Two muscles that run down the sides of the abs. The abs and obliques are the most visible and are supported by a number of other muscles underneath. Training all these muscles is key to a strong core and washboard abs.
Body fat percentage
We all have abs. It’s just that for the majority of people, there’s a layer of fat covering them up. Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce when it comes to fat loss (doing ab exercises won’t shift the fat over your abs) so to lose belly fat and see your abs you’ll need to reduce your overall body fat percentage. This is done by creating a calorie deficit either by reducing your calories, increasing your output through activity – or a combination of the two through proper nutrition and training.
In short, just doing hundreds of ab exercises is not going to get you a six-pack. Abs are relatively small muscles so working your abs won’t burn as many calories as working other larger muscles in the body.
The most efficient way to create a calorie deficit and lose body fat is to perform big compound movements like squats, deadlifts and pull-ups with heavy weight. This has a large metabolic effect on your body and also requires a huge amount of core strength as you should be bracing your core hard throughout exercise to support the rest of your body. Doing a combination of large compound movements and ab-specific exercises will lead to best results.
As is the case with any muscle building process, if you want to build abs you need to progressively overload them by adding more weight or volume each time you train. Performing bodyweight exercises will only get you so far, you need to be adding resistance or reps over time to get strong, sculpted abs.
Part of the battle in the quest for abs is nutrition, which plays a key role in reducing your body fat percentage. Tracking your calorie intake, eating a high protein diet with lots of vegetables and reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates (sweets, cakes, biscuits) are some of the best ways to create and maintain a calorie deficit.
Stress can be a huge contributor to fat storage around the abdominal area, so taking steps to decrease your stress levels may help your journey to a six-pack. Try taking time out for relaxation, meditation, deep breathing and sleep to help relieve stress, particularly if you are prone to emotional eating.
Looking to build a strong six-pack stomach of your own? These two ab-specific workouts can be included as part of your full-body training regime. These exercises can be performed either as a circuit or in straight sets and can be progressed by gradually adding resistance, reps or time as you get stronger.
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