10 Apr 2 Simple Methods For Getting Great Abs

Do people still think you need to do tons of crunches and sit ups, in combination with long duration cardio to get great abs? What do you think about that?  Getting a nice lean stomach or set of rock hard abs basically comes down to 2 simple things, and it’s not what I just mentioned.

Remember that your abdominals and trunk stabilizer muscles primary function is to “stabilize.”  That means to protect your spine and internal organs from external forces during activity and daily functional movements.  The best way to train those all those stabilizer muscles (Rectus Abdominis, Transverse Abdominals, Internal Obliques, External Obliques, Multifidus, Quadratus Lumborum) is to work or exercise in a way that forces sustained contraction of the core musculature or reproduce the actual stabilization effect.  This will carry over into functional activity.

Think about it this way, when you’re engaged in an activity, let’s say running, for example.  What happens to your core stabilizers?  They fire, contract, and stabilize your midsection. Think about virtually any sport, it’s the same way.  Your abs and other trunk muscles are firing to protect and support your spine during engagement.

So, what are the 2 simple ways for getting great abs?  It’s this:

I.    Perform Stabilization Exercises. Ok, now that we have established the understanding of how important your stabilization muscles are, we need to address them properly with training.  Some of the best exercises are the plank, side plank, ab wheel roll outs, kettlebell swings, turkish get ups, chops and lifts, farmers walks, deadlifts, and the list goes on. There are many great stabilization exercises you can do.  For simplicity, maybe the plank is one of the best examples.  During the plank, all your core muscles are firing and stabilizing for the time period that you hold this position. For a complete review of this exercise, see this previous post.  Kettlebell swings are another great example, just take a look at a video demo I did here.  Every time I swing that kettlebell my abs are firing and stabilizing my trunk!  I haven’t done a sit-up in years and I can’t recall the last time I did a crunch.  The result is my midsection is stronger and my abs are leaner than they’ve been in years doing these type of exercises. Is this an unconventional approach to you?  Call it what you want, but it’s all about functional results.

II.   Eat for Fat Loss. Of course the second big principle for getting great abs is fat loss.  For your abs to actually be visible, you’ll need to have a certain degree of ‘leanness.’ Typical body fat percentages for men that are lean are in the 10 to 14% range and for women it’s in the 16 to 20% range.  The average male has about 17% bodyfat and the average female is around 23%.  So, where do you need to be to see a lean stomach?  For men, it’s usually in the single digits and for women it’s in the mid teens.  Eating to get there is a massive subject and I’m only going to touch on it here. The major point is that you’ve got to eat for fat loss to see the abs you have, if that’s what you want.  Maybe you don’t need a ripped six pack, but you want to look good in a bathing suit, you want to trim the excess belly fat and feel good about yourself.  To do this, you’ve got to have a solid eating strategy in place.  Some simple things to do, in addition to the stabilization exercises we discussed above, are to:

  • slash your sugar and processed food intake,
  • eliminate ‘white’ carbs,
  • eat frequent small meals,
  • eat lots of greens and certain fresh fruits,
  • eat healthy fats, and
  • eat small portions of lean protein at every meal.

These are literally just a few tips on lean eating.  To get great abs, you’ve got to eat smart.  All the hardcore training in the world isn’t going to do you good, unless you’re eating for fat loss and energy.

These 2 methods are the sure-fire way to a lean midsection.  And don’t forget all the health benefits of having a lean midsection can do for you.  I did a previous post on how having six pack abs is more than just looking good.  The real benefits are risk reduction in major diseases!  Having great abs will not only help you look great and feel great, but you’ll be significantly healthier as a result.  That sounds like a ‘no-brainer’ to me!

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