The elusive six-pack is often one of the things that beginners want most. There is a certain feeling of status that comes with a prominent set of abdominal muscles, and it is perfectly possible for you to earn that status. In this article, we will attempt to give you a complete outline of the things you need to know in order to sculpt that gut into a rippling wash-board.
Adopt A Lean, High-Protein Diet
The first thing that must be removed is the fat from your belly. In order to do that, you must remove most of the fat from your diet. Obviously, a little bit of fat is unavoidable, but keep it down as low as you can without sacrificing your protein intake.
As with any muscle-building endeavor, your protein intake will play a large role in your success or failure. Make sure that you are getting plenty of protein in your diet. Not only do you need food that is rich in protein, but you also need foods that are complete proteins. A complete protein is one that provides all the essential amino acids that the body cannot manufacture internally. The following are examples of complete proteins:
- All red meats
Choosing The Right Exercises
Once you have begun the process of trimming the fat from your body, you should accelerate the process by doing some ab-focused exercises. Some authors will tell you to avoid these isolation exercises in favor of compound exercises. However, this article is aimed at the reader who wants to gain a six-pack as quickly as possible. As such, we would be foolish not to isolate the abdominals.
We will be avoiding traditional sit-ups because there is evidence to show that they are associated with a higher risk of a back injury. Even the military has stopped using sit-ups at this point.
The following exercises are great for focusing on your abs and lighting them on fire, so as to forge the abs of steel that you have always wanted:
- Leg Raise (many variations)
- The Dragon Flag
- Planking (many variations)
- Barbell Roll-out
- Russian Twist (several variations)
- Knee-raise Pullups
- Suitcase Deadlift
It will be your job to take these exercises (and any others that you might know) and incorporate them into a training plan. If you really want to focus on those abs, you should work on them 2-3 times a week. Any more than that, and you are probably going to neglect other areas and end up with a disproportionate build.
The Importance Of Technique
Whichever exercises you may choose, you need to do your research and make sure that your technique is correct. It would be outside the scope of this article to go into minute detail about each exercise, but the videos linked above should give you a good start. Watch the experts and do what they do.
Get Your Full Range Of Motion
When you are doing an ab exercise, you should be feeling the burn in your abdominals with every rep. If not, you are doing something wrong. Once you have the burn going, try to extend it as long as possible. You do this by extending whatever motion you are doing so that you flex your core as much as possible. Of course, you don’t want to go too far with this concept, or you could easily injure yourself.
Never Cheat In Your Movements
In many ab exercises. It is quite easy to cheat by using gravity and/or momentum to take some of the strain off your abdominals. Remember, you are only cheating yourself when you do something like that. You should go into your workout with an attitude of “no pain, no gain.” In other words, you should expect and want to work your abs to their limit.
Which Exercises Give The Hardest Workout?
If you are reading an article like this, you probably aren’t afraid of a high-intensity workout. Therefore, we will assume that you are in good health. There is some research that can help us to determine which exercises give the highest degree of muscle activation per set.
Sadly, the two exercises that give the highest level of muscle activation are the straight-leg sit-up and the bent-leg sit-up. We also see that these produce the highest numbers in terms of spinal compression. So, this study tells the tale as to the true nature of sit-ups. They are effective, but they are just too hard on the spine.
Thankfully, hanging leg raises are in the same league, and do not carry nearly the same risk of injury. Therefore, we can probably say that hanging leg raises are the best way to go if you are looking for maximum exertion. The straight-leg hanging raises seem to be a little harsher than the knee raise.
Trim Before You Cut
One little thing to remember about all these abdominal exercises: They do not burn fat. They are designed to build the size and strength of the abdominal muscle, and they are very effective in doing so. However, they are not very effective in the burning of belly fat, as this study conclusively shows. Therefore, you should trim the fat from your middle before attempting to build the muscles of your six-pack.
If you were looking for shortcuts, we hope that you have found them. It is true that a few good tips can save you time, and we hope that this article will allow you to shed that annoying belly fat and turn your abs into a mighty rack of rocks. If you have found this article to be enjoyable and informative, you can show your appreciation by following us on Facebook.