Tips for developing “Six Pack Abs”
By Lee Hayward
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Proper eating is a must if you want to get lean abdominals, there is no way around it. I am sure that you know the basics of proper eating. For example, you should eat approx. 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. For protein eat foods such as lean meats, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, protein drinks, protein bars, etc. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables. Eat starchy carbohydrates such as brown rice, potatoes, yams, oatmeal, high fibre cereals, etc. Limit your fat intake and avoid eating “junk-foods”. Eat a small meal or snack every few hours. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. To satisfy your sweet tooth you can eat fresh fruits in moderation. Protein drinks and protein bars can help satisfy your cravings for sweets.
If you have excess bodyfat on your midsection, you will not see your abs no matter how developed they are. Doing hundreds of crunches / sit ups does not burn fat from your stomach. Cardiovascular exercise is the only exercise that will burn off any substantial amount of bodyfat. Weight training builds muscle and cardio burns fat. You should do cardio for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week and more if you are trying to lose bodyfat. I personally work up to doing two 30 minute cardio sessions per day when I am getting ready for a bodybuilding contest.
Train your abs 2-3 times per week
Some people believe that the fast way to six pack abs is to train the abs every day. This will not speed up the process because the muscles need time to recuperate and grow. Training causes damage to the muscles, and the muscles respond by getting bigger and stronger. Daily ab workouts will not allow enough time for the abdominals to rest and grow. However, the abdominals do recuperate faster than most other muscle groups. So you can train them up to 3 times per week (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)
Train your abs with resistance exercises
To get the best results you should train your abs with resistance exercises. No one trains their chest with 50+ rep sets of bench presses with an empty bar, so why do so many people train their abs with 50+ rep sets of crunches.
A good number to aim for with abdominal exercises is 10-15 reps per set.
Some good resistance exercises for the abs are:
Incline bench sit ups:
When you are able to perform more then 15 reps per set with good form you can hold a weight plate to the chest when doing this exercise to add resistance.
To make this exercise easier keep your knees bent throughout the movement. To make it harder keep your legs straight. As you get more advanced you can also add ankle weights or hold a dumbbell between your feet to increase the resistance.
When you are able to perform 15+ reps with good form simply select more weight on the weight stack to increase the resistance.
You can also make abdominal exercises harder by pausing in the contracted position and by performing the reps in a slow and controlled motion.
Train ALL areas of the waist line
When most people think of training their waist line they focus on crunches. But in order to have complete development you need to train the upper abs, lower abs, obliques, and lower back. Not only does a well developed waist line look good, but it will help to strengthen the entire body. Your mid section stabilizes your body during your workouts or any physical activity.
A good exercise for the lower back is the Hyper Extension:
To add resistance to this exercise simply hold a weight plate to your chest.
A good exercise for the obliques is the side bend:
To increase the resistance in this exercise simply work up to using heavier dumbbells.
Suck in your gut
The Transverse Abdominus (TVA) muscles are used to keep the stomach pulled in, making the midsection appear smaller. We all know of people who are lean, but they have a pot belly that sticks out quite a bit. This is because they have weak TVA muscles.
Training the TVA is very easy. Simply blow all of your air out and suck your stomach in and hold it for 15-30 seconds. You can do this throughout the day by simply sucking your stomach in. That may seem rather simple, but it works for creating a slimmer waist line.
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