Ab workouts tend to be different to other muscles. This is because the abs are typically covered by fat. This means that while other muscles can be visible even with a higher percentage of fat, the same can`t be said when it comes to abdominal muscles.
Ab workouts start in the kitchen
As said above, visible abs are largely determined by the body fat percentage. The exact percentage may vary from person to person. People with very visible abs usually have a body fat percentage under 10%. To achieve this you will have to be very specific with your nutrition.
Best tips for the right nutrition
Nutrition plays a key role in abdominal definition. There is no secret to a good diet, but some tips might help you achieve your six-pack goals faster.
Eat the right carbs
Carbohydrates play an essential role in muscle development. They also sustain some brain functions. You should not avoid carbs just to get abs, it will put a lot of pressure on other essential digestive functions. Instead, you should focus on healthy carbs sources in fruits, vegetables, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta.
Carbohydrates are also fast-absorbing. You can maximize their effect by having them after your workout when your muscles need them the most. This way you will also avoid storing it as fat.
Eat vegetables daily
Vegetables are avoided by so many people. The only reason for this is probably the taste. But vegetables play a crucial role in the whole mechanism providing you with vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Vitamins sustain your energy levels and all of the body`s functions. Minerals are essential for bones and joints while fibers keep your digestive system healthy. Fibers are also digested slowly which means you can have them in the evening as fuel for when you go to sleep.
Protein plays such an essential role in muscle development that is has become marketed in all shapes and forms. You need to find the purest forms of protein which your body can actually digest. Some good protein sources include milk, eggs, chicken, fish and beef. If you are vegetarian you can find alternatives in soy, beans, rice etc. There are plenty of good protein sources to choose from. A professional tip is to have varied sources of protein which will give you all the amino acids needed to build muscle. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and you can choose many sources to get a mix of fast and slower digesting proteins. Your body will develop using protein. This includes the abs, where you need to stay away from foods like refined sugars, pastries, juices or other types of junk food. There is no way around a bad diet if you want visible abs.
Ab workouts for definition
Abdominal muscles are trained differently by everybody. Some people train abs like any other muscle group, once or twice per week. Other people train abs every day. There are some people who even train abs by timing instead of counting repetitions.
There is no best way to train abs, but usually, variation and functional training can add definition. Following a workout plan to suit most gym-goers, you can train abs every other day at the end of your workout.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday – at the end of the regular workout
Following this pattern, you need to increase the difficulty. This can be done with two main methods. The first method is by increasing volume. You would perform more exercises or more repetitions with each set. The second method is by increasing resistance. You can do this by performing exercises with weights. For example, you can perform crunches holding a dumbbell. You can also aim for constant tension with cable crunches. A good tip with this exercise is to control it from start to finish, pausing when crunched.
But abdominal muscles need to be trained in combination with other muscles also. Functional training is one of the best methods of training abs. Functional exercises can include circuit-style training.
Why circuit training is great for abs
Circuit training has the major benefit of engaging the muscles while keeping your heart rate elevated. You can train with a heart rate higher than 120bpm to start losing fat at the same time. So this is why you include circuits into your abs exercises you limit your resting time making your body burn fat faster.
Ideally, you want to use a combination of circuit-style training and regular exercises. But even functional exercises with a ball or kettlebell can be included in a circuit. Training oblique muscles is also something many people don`t consider important.
These muscles have a stabilizing role which can`t be overlooked. Oblique muscles can also be trained used your own body weight but you can add some weights with cable one-arm pulleys. You can also try different roll-outs which are great for building abs and adding strength to the core. And finally, you can include leg raises to maximize definition on the lower abs.
Unconventional abs training
Not everything is centered on crunches. Abs can also be trained indirectly. Abdominal muscles are activated with many exercises. For example, when you squat you are activating the stabilizing core muscles. A good way to engage abs is also using planks. Planks can be one of the best ways to strengthen your core. This isometric exercise can be increased in timing with every workout to add the challenge you might need.
You may also use TRX exercises which require a strong core. These types of suspension exercises will work great for maximum definition as they engage the whole body.
And if you really want to see the abs and all the effort that was put behind the muscles you need to lose the belly fat. You can do this by incorporating cardio workouts into your routine. You can cycle for 10 minutes every other day to slowly burn fat around the core region. Running is also another good option for burning belly fat. However, running is starting to be less and less recommended, especially for overweight people as they can encounter serious knee and joint problems. Running should be a definite option for the period after you lose some weight, to take some pressure off the joints.
As you can see there are numerous ways to train abs. The truth is that most people have abs but they are not visible due to the fat in the core region. This is why it is recommended to start a healthy, sustainable, meal plan before targeting visible abs.
You need to stay away from foods which make you store fat, such as processed sugars and include healthy foods which offer plenty nutrients which can actually by absorbed by the body. You also need enough resting time as abs can get sore quickly, especially with circuit-style training. And in the end, you need to have an open mind when it comes to training routines. You need to switch exercises from time to time to get the best results. You may use a combination of regular exercises, circuit training, and functional core exercises to see the best definition.