3 Tips for Abs of Steel
Abs are like a prized possession. They seem almost elusive at times. What makes abs so desirable is that most people aren’t willing to put in the effort it takes to get them. This makes people fascinated with them which in turn brings up the value of anyone who takes off their shirt to display a six pack.
For me though, the periods in my life where I’ve had abs… have always been more about the sense of personal accomplishment then about how they looked…. although they looked SWEET!
Unfortunately I let myself go over the last year… and we all know that while abs take awhile to build.. they disappear in an instant.
Here are three tips that I’ve found helpful during the times in my life that I’ve reached my desired outcome. These are no secrets… Because there is no short cut. But sometimes its good to remember how basic it can be to get what we want… with the proper disipline.
1. Cardio, Cardio, Cardio: You can do a million crunches a day… but if you’ve got a solid layer of fat covering your abs you’ll never see them. Everyone knows that the trick to getting rid of fat is cardio. What people fail to realize is that the cardio needs to be intense. 20 minutes on the treadmill while reading a magazine and chatting on the phone won’t cut it.
Three to four sessions a week of intense jogging, running, the Stairmaster, the elliptical, jumping rope, or biking should be enough to get the process in gear. Swimming, hiking, and taking aerobics classes are beneficial as well. Nothing beats jogging or running. It is the most intense, efficient, and effective method of burning calories.
It will take a minimum of three to four days a week of intense cardio to burn the amount of calories needed to shed fat around your gut.
2. Proper Nutrition: I think a problem many people have is that once they start working out and burning calories they look at it as a free pass to pig out. I seriously know girls who finish their workouts and head to Hagen Daz for Sundae.
The whole point of spending all that time burning calories is to start burning the excess fat. If you’re filling yourself up with shitty foods, you’ll never get to the point where you’re body starts converting fat into energy.
But it is important to get something in you. Not eating on time or at all is almost as bad as eating too much. Keep protein intake high (approximately 50% of daily calories), carbs moderate (40%), and fats minimal (10%).
Drink at least a gallon of clean water each day as well. It will help in nutrient absorption and digestion and will help flush toxins from the body.
Working Out Your Abs: The biggest mistake that most people make when trying to build abdominal muscle is that they do sets of crunches or sit ups without any resistance. Would you work your biceps out with no resistance? Or your Chest?
Here’s an important key. If you want proper ab development, you need to add resistance (weight) to your ab exercises. Abs are muscles just like biceps, triceps, pecs, glutes, whatever. You need resistance to properly strengthen and build them. The same goes for abdominals.
The Five Best Ab Exercises
Weighted Crunches – Grab a dumbbell, either hold it in front of your face, or let it lie on your upper chest, under your chin, and perform regular crunches. You are now using your abs more to work against the leverage the dumbbell has created. Stick with a heavy enough weight where you can handle 10-15 reps, but no more. Remember, you need to create enough resistance where your abs are forced to work.
Cable Rope Crunches – Grab the tricep rope, kneel on your knees, and bend downwards, forcefully contracting your abs on the way down. It’s basically a crunch, only, you are on your knees. But the contraction is the same. Don’t swing with the hips, you are not using the abs very much if you do. Just a slight, 30 degree contraction until you feel the abs contract, hold for a couple seconds, then back up.
Weighted Leg Raises – Lie flat on your back, with your hands tucked under your butt. Wrap your feet around a small dumbbell, and perform leg raises. Start with your feet about 6 inches from the ground, then raise them about 12-16 inches from the ground and then back down slowly. These can be done on the end of a bench as well.
Seated Ab Machine – Once again, do not swing all the way down, just far enough (30 degrees) to fully contract the abs, hold for a couple seconds, then back up. This is very similar to Cable rope crunches.
Stability Ball Crunches – Working on the stability ball will incorporate balance into your abdominal work. They are effective at strengthening your core region, which is your abs and lower back.
As you can see doing these exercises while adding some resistance will build muscle much quicker and in larger gains. If at the same time you’re eating healthy and burning calories you should be seeing results in a couple months.
A couple months of intense workouts is a small price to pay for abs of steel.
If you’re unsure of proper nutrition or just need a good plan to follow Bodybuilding.com has a really great free personal trainer course that will set you in the right direction.
About Bobby Rio I'm Bobby Rio, one of the founders of TSB. I tend to write about what is on my mind so you'll find a mix of self development, social dynamics and dating articles/experiences. For a collection of some of my favorite articles check them out.