You have already got six pack abs (eight if you count the two boxes between your navel and your pelvis). That’s the way your abdomen is configured. The good news is, if you’re like the majority of hardgainers, then you already have a very low body fat percentage and only need to focus on strengthening the abdominal region to show the muscles, instead of worrying about fat loss. However, this article will be an abs guide for all body types. If you want those boxes to pop, your plan of attack needs to be two fold; one, build your abdominal wall, and two, reduce your body fat so the muscles will show.
The formula for toning your abs is straightforward:
- crunches for the upper and frontal abs (rectus abdominis)
- rotating crunches (adding a twist), for the side abs and the waist (internal/external obliques)
- leg raises for the lower abdomen (boxes seven and eight)
- bicycle crunches which are one of the most effective abs exercises
Here’s a demonstration of how to do a bicycle crunch correctly:
You can work your abs with an abs machine or on your bedroom floor. The point is to work them! The more dedicated and creative you are, the better your results will be. Mix up your routines. Muscles respond to diversity and challenge. Your body will appreciate the variety and your mind will stay focused and sharp during your workouts. Three to four, 15-minute ab workouts a week, working the abdomen from all angles (upper, lower, obliques), should be enough. Don’t work your abs everyday. Days off are important for recovery and growth.
The second plan of attack for a washboard stomach is to reduce your body fat.
You can reduce your body fat in two ways:
- burn more calories
- improve your diet
Cardiovascular activity burns calories. Basketball, tennis, jogging, treadmills, stairmasters, swimming, anything that gets you moving around. The more you move, the more calories you’ll burn. Cardiovascular exercise will also improve your stamina, strength, overall health and longevity. Weight training is also beneficial. Muscles burn calories even at rest, so building muscle mass will mean you will burn calories at a faster rate.
Finally, to look like an athlete you have to eat like one. Eat plenty of protein; meat, fish and poultry. Between meals opt for healthy snacks; fresh fruit, salads, protein bars or nutritional shakes for extra energy. It’s more about quality than quantity. Think of your food as the fuel that powers you. You wouldn’t run a Jaguar on low-grade gas, loaded with sugar and starch, if you knew it would perform better powered by protein, fresh fruits and vegetables. If you’re determined to have a stomach you can bounce a quarter off, combining consistent and diverse abdominal workouts, with a high protein diet and plenty of cardiovascular activity is the way to go.