In this article, I am going to give you 25 tips that will take your ab workout routine to the next level and help you achieve the perfect six pack abs.
Every guy wants nice abs, every girl likes them. Now there are some people who might hate them but these folks are most likely not normal and suffer from a disease called jealousy, they are the exception, not the norm so let’s ignore them.
Importance of six pack abs
There is no such thing as an aesthetic physique without defined abs. It doesn’t exist. So if you want to build a nice body that will make you proud and turn heads when you take your shirt off, you’re going need to learn how to get six pack abs the right way.
Not all ab exercises and workouts are created equal. You can spend countless hours in the gym doing ab exercises and straining your back with nothing to show for it if you don’t know what you’re doing. Now I don’t want to make it sound like getting abs is difficult because it’s not.
But it can be if you don’t know how to train properly. Your form during an exercise is extremely important. The way the human body operates, the right training techniques, the mind and muscle connection and deliberate effort to control your muscles must be made in order to get the most of out of your workouts.
The relation between body fat and six pack abs
Before we go any further, I want make one thing clear to you John. You cannot get 6 pack abs if you’ve got too much excess abdominal fat covering your ab muscles. It’s simple, before you can get abs, you need to lose the belly fat that’s covering it.
You can do a million sit-ups and crunches, it just won’t happen. So before you go and break your back doing a bunch of ab exercises with no results to show for it, get your nutrition and overall workout routine in check to lose the excess weight that will lower your stomach fat. Cool? Ok let’s move on.
Six Pack Ab Workouts Rules
Now I don’t really like the word rules, it kind of puts limitations on things. And these are my rules from my years of experience in fitness and bodybuilding. You can bend them however you want to at your own perils or success. But these rules are a good foundation to build on, and something you can always refer back to when training your abs.
Don’t do too many reps
Exercises like situps, while a cornerstone of most ab workouts and rightfully so, can cause back strains when done excessively. Moderation is always a good rule.
Don’t train your abs every day
Another thing you don’t want to do is training your abs every day. Abs just like your other muscles , they need rest to grow and show that nice definition. Approach them like most other muscles.
See, not so hard right, just two simple rules, but they will save yourself from breaking your own back and hindering your ab building progress.
Now that we’ve gone over a few things that have put you in the right mindset for building your abs with realistic expectations, it’s time to give 25 tips that will take your ab workout routine to new heights.
25 tips for a great six pack abs workout
- Keep your abs flexed and contracted throughout the entire set. You still need to breathe properly so don’t hold your breath while flexing. Inhale as you go down and exhale while coming up. All the while maintaining the contraction.
- Do slow reps instead of fast ones. Slower repetitions will keep your abdominal muscles under tension for longer and give you a more rigorous ab workout.
- When you do situps, start with your arms behind your head for increased difficulty, as you you get tired you can place your arms to your sides to lower the difficulty and get a few more reps out.
- When you do crunches, your lower back should remain still, only lift your upper back. If you lift your lower back even a little bit, it becomes more of a situp than an ab crunch. They tartget different areas of the abs.
- During leg raises, straighten your legs for increased difficulty, as you become fatigued, bend your knees to get a few more reps out.
- Train your abs in the 8-16 rep range, just like other muscles. If you are able to do more than 16 reps of an exercises without failing, then you need to increase the intensity by either doing the reps slower or by attaching weights to your body.
- Make the mind and muscle connection during each rep. Focus on the target abdominal muscles and feel them tighten up during each rep. This is more important than you think.
- Don’t do too many reps. A lot of people have this notion that abs should be trained differently than other muscles and that they should do lots of reps for results. That is false and can actually cause lower back injuries. As stated above, train the in the 8-16 repetition range.
- Don’t do too many sets. Keep your sets to below five. Too many and you get into the overtraining, overstraining your back area with no real benefits.
- Do allow your abs to rest and grow. Just like other muscles, your abs don’t grow while you train them, they grow while you rest. Don’t get addicted to training your abs every day or every time you hit the gym. Twice or thrice a week is fine.
- Use good form. Incorrect form will put a lot strain on your lower back and hips. depending on your body structure, you may need to use shorter range of motion or longer ones. Test different techniques and stick with the ones that don’t cause too much pain.
- Do a combination of ab exercises that target specific areas of your abs during each session. While most exercises for the abs will train the entire abs, they target certain areas more than others. Know which exercise trains the lower, upper, obliques, etc.
- Do leg raising exercises for lower abs. Leg raises of all kinds will generally target the lower area of the abs more than others. Since the lower abs are one of the hardest part of target consistently, you need to often do exercises that train them.
- Do ab crunching exercises to target the upper ab muscles. There are multiple ways you can do ab crunches besides the regular way. You can use cable, machines, a medicine ball, etc. Mix it up.
- Avoid doing heavy oblique exercises. Depending on your genetics, they can cause the lateral oblique, waist muscles to expand and give you muscular love handles.
- Do twisting exercises for your obliques instead of weighted side bends or weighted oblique leg lifts as they can cause what I talk about in tip #15.
- Change up your ab routine every 90 days or so to prevent your body from adapting to the movements. Once you adapt, the results will stop. If you’ve achieved the perfect six pack abs or you’ve reached a level that satisfies you, you can continue the same routine for maintenance.
- Compound movements like squats and deadlifts have a big effect on building your abs. Don’t avoid them, they train your entire core which is important if you want well defined set of abs.
- Don’t rest too long between sets. Keeping your abs under constant tension is important for optimal results. They recover quickly and in most cases it’s not your abs that give out first but your back, so jump back in as soon as you feel capable of doing 8+ reps again.
- Don’t get your hips involved too much. A lot people actually train their hips more than their abs during their ab workout. If you follow the advice already given to you above, then you won’t have to worry about this. If you feel your upper thighs getting sore, then you need to fix your form.
- Use weights to increase the intensity of the movements. Like I said before, you want to keep your reps under 16, but if you find that you can go further, it means that you need to make the exercise harder for yourself. Weights will also induce more ab muscle growth.
- Train abs at the end of your workout. Your abdominal muscles get trained when you do certain compound exercises. When you leave your ab workout for the end, you have already exhausted them a bit and the exercises will have a bigger impact.
- Do different exercises per session if you train abs more than once a week. For example if you do situps, crunches, leg raises on Mondays, then do oblique twists, bicycle kicks, medicine ball situps on Wednesday, and so forth. You get the idea.
- It’s actually fine to round your back a little when you’re performing ab exercises. It helps isolate the abs more. This is one of the few cases where rounding your back a little is actually beneficial.
- Last but not least on the list, do all ab exercise right after another. Don’t just do some situps and crunches in between sets of your chest routine etc. Treat your abs like real muscles and train them properly,
There you have it. If you don’t get washboard abs after incorporating these 25 ab workout tips then you most likely have a nutrition problem that needs to be addressed. Remember that you can’t get abs if you’re fat so focus on losing overall body weight first and foremost and then you can focus on getting abs.