We all have different goals and ideas surrounding our weight. And for those seeking a flat stomach or even a six-pack, it’s a long road and a lot of work to make them reality. That doesn’t mean the extra effort isn’t worth it, though. Here, we explain everything you need to know to reach your goals.
How can you build your abs?
To develop your ab muscles, there are two things you need to do: The first is that you need to focus on working out your entire body, not just the area you want to improve. When you lose weight, you never know exactly where it’s going to come from because our bodies don’t work like that. Even if you do a million sit-ups, you may still end up losing fat from your rear before your tummy, and that’s just because of the way your body is built. By working out your full body, you’ll lose fat everywhere, not just where you think you want to. From there, adding targeted ab workouts to your routine can help you reach your goals even faster.
The second secret to achieving your abdominal goals is what you eat. A healthy diet will keep your body running properly so you’re able to get the most out of your workouts every time. Use our free body check to find out just how hard you need to work. It allows you to calculate your BMI, and comes with personalized nutrition advice from experts as well as recommendations to excellent products.
It’s important to balance training your core and abdominal muscles with training your back muscles to maintain a healthy posture.
Ab Workouts: How to do them correctly
There are many different workouts for abs. However, it’s important to build a training program that works for you — preferably something you’re at least a little familiar with so you’re not totally in the dark when you get started. That way you’ll be able to tell when you’ve made progress and make adjustments as necessary, whether that’s adding more weight or doing more repetitions. After you’ve been doing the same program for a few weeks, we always advise updating it to suit your current needs, so that your muscles continue to develop rather than stagnate.
Since the abdominal muscles are part of the core of our bodies, they keep our upper bodies stabilized all the time — when you’re standing, walking, or even sitting. That’s why it’s so important to have this group of muscles well trained.
Some of the best abs exercises include crunches, sit-ups, leg lifts, bicycle crunches, Russian twists, and plank position. These will work the central and oblique ab muscles and ensure good muscle definition.
But to really ensure you see the results you’re looking for, it’s important to combine these targeted ab exercises with regular cardio exercise and strength training like HIIT. It’s these whole body exercises that will help you lose fat overall and enable a targeted sixpack workout to get you the core of your dreams.
How to eat to guarantee weight loss
In addition to a training program with the right ab workout, eating well plays a huge role in the progress you make. If you’re training regularly, eating a balanced diet will ensure your muscles have all the nutrients they need to recover properly so that you’re able to start sweating again in no time.
Of course, you need to lose fat to develop abs, and the best way to do that is to eat fewer calories a day than you expend. In general, you should only eat between 300 to 500 fewer calories a day to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need and that you don’t accidentally make yourself over-hungry.
Use our free Body Check to figure out exactly how many calories you need to cut a day to meet your goals when you want to.
Whey Protein – Perfect for after your six-pack workout
When you work out, you ask everything from your body. So it’s only fair to give it back the very best. Our Whey Protein contains the perfect whey formula for your ab muscles. Super creamy, whether you mix it with water or milk. It’s like nothing else you’ve tasted.
As with many factors that affect the human body, it’s difficult to know exactly how much weight you need to lose to develop abs. Women have, by nature, more body fat than men, and everyone loses and gains weight differently, so it can be really hard to know how your body will react. If your goal is a flat tummy, your best bet is to maintain a body fat ratio of between 16 to 20 percent for women and 10 to 14 percent for men.
Once again, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone. Our bodies are all different and some people store fat in different areas than others. For example, if you tend to store more fat in your hips, you may have an easier time developing abs than someone who stores fat in their belly. But obviously you don’t have a choice where it’s stored, so it’s not up to you where it goes.
There’s also a difference between the kinds of fatwe carry on our bodies. Subcutaneous fat is located between the skin and the muscles and is usually the reason you might not be able to see your ab muscles. Visceral fat is found between the muscles and organs and is much more problematic because it can lead to health issues.
Abdominal muscles in all their forms
If you’ve already managed to develop a six-pack, you may be aiming to get it even bigger (maybe an 8-pack or 10-pack!). Unfortunately we don’t all have the same biological capacities, and some people literally can’t develop as many ab muscles as others.
Not to mention, the way each “unit” of your six-pack muscles develops can even vary from person to person. Sometimes they can be perfectly symmetrical and other times not — bottom line, there’s no one right way to look!
The most effective exercises for abs
There are lots of exercises to help you tighten your core! You can totally vary or increase the degree of difficulty or work with extra weights. Choose an abs workout from one of these:
1. HIGH KNEES
Abdominal, pelvic, and leg muscles
Keep your back and upper body straight.
Slow down the pace.
Pick up the pace.
Abdominal, pelvic, and lower back muscles
Keep your back straight.
Hold your feet with a weight or a dumbbell to keep them in place.
Reduce the distance between your feet and your rear.
Rest on your forearms, legs straight, back straight. Tighten your abdominal muscles and tuck your pelvis slightly inwards to avoid arching your lower back.
Keep your knees bent and rest on your knees instead of your toes.
Stretch your right arm forward, then switch and repeat for your left arm.
4. LEG RAISES
Abdominal, pelvic, and lower back muscles
During the exercise, there must be no space between your back and the mat. You shouldn’t be able to put your hands under your glutes. This helps you avoid arching your back. Make sure you slowly lower your legs, don’t let them fall to the floor.
Keep your knees bent.
Once your legs are in the air, push your hips up at the top of the movement.
5. RUSSIAN TWISTS WITH OR WITHOUT WEIGHTS
Central abdominal and oblique muscles
Your legs should move as little as possible, your upper body should stay straight, and your hips should stay in line.
Perform the exercise without weights.
Perform the exercise with a partner and a medicine ball. Catch it while you are in the center of your motion, hold it while you twist, then throw it back again after the twist.
Your head shouldn’t touch the ground while you do this exercise. Keep your hands behind your head, but not on the nape of your neck. Keep your chin pointed slightly up in the air to keep your spine aligned.
Hold your feet down with a weight or dumbbell to keep them in place.
Reduce the distance between your feet and your rear.
How to work out your abs without equipment
Our free workout page includes several core workouts. You can choose a workout tailored perfectly to your own level of fitness. We’ve carefully selected the exercises in each workout so that everyone, from beginners to experts, can work up a sweat.
Crash diets may melt away the pounds quickly, but they won’t help you get a six-pack in the long run. The weight you lose on a crash diet is mostly water and muscle, while the pesky fat on top of your core muscles is likely to stay put.
2. DRINKING HIDDEN CALORIES
You’ve started monitoring your calorie intake but aren’t counting drinks? Juices, sodas, and alcohol in particular have more calories than you might think.
3. DOING NOTHING BUT CARDIO
Going jogging because you want to define your six-pack, and it’s still not really showing up? That’s because you have to train your core regularly to get a visible six-pack.
4. EXERCISING ONLY YOUR ABS
Doing nothing but a few sit-ups a day and ending up with a nice washboard stomach is just a pipe dream. Because if you only work on your core muscles, you won’t burn enough calories to lose belly fat. Go for a mixture of full-body HIIT workouts and light cardio instead.
5. NOT TAKING BREAKS
It’s great that you’re motivated, but if you want to build up your muscles, you need to give them a break now and then. Your body needs rest to create new muscle mass and prepare for the next challenge.
Six-pack tips and tricks
If you train your abs regularly, be careful to work on your back muscles as well to maintain a healthy posture. Otherwise, the constant tension in your core may give you a hunched back or kyphosis.
In the same vein, keeping your tummy muscles in shape also helps to correct hyperlordosis, better known as an arched back. As you strengthen muscles on your front, while loosening and stretching those in your back, you may see improvement in the long run.
Abdominal muscles stabilize your core.
Always work on all of them in the same workout.
Make sure to focus on building up your back muscles to ensure a healthy and upright posture.
You won’t get a visible six-pack from sit-ups alone.
For women, a body fat ratio of 16-20% has the best chance of a visible six-pack.
For men, a body fat ratio of 10-14% has the best chance of a visible six-pack.
A strong six-pack can help with back problems.
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