Strong Abs help prevent injury, strengthen your back, and increase athletic performance. Not to mention, they're just plain sexy.
However, in a world of instant gratification, it's not so easy to obtain the body of your dreams. The media is constantly attacking you with thousands of lies, trying to send you messages about what you should eat, when you should eat, and where you should eat.
Stop with the nonsense! To sculpt the perfect six pack, you must inform yourself on the best practices for creating that body.
Pop all the pills you want. Slap on the latest diet pill. Ride the latest diet of the month.
It doesn't matter. If you are eating more than you're burning, you will continue to gain body fat.
So, what's the key to long term permanent fat loss?
Proper nutrition and Increased Activity. . . .
The first step to getting six pack abs is losing body fat. This is the most important factor in developing sexy six-pack abs. Your six pack will never shine through if it's covered with a layer of fat. Some of the best cardio exercises for losing fat are running, biking, jumping rope, aerobics, and climbing stairs. Start doing any of these activities for 30 minutes at least 4-5 days a week and you will quickly start to see changes in your physique.
To gain a sculpted six pack, you will also need to do some weight lifting. Your weight lifting routine should be done about 3 days per week. With more muscle, your metabolism will increase and begin to burn more calories all day long, even while you're sleeping.
The next step in sculpting your abs is to properly train them. Many people make the mistake of overusing and abusing the crunch. If you do nothing but floor crunches, your abs will never reach their maximum potential.
You should do a variety of different ab exercises as well as lower back exercises.
Some of the best abdominal exercises include:
crunches of various types weighted crunches twisting crunch kneeling cable rope crunch side crunch reverse crunch reverse crunch on an incline slant board hip lift hanging knee-ups hanging leg raises plank side-plank Janda Sit Ups Ab Wheel Bicycle Crunch
The stability ball is also a great exercise tool for sculpting great abs. It allows you to call on a wide variety of additional muscles. This is due to all of the stabilizer muscles that have to kick in. You also get an extra 15 degrees in range of motion doing crunches on a stability ball. Here are some good ab exercises that can be done using the stability ball:
stability ball crunches
stability ball side crunches
stability ball reverse crunches
By incorporating a variety of exercises, you will hit all of the different abdominal
muscles, including the upper abs, lower abs, obliques, transverse abdominis, and lower back. However, keep in mind that there are a few guidelines you should follow when working your abs.
Work your abs about 3 days a week. Like any other muscle in your body, your abdominals grow while they are at rest. Working them everyday doesn't give them a chance to grow and get strong. Proper rest is very important to develop strong muscles.
Pick different exercises every workout. There are literally hundreds of different ab exercises, allowing you to target all of the different abdominal muscles as well as the supporting muscles of the lower back and transverse abdominis. By adding variety to your ab workouts, your abs will continue to grow after each workout. Do the same ol’ workout every time and you will soon hit a plateau because the body is built to adapt.
Do your workouts in sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
Make every movement count and take it slow. This is the best way to chisel those abs.
There is no quick fix. There is no secret. But with steady dedication, you will soon be on your way to rock-hard abs.
Kim Roach is the fitness reporter at HealthyEveryDay.com, where you will find additional fitness articles , news, and nutrition articles .