Getting ripped six pack abs is the result of proper nutrition, effective training and living a lifestyle that places your fitness as a priority. I will focus on ab training for the purpose of this article.
Your abdominals or abs are stabilizing muscle that stretch over your midsection. Their main purpose is to work with your lower back to stabilize your upper body. Without you abs you would not be able to prevent yourself from falling backwards, or get up for that matter.
The Rectus Abdominis (extends from the top of the pelvis to the sternum and is composed of upper and lower abdominals)
To get ripped six pack abs focus on what will give you the most bang for your buck. Focus on your Rectus Abdominis with some oblique training. The Intercostal Muscles and Serratus Anterior will be worked during regular weight lifting sessions.
I am a very simple, straight to the point kind of guy. I hate it when someone bores me with details that I’m really not interested in and this mentality transfers to my training style. Do not over complicate your ab training. They are a muscle just like other muscle and do not need special treatment to pop out. You just have to diet consistently enough to see the fruits of your labor.
You do NOT have to train abs every day.
You do NOT have to do 100 of sit ups.
You do NOT have to train abs for hours at a time.
I train abs 2-3 times a week. I may take a day off just to train abs and do some cardio or I may train them after legs. I generally try to hit my upper and lower abs, as well as the oblique’s with each ab workout. I will try to stimulate the muscle by focusing on fully contracting the muscle with every rep. I also add resistance and slow down the movement to increase abdominal stimulation. I do not swing or rapidly pump out reps.
A great exercise that targets the lower abs is the leg raises. You can do them using back support or hanging. If you keep you legs straight you will get more resistance with this exercise. To start let your legs hang down and then raise your legs up until your abs are fully contracted. Slowly lower your legs back down and repeat until you have done 4 sets of 20. If twenty reps feels too easy, slow down the movement and hold each rep when your abs a fully contracted for a second before letting your legs back down.
Another great exercise for upper abdominals is the crunch. You can do them on a ball or on the floor. You can have your feet on the floor or have them in the air. Arch your back when you start so your abs are fully relaxed and stretched. Then crunch your abs as tight at you can without using your hips to lift your upper body off the ground. When you lift your upper body off the ground you take the focus off the abs and place them on your hip flexors. Focus on your abs. Again do 4 sets of 20 and slow down the movements if this seems too easy.
For the oblique’s I love to do oblique crunches or side crunches. Lay on your side with your knees bent and your feet slightly elevated off the ground. You can twist you upper body so that you’re facing the ceiling or you may remain facing the wall. Contract the oblique’s which will raise your upper body. Again, remember to slow down the movement to put more emphasis on the oblique’s. Repeat for the other side until you have complete 4 sets of 20 on each side.
These three exercises will help build the foundation for your six pack abs but you can alter the workouts at times. I will often substitute one or more of the following exercises into my ab routine.
Try replacing the leg raises for V – Ups. The V-up is preformed my balancing your body on your butt while you crunch. Sit on the floor with your legs out and try to make your knees touch your chest. This should fully contract your abs. Then relax while keeping your legs and upper body elevated and contract again. Repeat for 4 sets of 20 and slow down the movement when necessary.
You may also do cable crunches instead of regular crunches. Simply kneel in front of a cable machine with the set above you, grab the handle or rope and pull your elbows into your knees. This should contract your abdominal muscles. Feel free to add weight and slow down the movement to increase the emphasis on your abs.
Instead of doing oblique or side crunches, try doing alternate heel touches. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet planted about shoulder width apart. Alternate between touching your right heel with your right hand and your left heel with you left hand by bending sideways. Repeat until you have done 4 sets of 20. Do 20 reps on each side to complete a set.
Working out your abs will not get you six pack abs if you do not eat properly.
The factors that will determine how ripped your six pack will be:
Remember to eat clean, lift weights regularly, incorporate up to two 45 minute high intensity interval training cardio sessions 3-5 days a week, take quality supplements, and live a lifestyle that promotes health and fitness (limit alcohol consumptions and get adequate rest). Follow the training tips I outlined and you will be well on your way to be sporting a mean set of abs.
Getting six pack abs does not happen overnight. When most people ask how long it takes to get six pack abs, I tell them most bodybuilders give themselves 6 months to get in peak conditioning. Be patient, stay motivated and get them!
Written by Erick Ruiz Salgaldo
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