When it comes to building a great set of abdominal muscles many people get the wrong idea on how to truly achieve them.
Many people still beleive that you have to do endless amounts of crunches to build great abdominal muscles. The truth of the matter is, no amount of crunches will give you a visual six pack if your body fat percentage is simply to high. Follow these three simple steps to get you well on your way to dense six pack abs this summer.
Step 1. Strip the fat, find the abs.
The first step if you can’t already see your abs is to drop body fat, everyone has abdominal muscles but the problem is if their not visible it just means they are being covered by a layer of body fat. You could have great abs but if you’re not lean enough you wont be able to see them. The lower your body fat the better and more defined they will look.
You can drop body fat by putting yourself in a calorie deficit through diet and calorie burning exercise.
Step 2. Build your abs.
The best exercises you can do to build your abs are Leg Raises, no amount of crunches will give you the ab development that leg raises will. There are several different variations of leg raises you can do:
- Lying leg raise, these can be done laying flat on your back with your legs together and heels slightly raised off the floor, slowly raise your legs towards the ceiling making sure they remain straight or slightly bent until your legs are at a kind of 45 degree angle then lower back down to the start position. These target more the lower abs and will help develop that v shape you get where your torso meets your legs.
- Hanging leg raise, knees up, this type of leg raise is done hanging from a chin up bar or anything that’s high enough you can hang from, then just raise your knees up to your stomach with your lower legs still hanging down.
- Hanging leg raise, legs slightly bent, these are done in the exact same way just with your legs slightly bent forward holding this position as you raise them.
- Hanging leg raise, straight legs, hanging from the bar keep your legs together then raise them so that they are horizontal to the ground then slowly lower back down.
- Hanging leg raise to the bar, this move is very advanced, you start by hanging from the bar, raise your legs all the way up to the top of the bar, then lower back down.
Step 3. Add maximum density and definition to your abs and torso.
Now its time to ad true muscle tone to your abs, here are some exercises you can use that wont add size to your abs but will give them great density and definition:
- Planks, get yourself into a press up position with your feet together, put your arms down so you are holding yourself up with your forearms flat on the ground, keep your back straight and hold this position for 1-2 minutes. Planks are great for strengthening your entire core and will help if you suffer from any lower back pain.
- Renegade rows, again get yourself in a press up position but hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other, row one arm up holding the dumbbell keeping your arm close to your side then lower back down, repeat with the other arm and so on for your required number of reps. These are great for your oblique’s and will really tighten up your waist.
- Ab wheel rollouts, get down onto your knees while holding the ab wheel out in front of you then slowly roll forward keeping the arch in your lower back in a neutral position, then slowly roll back up to the starting position. Ab wheels are very cheap, you can pick one up from eBay for about £4 in the UK.
Here are two ab workouts you can do weekly, you can either add them to the end of one of your workouts or just do them on your off days.
Lying leg raise: 3-5 sets until failure, 1 minute rest in-between each set, aim for 20 reps.
Planks: 3-5 sets holding for 1-2 minutes, rest 1 minute between sets
Goal: Your goal is to eventually build up to being able to do 5 sets of 20 lying leg raises and 5 sets of planks holding for 2 minutes. When you can do this you will have some serious ab development.
Hanging leg raise knees up: 3-5 sets until failure, 1 minute rest, aim for 20.
Renegade rows: 3-5 sets of 5 reps.
Goal: Your goal is to start with hanging knee raises and once you have completed 5 sets of 20 reps you go to slightly bent leg raises, then straight legs, then legs to the bar. With renegade rows you want to add weight each workout so that the dumbbells you’re using get progressively heavier and heavier over time.
There are plenty of other effective exercises that target the abdominal muscles so don’t think you just have to use the ones I have laid out here. If you have a favourite abdominal workout or exercise that has helped you achieve great abs feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Thanks for reading and good luck with those dense six pack abs this summer.