No matter if you are a teen trying to get into shape or a grown adult returning to the world of fitness, a harder and flatter stomach is what many seek. This article does not claim to give “rock hard abs” in a week, but instead serves to try to change the views some people have gotten from watching too many infomercials at 2AM.
- You Can’t Spot-Reduce
This means that you can’t burn fat only from a specific spot on your body. All the sit-ups in the world will not burn the fat on your gut. Body fat is lost from all over your body and is caused by a caloric deficit, not from activating a certain muscle group.
- Cardio is Important
The key to getting a 6-pack is not in building up the abdominals, but in burning the fat that is covering them. The way to achieve this is to have a caloric deficit, which can be achieved by both taking in less calories and using up more calories. A form of cardio that is very effective for burning fat and boosting your metabolism is HIIT. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is exercising in short bursts of intense cardio followed by a short cooldown. An example of a session would be a 30 second sprint, followed by a 30 second walk, followed by another sprint, and so on for 4 to 15 minutes depending on the fitness of person.
- Abs are made in the kitchen
This is the least complex and yet the most difficult aspect in getting a 6-pack. The key to getting a 6-pack is to cut down on food and lose bodyfat. Here are some easily applicable tips:
* Stop drinking soda and start to drink only water. It can make a huge difference.
* Eat 5-6 small meals a day. This helps boost your metabolism and keeps your appetite in check.
* Try to find your calorie maintenance level and gradually decrease 100-200 calories per week until you are shedding about 1-2 pounds a week.
- Sit-ups are useless
Sit-ups are supposed to target the abs but really the hip flexors and spinal erectors are doing the work in the movement. The abdominals are only used isometrically as stabilizers. This means that sit-ups are terrible for your back and do not benefit your abs anyway.
- Ab Exercises you SHOULD be doing
Now this would be the time for me to plug some new life-changing product or idea, but that is not the point of this article. Here are some ab exercises for beginners to do instead of the traditional sit-up:
* Crunches – There are many different types, but try to think of it as pulling your bottom rib directly to your hip. Exhale during the exertion portion of the crunch to allow for maximum tightening of your abs. You should perform most crunch variations slow and controlled.
* Weighted Variations – Once you have perfected the form of any ab exercise variation you can begin to add weight by holding a plate, cable or dumbbell. Make sure to keep the good form!
* Hanging leg raises – Hang from a bar and pull your knees directly to your chest. Keep your upper body as still as possible throughout the movement. Do not allow yourself to swing and focus on tightening your core at the top of the raise.
We have online training options with a TON of creative ab exercises! All of our exercises have a video demonstration to help perfect your form.
- Don’t Give Up!
While achieving your goal of a 6-pack may not be as painless and easy as infomercials may have you think, it is still a very realistic goal even for a beginner. All it takes hard work and determination. Giving up a week after you started will not help you get a six pack or help your overall fitness.