’s relatively unknown that each one of those compound exercises hits the abdominal region too. They’re compound exercises! That means, they’re designed to hit more than one body part and will, you can quote me on this, increase your overall core strength and stability.
Breaking the myth
I appreciate this is getting a little repetitive but you cannot crunch your way to a 6-pack – just in case I never said. It’s a real pet-peeve that some people advise others to crunch their way to having abs. I don’t know if this is done out of ignorance and lack of understanding or for people’s personal amusement. It’s all about the three golden rules. You must eat correctly, train correctly and have body fat low enough to see your abs. Another common myth is around carbohydrates and abs: Carbs are an essential nutrient that your body uses for fuel so it won’t destroy your abs – fast digesting carbs like white bread can spike your insulin so if you eat at the wrong time or the wrong foods (Rule 1), you might not be doing yourself any favours on that front.
Understanding the anatomy
Your stomach is broken down into to main areas: The rectus abdominis or the “six-pack area”, which runs from the top of your pubis bone right up to your sternum. Secondly, your external obliques run from the midline on the side of your body and your internal obliques lie below the external obliques. It’s important that you train every part of your abdomen to ensure that the muscles grow and help with the definition better!
What about actually training the abs?
Still train your abs, don’t go from one extreme to the other and fill your workout full of compound exercises and avoid all ab workouts – that’s not the suggestion! Russian Twists, Scorpion Tails, Hanging Leg Raises, Cable Rope Crunches and Planks are the best exercises for you to perform if you’re wanting stronger abs and obliques. Aim to train your abs 2-3 times per week for around 40 minutes, but remember, without correct nutrition, training abs will only get you stronger abs and a more defined and sturdy core.