It’s that time of year again, where the days are getting longer and people start talking about getting in shape for summer. One of the most obvious and coveted features of a lean body is 6-pack abs. To get a 6-pack, you have to be disciplined both at the gym and in the kitchen. There are no shortcuts to building and revealing a great set of abs, but there is a lot more to it than just cutting out carbs and doing a million crunches a day.
Today we’re going to take a look at 3 exercises that can help you build your abs for a great looking midsection this summer.
Before we get started, let’s discuss nutrition. To go into every detail about the way your body may react to certain types of foods and how to pursue the healthiest diet for your body type, we’d have to write hundreds of blog posts covering every possible topic.
When it comes to getting lean with relative ease, however, the guidelines are pretty simple. In order for abdominal muscles to show up and look like the superheroes of Hollywood, you must have very low body fat. We know for a fact that calories in vs. calories out is what affects body fat.
Contrary to popular opinion, the types of food you eat have nothing to do with weight loss or gain. It’s all about making sure you use up a higher number of calories than you take in. That does not mean, however, that you should just get all your calories from candy and call it a day. It is still important for your overall health and longevity to have a healthy intake of high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These 3 Macronutrients are found in any calorie you consume.
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
We have already discussed how to calculate the number of macronutrients you should eat for your goals in another post. If you haven’t read that post yet you can find it here.
The basic principle you need to know for getting 6 pack abs is to be in a caloric deficit while maintaining a high level of protein (.08 grams per pound of body weight). This will ensure that you are not cannibalizing your muscle mass while cutting down on your body fat. Now that you understand the nutrition basics behind 6-pack abs, let’s dive into 3 great exercises to really make them pop!
The following 3 exercises are designed to activate all 3 areas of your abdomen; the upper abs, lower abs, and your oblique muscles. By working all 3 of these areas out on a consistent basis, you’ll soon be able to achieve a complete 6-pack.
Decline Sit Ups – Upper Abdomen
Decline situps are pretty straight forward. Lay on a decline bench so that your head is lower than your feet. This will increase the resistance that you have to fight to go through a full range of motion. Be sure you’re not throwing your back into it or using momentum to help you get up. This will detract from the effectiveness of the exercise. Instead, flex your abs throughout the entire movement and go slowly in a controlled motion.
To make the exercise even more difficult, hold a medicine ball and throw it to your workout partner on your way up. Once your partner catches the medicine ball, they should toss it back as you begin the descent portion of the exercise. This will train you to keep your abs tensed throughout the entire exercise.
Lying Leg Raises – Lower Abdomen
Lying leg raises are almost like reverse sit-ups. This exercise is designed to work the lower part of your abdomen, and if you’ve never done bottom to top ab movements before, you will definitely feel it the next day. To do this exercise, lay on your back and place your palms face down on the floor for stability. Then, with your legs and feet together, raise them into the air. At the top of the movement, your body should look like an L. Slowly lower your feet back to the floor and you’ve completed one rep.
Cable Twists – Trunk Rotation/Obliques
The obliques are the diagonal looking muscles on either side of your abdomen. When worked out correctly, they can add the finishing touch on a 6-pack. Watch the video below to see how to perform a cable twist.
Carefully monitoring your calorie intake, combined with keeping up a proper exercise routine, will go a long way in getting you the 6-pack abs you’ve been dreaming of. If you’d like to work with a personal trainer, get the best gym equipment available, or schedule a consultation for in-home or commercial gym design, you’ve come to the right place!
Balance Fitness is dedicated to providing the best of the best when it comes to healthy life habits. You can contact us online, by phone, or in person at our San Mateo showroom!