Of the many physique goals in the wide world of fitness, getting a set of shredded abs is definitely one of the most difficult. After all, a defined, chiseled midsection doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere. To achieve it, you need a rock-solid game plan. Here are six awesome tips that will get your abs to pop!
1. EAT SMART
Nutrition is the most important piece of the abs-getting puzzle. Although you can train your abdominal muscles so they’re thicker and stronger, they won’t be visible unless your body fat is low enough. If you want a tighter tummy, you need to pay extra-special attention to the food you put into your body.
2. DO COMPOUND MOVEMENTS
You actually don’t have to train your abdominals much, if you engage in compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and rows.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t train abs at all, but it’s important to note that if you train the rest of your body correctly, you don’t need to kill yourself with endless ab workouts to get a fully defined six-pack.
Also, these big moves will rev your metabolism and burn so many calories after you leave the gym – which will continue to help you stay lean till your next workout.
Many people make the mistake of holding their breath as they’re doing ab exercises. The lack of circulating oxygen just leads to a build-up of pressure, causing you to feel lightheaded or dizzy.
Moreover, if you don’t breathe regularly, you won’t be able to generate much strength. Your muscles need oxygenated blood to work properly. If you choke them, they won’t perform as well as you need them to.
Practice breathing properly as you do your ab work. Inhale deeply before performing the movement. As you lift or crunch, make sure to exhale. Exhaling will force your abs to contract.
Exhaling will also better engage your inner oblique muscles, which help with stability.
4. GET A STRETCH
While concentric, positive movement is an important segment of any abdominal exercise, make sure you don’t forget to think about the eccentric (lowering) portion as well. Stretch the abs through an entire range of motion before you contract them to engage more muscle fibers. Find equipment that allows you to fully stretch the abdominal wall.
If you only contract and go through a small range of motion, you’ll only get mediocre results. By extending that contraction over a much larger range of motion, you put more blood into the area and see better results.
5. MAINTAIN MIND-MUSCLE FOCUS
As you perform each ab movement, be very conscious about making those target muscle groups perform the work. It’s about quality versus quantity. Really focus on squeezing your abs in every rep you do.
If you just go through the motions, it’s far too easy to let your hip flexors or upper abdominals take over every movement. Think about making the right muscles contract.
This extra mental effort might seem silly at first, but when you grow accustomed to connecting your mind to your contracting muscles, you’ll notice a huge difference in your workouts.
6. VARY YOUR EXERCISES
If you’ve been doing a billion crunches at the end of every workout with nothing to show for it, you need to revamp your exercise selection. Choose exercises that challenge you in new ways, and use equipment to boost the intensity of your training.
Try Swiss balls, medicine balls, and the cable machine to make your ab training more difficult. Extra weight will help keep constant tension on the ab muscles, increasing the efficacy of your workout.