Abdominal Workout Tips
The abdominal muscles are important to one's physique for two reasons. First, a toned abdomen with just the right amount of muscles is attractive in appearance especially to the opposite sex. Second, a well-conditioned abs means a strong core, which is essential in the performance of the various activities in daily life.
With this thought in mind, we strongly suggest the following tips to maximize your abdominal workouts.
1. Go for High Intensity Interval Training for Cardio
High intensity interval training (HIIT) requires doing the cardio exercises in alternate sets of highly intense movements and then moderate intensity activities. For example, sprinting for 3 minutes then followed by jogging for 2 minutes. Keep in mind that cardio exercises are necessary to burn away the fat covering the abdominal muscles.
2. Eat Small Meals
Building abdominal muscles - or any large muscle groups in the body, for that matter - requires the right kind of food at the right amounts and right intervals. We suggest going for frequent small meals with healthy portions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats with carbohydrate cycling in mind. Eat more starchy carbs during days of weight training and just a small amount on cardio days.
3. Core Exercises
And of course, you must perform core exercises to provide the most definition to the abdominal muscles. This is called target exercises for the simple reason that there is a specific target group of muscles being developed. We suggest crunches, squats and other abs-based exercises in this regard.
4. Work on Both Sets of Abs
5. Put on Bulk First
Contrary to popular notion, abdominal muscles will not magically appear when crunches and the like are performed on a daily basis for an hour each day. You must first go through a bulking phase where you put on as much lean muscle mass on your body in general and your abdomen in particular, even when the six-pack abs are still nowhere to be seen
6. Cutting Phase Is Next
Then, when you already have the right amount of lean muscle mass, you can proceed to the cutting phase. This is where you work on adding the desired definition on the six-pack abs by doing cardio exercises to melt away the fat in the abdominal area, attaining a low body fat percentage, and eating the right diet.
7. Increase Your Frequency of Exercise
If you are the type who performs abdominal exercises just once a week, we suggest increasing your frequency to two times a week. Your abdominal muscles will then feel the burn with the increased frequency and, thus, develop in a faster manner. You must, however, not over-train these muscles or your efforts will fall flat.
8. Rest In Between Sets
The resting and recovery phase is where the muscles grow the most as the cells grow double time to repair the cellular injuries brought by the exercises. However, you must keep your rest periods to the minimum during the workout session with the ideal being just 25-45 seconds, 60 seconds being the maximum period.
9. Do the Right Number of Repetitions
Keep in mind that you are building abdominal muscles, not building endurance. As such, your repetitions of the abdominal exercises must be 8-12 instead of your usual 20-30 repetitions. At the 8-12 rep range, you are already maximizing the growth of your abdominal muscles. Don't go thinking that higher number of reps is necessary for the six-pack abs to appear as this is simply not true.
10. Burn the Fat
Last but not least, you have to burn the fat. We have emphasized this point in the abovementioned tips for a reason. Your abdominal muscles are covered by a layer of fat, which can be melted away with the right combination of diet and cardio exercises. Once the fat is melted, you can work on the definition.
When cardio and strength training exercises done in the right frequency, repetitions and sets are coupled with the right diet and right mindset, you can build on your six-pack abs like the professionals do.
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