In my years training, I have seen vast, vast confusion about how to “get” abs and what is the fastest way to get a six pack. I have seen and heard ALL the craziest things. The sad part is, it’s really very simple. Why people feel the need to complicate abs so much is beyond me.
HOW TO LOSE A STOMACH
So, you want to see definition in your abs huh? What would you do if you wanted definition in any muscle? LOSE BODY FAT!!! I want to say this again so that it sinks in: LOSE BODY FAT! Period. Is the fastest way to get a six pack and lose body fat doing 30 million half assed crunches? Nope. Adjust your diet. Adjust your cardio routine. Enough said.
Now, you want to make those abdominal muscles pop and look awesome? Well, what would you do if you wanted to make any other muscle bigger and rounder? Work the shit out of it. Make it stronger. Do you need to move and contort in hundreds of different goofy ways to do this? NO!!! Pick a few good movements and use some damn resistance! The abs are not some magical muscle that breaks all the rules.
Now there is some anatomy to learn regarding the core. If you know the muscles of the core and what they do, it is much easier to understand how to strengthen them
First is the abdominus rectus. This is the “6 pack” that we are all familiar with. The “abs” run up vertically from the rib cage to the pelvis. The abs are worked by either bringing the ribcage toward the pelvis, as in a crunch, or bringing the pelvis to the ribcage, as in a reverse crunch or leg raise.
The obliques, both external and internal, run at diagonal angles at the sides of the abs. They give the midsection those tight lines on the sides. These muscle help with side bending and twisting.
Lastly is the transverse abdominus. This is a thin layer of muscle that runs deep to the abdominus rectus. You cannot see this muscle, but it is still important. This muscle acts as a corset and holds the midsection in tight.
Now with this knowledge of anatomy, let’s put together a short list of ab exercises that will get the job done. Having a great midsection is a lot easier than most people make it. Well, I should say the work is painful but it’s not brain surgery.
Cable crunches: Cable crunches, using significant resistance, can do wonders in building the abdominus rectus and obliques. This motion tends to hit the upper abs a little harder than the upper. We can do straight cable crunches to hit the rectus abdominus, or twisting crunches to hit more of the obliques.
Leg Raises: These can be done hanging from a bar, propped on the elbows on the, “captain’s chair,” or even lying supine on a bench. Leg raises will work the lower abs harder, and are a great compliment to cable crunches. These can be done straight up the hit the rectus abdominus, or to the sides to focus on the obliques.
Swiss ball crunches: This is a great exercise for tightening the abs and bringing a pump to the area. These are best as a finisher exercise, because they are too easy. They are not effective unless you are already fatigued (unless you are just starting out and have very weak abs). Like the two aforementioned exercises, these can be done straight up or twisting to change the focus.
THE FASTEST WAY TO GET A SIX PACK
All of the exercises above have the ability to work the rectus abdominus while working the abs and obliques. You just need to consciously pull your belly button in and hold your core tight while you are performing the exercises.
Throw all these above exercises together in an intelligent way, and this is all you need to know to build an impressive midsection and how to lose a stomach. I hope this has clarified ab work for those people who’s heads are spinning trying to remember some complicated routine. Get lean, work ‘em hard, and you’ve got abs!
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