How to get abs? This question has been on your mind lately.
Hasn’t it? 😉
Well, in order to get abs, and get great abdominals you need to first lower your body fat. That way, you’ll reduce the belly fat covering your ab muscles, because who knows–maybe you already have a six-pack and it’s just hiding underneath your belly!
Only thing is abdominal exercises do not burn fat. Which means you have to lose your stomach fat by:
- strength training
As well as doing cardio on a consistent basis. But, not all forms of cardio workouts are created equal, and if you do cardio the wrong way. Or, for too long. You’ll actually gain more fat! So, be careful!
Instead, the best way to burn stomach fat quick with cardio is by doing interval training. Click here to learn how to burn belly fat fast with interval training!
Another key is targeting your abdominal muscles with a variety of ab exercises. So, once you reduce the fat covering your abdominals, you’ll have a defined and toned midsection! That’s how to get abs!
With that being said though, you can’t just do your ab exercises in any old way. One of the biggest reasons why people can’t get better results on their abs is because their ab exercise techniques are wrong. A direct result of getting bad ab workout tips from the wrong people!
You can have all the best abs exercises in the world, spend thousands on fancy workout equipment, or hire expensive personal trainers–even hiring “celebrity” fitness trainers. You can also workout until you’re totally spent and blue in the face…
But if you don’t do the techniques correctly, then the exercises are useless, and you won’t get great results! So to get the most out of the ab exercises on this site, make sure you follow the ab workout tips and abs exercise advice below closely. And, you’ll be on your way to Fab–-Abs!
How to Get Abs…
Warm Up First
Proper warm-ups are important prior to performing any exercise. This gets your blood flowing to prepare you for the workout ahead, as a warm muscle is always stronger than a cold one. But also proper warm up prevents injury.
Here’s an easy warm exercise you can do:
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Clasp your hands, turn your palms to face the ceiling, and stretch your arms fully above your head. Now take a nice big stretch. Now stretch to the left. Come back to the center, then stretch to the right.
To really get your blood circulating, perform The Hundred before embarking on your ab workout.
Riding the stationary bike for five to ten minutes could also be another option. But, whatever you choose, make sure you’re properly warmed up and do not forget this important first step on how to get abs!
Train Your Abs Three Days a Week or Every Other Day
Build a regular ab workout routine into your overall exercise regimen by doing ab training three days a week or every other day. The trick on how to get abs is to be consistent so you will see results!
Also your ab muscles are like any other muscle, they need proper rest. So, they can grow!
Target All Primary Abdominal Muscles
Do a variety of exercises to target all areas of your ab muscles: upper rectus abdominus, lower rectus abdominus, obliques and transverse abdominus.
Otherwise, you’ll have an unbalanced and weird looking midsection! Just like someone who only focuses on upper body workouts, and neglects their lower body. Then, they end up with a big chest, arms, and shoulders with skinny legs to support it! Which doesn’t look too appealing, and not how to get abs…
So, work all your key ab muscles during each workout. Learn more about your abdominal muscle anatomy here.
Quality, Not Quantity
The effectiveness of the exercises is based on quality–not quantity. Make every rep count.
Doing 15 slow, deliberate crunches with smooth, controlled movement is much more effective than doing 200 fast, sloppy crunches with erratic swinging movement. Research shows the more slowly you move, the more muscle fibers you engage. That’s because:
Abdominal muscles are composed of fast-twitch muscle fibers–they respond best to fewer repetitions and increased resistance using a slower tempo.
Tighten Your Abdominal Muscles
This is an often overlooked and underused tip on how to get abs…
Contract your midsection before beginning each set, and keep it tightened while performing the exercise. Making a conscious effort to keep your abs tightened allows for even greater tension on your midsection throughout the exercise. Which means a more effective ab workout!
When you’re doing an ab workout, focus on your weakest abdominal muscles and the most difficult exercises first. Generally speaking, this involves the lower abdominals. Most lower ab exercises are more difficult because they require more coordination and stability.
Plus, the obliques and upper abs need to stabilize the upper ab area during lower ab training. So, they need to be fresh and strong in order to maintain proper form during your lower ab exercises.
So working on your obliques and upper abs after working on your lower abs is best. After all, you want to target your biggest problem area more effectively by doing it first, when your muscles are stronger. You wouldn’t want to do your hardest exercise last when your muscles are weaker!
Exhale While Contracting Your Abs
A simple technique on how to get abs many people don’t do or do wrong is… breathing!
When you reach the peak of movement in a particular exercise where your abs should be tightened, exhale–don’t inhale. It’s even all right to exhale somewhat forcefully, as if trying to press your belly button down through your internal organs toward your spine. This more effectively activates the transverse abdominal.
Besides, if you inhale on contraction instead of exhaling, you’ll force your muscles to form outward–the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve! In other words, when you’re doing a crunch. You want to exhale as you rise, not inhale.
Maintain a Neutral Spine
When conducting the exercises, keep your spine nice and elongated, but not rigid. This will protect your lower back and neck.
Press Your Lower Back Firmly Into the Floor
This helps prevent injury and discomfort to your lower back. Carving rock-hard abs does not mean you have to injure yourself.
Lift With Your Abs–Not With Your Neck, and Not With Your Legs
All the lifting strength comes from your abs. When your hands are clasped behind your head, they are simply holding the weight of your head very lightly. Be sure your elbows are pointing to the sides, not curled up around the sides of your head. This is to prevent lifting with your neck, thereby reducing the risk of neck injury.
Your hands are only there for balancing purposes, not to pull on your head or neck as you rise! Some of the exercises call for placing your hands beside or behind, but not touching, your ears because it’s safe to do so.
With certain lower ab and oblique exercises, be sure your arms and legs don’t wildly move up and down or side to side. Your abs does all the lifting with smooth, controlled movements. Think of it as always leading with your abs first.
Use Good Crunch Technique
In relevant exercises, draw your rib cage and your pelvis toward one another. In other words, don’t just lift your entire torso like a traditional sit-up.
Lift Only Until Your Shoulder Blades Clear the Floor
If you can lift a bit higher, that’s fine. But never strain.
Pause at the Top Position
This keeps your muscles contracted and makes for an effective workout.
Lower Just as Slowly as You Rise
Lowering is just as important as rising. Take at least two or three seconds to rise, hold for one or two seconds, then take at least two or three seconds to lower. Don’t come all the way down at the bottom of each rep for a more effective workout.
Perform a Maximum of 15 Repetitions for a Specific Exercise
This is called one set. If 15 are too strenuous, just do as many high-quality reps as you can until you reach failure–your strength will improve with time. “Failure” is a weightlifting term that means you can’t do any more reps because you’re too tired or because it “burns.” Your last couple of reps should create a burning sensation and be difficult to complete.
If you can easily do more than 15 reps of a particular ab exercise or if the last couple of reps aren’t difficult, chances are you’re not getting enough intensity, or resistance, in each rep. So, either the exercise is too easy for you, or you’re not slowing down enough. You need to either choose a more difficult exercise or slow down and squeeze harder at the top of each rep.
Remember, fast-twitch abdominal muscles respond best to heavy resistance and fewer reps. The idea is to do as many truly intense reps as you can with perfect form. You want to train the abs with lower reps to make it feel as though you’ve performed 50-plus reps.
Don’t focus on how many reps you can do–focus on high-quality reps. As a matter of fact, doing more than 15 reps is an ineffective way on how to get abs as it reduces the overall effectiveness of the exercise. So, don’t waste your time!
When you’re beginning, perform three sets per exercise for each ab muscle group. As your abs get stronger, feel free to perform more sets per exercise as you progress.
You should rest for 30 to 60 seconds between sets. The goal is 30 to 40 seconds, but you can take up to 60 seconds if necessary until you get stronger. But your goal is to keep a nice pace of 40-second rests between each set and exercise.
The exceptions to this overall guideline are yoga poses and any exercises noted otherwise. For yoga poses, hold for 10 breaths–a breath is one inhalation plus one exhalation. Breathe slowly and deeply. If that’s too long, decrease the number of breaths. When you become stronger, feel free to increase the number of breaths.
Yoga poses are not performed in sets or repetitions–just by the number of breaths you hold them. But feel free to take a 30- to 60-second break between each pose. And of course, you can still mix yoga poses with sets of other exercises.
For Pilates exercises, perform up to three sets, or as many high-quality reps as you can, unless otherwise noted.
Heed the Lower Back Guide
I’ve rated each exercise on a scale of 1 to 3 for difficulty and strain on the lower back–1 being easy and 3 being difficult. But that doesn’t mean that exercises rated as a 1 aren’t challenging! I’ve hand-selected the cream of the crop!
If you have ever experienced back pain or injury, you should not do any of the exercises with a lower back rating of 3. Likewise, approach those with a lower back rating of 2 with caution.
Bottom Line on How to Get Abs?
To get abs, and get great abs, you first reduce your body fat by:
- eating clean and lean
- strength training
- Doing cardio on a consistent basis. But, not just doing any form of cardio. Instead, doing the most effective cardio exercise–interval training.
Then, strengthen your ab muscles with a variety of the best ab exercises, and if you do the exercises the right way by using proper technique. You just won’t get abs, you’ll get Fab–Abs!
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by all these ab workout tips. They will come naturally over time, and before you know it. You’ll be doing them without giving it a second thought! And even if you just attempt the proper techniques, you’re still going to get great abs!
But until then, if you’re still uncertain about how to get abs, I’d recommend you come back to the ab workout tips page prior to each abs workout just to refresh your memory. Or even better, print a copy of this page so you’ll always have it handy! Yes, it’s that important!
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