Abs are probably the most coveted muscle group and represent one of the main goals that people have when they start working out for the first time. Abs are the icing on the fitness cake and are the greatest billboard to advertise that you are fitter than the average person. Getting abs is difficult and takes a lot of discipline and commitment.
While you do not need abs to be fit and having abs doesn’t necessarily mean you are the fittest person in the room, they are aesthetically pleasing and help to frame your body and make you look more athletic.
There are many factors that go into getting abs outside of simply working out and getting abs can take a long time and requires a lot of effort. In this article we will explore some of the misconceptions about how to get abs, outline the things you need to focus on in order to get abs, and will give you some of the best ab exercises that you can start doing today to make your abs more pronounced and have them show.
Let’s get into it!
Misconceptions about getting abs
There are some typical misconceptions that people have about abs that are, potentially, holding them back from even attempting to get abs. By believing these misconceptions to be fact you can unintentionally deter yourself from the pursuit of getting abs and psyching yourself out before you even try.
The first of these misconceptions is thinking that it is impossible for you to get abs and only certain people are able to achieve it. The truth is that everyone has abs and are able to get them. The reason some people’s abs show, and others don’t is due to body fat percentage. Getting abs is all about diet and exercise and reducing the layer of fat over your mid-section. With hard work and consistent effort, anyone can get abs.
The second misconception is that you have to do ab workouts every day and need to constantly be doing crunches or else your abs will disappear. The fact of the matter is that the abs are muscles and, like the other muscles on your body, overworking them is detrimental to your gains and can result in injury. You need to get proper rest in order to properly recover and have strong, defined abs.
The third misconception is that you need to change your diet completely and completely get rid of the majority of the foods that you normally eat. While a healthy and nutritious diet is one of the most important elements of getting abs, it doesn’t require you to make wholesale changes to your life in order to be achievable. Instead, you should be mindful about what you are eating and intentional with what you are putting into your body. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to approach both getting abs and fitness in general.
How do you get abs?
Getting abs takes a lot of hard work and commitment to achieve but it is something that everyone can achieve if they put in the work and are consistent. This doesn’t mean that you have to work out seven times a week or train abs 24/7. With some simple adjustments to your diet and lifestyle you will be able to achieve your goal of getting abs.
Ah yes, dreaded cardio. Most people hate cardio and avoid doing it as much as possible. Whether it is too hard or too boring, cardio is normally the least anticipated exercise of the week for most people. It is, however, essential in your pursuit for abs and needs to be incorporated into your workout routine.
Cardio doesn’t just mean running, however. Cardio refers to any aerobic form of exercise that increases your heart rate and burns calories. This can take the form of skipping, swimming, cycling, walking, etc. Cardio is important for gaining abs as it is one of the most effective and quickest ways to burn fat, especially stubborn belly fat. Reducing your body fat percentage is critical if you want your abs to be able to show. Getting your abs to show is less about having a strong core and more about reducing your body fat percentage to allow them to be more pronounced and defined.
Another form of cardio that you can try is a HIT workout. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and is a form of training where you alternate between high intensity bursts of training and short recovery/rest periods. It is an excellent way to get your heart rate up and burns a lot of calories. Regardless of the type, you should try to get in some form of cardio at least three to four times per week of at least 20-40 minutes of work.
In order to get abs, you need to train your ab muscles (obviously!). The rectus abdominus is the long muscle that extends vertically up the length of your abdomen and gives the appearance of six pack abs. The abs are also made up of other muscles such as the internal and external obliques and the transverse abdominus. It is essential to train all of these muscles in order to get strong, well-balanced abs. There are many different exercises and programs you can do (more on that later) and you should be aiming to train your abs as much as possible while still being able to get an adequate amount of rest.
Focus on your diet
While working out consistently is certainly important, even more important is your diet. The type of foods and amount of food you are consuming is a big determining factor in reducing your body fat percentage and getting your abs showing.
One of the main areas you need to focus on is reducing the number of high calorie foods you are consuming in order to get into a calorie deficit (where you are burning more calories than you are consuming). This includes snack foods such as ice cream, fast foods, fried foods, sodas etc. Instead, you want to be increasing your protein intake as well as how much fibre you are getting. This includes lean meats such as chicken and fish, nuts, whole grains, beans, vegetables, etc.
Best ab exercises to get your abs to show
As mentioned above, it is essential to do ab exercises in order to get your abs to show. Ideally you should be training abs as often as possible while still getting enough rest. When training abs there are some exercises that you should be doing to help you get abs quicker. We are going to look at a couple of them here but there are many more excellent exercises that you can do.
The bicycle crunch is a variation of the traditional crunch that is more intense and works more of the abs. The added movement makes this variation more difficult and is a great way to get more out of your ab workout. To perform this exercise, lie on your back and place your hands behind your head. Bring your elbow and opposite knee together, performing a crunch at the top of the movement, and repeat on the other side.
The plank is a staple exercise in ab and home workouts, and it does an excellent job of targeting multiple areas of your abs at once. Planks are also an excellent exercise as there are many variations, such as side planks, that you can do to switch it up and keep it interesting. It is important to constantly vary your workouts and increase the intensity so that your body doesn’t get accustomed to a particular movement. Planks are great for this!
Russian twists are a traditional ab exercise and is popular with both beginners and more experienced gym goers. This exercise incorporates a twist into the movement and works both your middle and lower abs as well as your obliques. To perform this exercise, sit down with your legs in front of you slightly off of the ground. Hold a weight in front of you and, engaging your core, twist to one side, keeping your body as stationary as possible. Repeat this motion on the other side.
Getting abs isn’t easy but it is by no means impossible. By understanding the various elements that go into getting abs, working hard, and being consistent, you will be able to get abs. The rate at which you are able to get abs will be determined by your current fitness level, body fat percentage, body type, workout schedule, and diet. Everyone progresses at different rates but as long as you are intentional with your workouts and diet and live an overall healthy life, getting abs will be no issue. You’ve just got to stick with it!