In this article, you will find all the info to get those abs of steel: from healthy nutrition and general recommendations to best ab workouts for women. The plan will also be suitable for men if you consider a high training intensity.
What is an indicator of good physical shape? The first sign for everyone is our perfect abs. The notorious "six-pack" is firmly on the list of the most desirable things. But what is a six-pack ab set? And what is special about it?
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The abs are the rectus abdominis1. There are no upper and lower abs. It’s one large muscle and part of the muscular corset that supports the body. Six-pack abs are 6 parts of your core divided by tendon bridges. Each such part is one cube.
Sometimes the cubes are far from each other (due to the different thickness of the tendons), and in rare cases, there may not even be 6 but 8. But you can only find out about this after training.
Scientific rankings of the American Council on Exercise show that leg raises and bicycle crunches are the most effective ab workouts. While performing correctly, you use twice as many muscle fibers of the press.
However, the correct technique is much more important than the right choice of workouts and the equipment you have. Technically correct crunches will be more effective than leg raises performed by engaging the lower back.
Note: Concentrate on slow, controlled movement - don't jerk.
Note: If it's challenging to keep both legs elevated, place the non-moving leg on the floor.
There is a method that will help you determine how long it takes to pump up the press. First, you need to know the percentage of body fat that you can find out with any online calculator.
For cubes to appear on the stomach, the fat percentage should be 7-8% for men and 16-18% for women. If your current body fat level is, for example, 22%, you will need to drop 4-6% if you are a woman.
Let's say you burn 0.5% fat per week with cardio training, basic abdominal exercises, and proper nutrition. In this case, it will take you approximately 20 weeks to see the whole set of cubes.
But with complex training2 several times a week, you will notice a visible result in 8-10 weeks.
Note: Daily workouts can be hard on the muscles, so take intervals.
If you want to blitz your core quickly, use the instructions below - however, we remind you once again that to achieve cubes, you must genuinely love doing abdominal exercises and train the press at least 3-4 times a week:
The body's fat level for drawing the press is individual - for someone, it's 7%, and for someone, the press is noticeable even at 15% fat. Depending on this, strategies for losing weight also differ.
A sedentary lifestyle provokes changes in posture. As a result - abdominal muscles relax.
Of course, it won't help to get abs and probably lead to pain in the neck, spine, and lower back. To correct such violations, do workouts to improve your posture.
It is a mistake to perceive the press exclusively in the form of a rectus muscle located on the front surface of the abdomen. In addition to it, there are oblique abdominal muscles. For women, side turns are suitable for pumping them.
Most ab workouts develop the outer layer of abs with little or no involvement of the inner abs. However, these muscles form a toned stomach.
The best exercises for pumping the internal press are the plank and the abdominal vacuum breathing exercise.
Pumping cubes requires training for hypertrophy - exercises in a multi-repetition mode (for example, one hundred twists) will not bring any result.
The acceptable limit will be 10-12 repetitions, subject to the correct technique.
To get rock-hard abs, you must learn to control your abdominal muscles and use them when doing workouts. If you can keep your abs consciously tense during crunches, this will greatly increase the effectiveness of this exercise.
But just working out is not enough. Over 50% of success in bodybuilding is a healthy diet. To get steel abs, follow the nutritional tips collected by our specialists:
Eat plenty of protein. Eating enough protein promotes fat loss and muscle growth3, two essential ingredients for developing good abs.
Less carbs, more fat. Believe it or not, the biggest culprit in belly fat is not fat at all but refined and processed carbs. So, say goodbye to sodas and toss out junk food.
Eat fiber. High-fiber foods are filling and low in calories, keep your digestive system running smoothly, and help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Cut down on alcohol. The best way to achieve a flat stomach is to avoid alcohol completely, but you can still enjoy a drink or two during the program.
Drink more water. Hydration is vital to your workout plan, but drinking enough water is especially good for your midsection. This helps fill your stomach and flush out excess sodium, preventing bloating.
Eat regularly. If you eat the right foods, regular meals and snacks will keep your body energized while you work on strengthening your abs.
To make sure you're eating enough to achieve your weight loss goal, calculate how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and then subtract 500 calories from that number.
Note: Even if you're very lean and muscular, you won't see 6-pack abs until you're at a very low body fat percentage (BMI4 of 20 or below). If you can't see the cubes, it doesn't mean you're in bad shape.
The effectiveness of flat stomach workouts depends entirely on your dedication.
Set yourself up for success by doing abdominal workouts 3-4 times a week and eating a balanced diet. Leg raises, bicycle crunches, and planks are great exercises to help you reach your six-pack abs goal!
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