Most trainers hear the question constantly: “How do I get Abs?” Although not a question, I hear this most: “I want Abs like that!” pointing to mine or some photo of a sculpted athlete in a magazine. My answer is never a single sentence. Most would expect to hear me say, “Crunches!” My answer is usually long and complicated, mostly because I am not really sure that whoever is hearing me really comprehends what I am saying because it typically goes against everything they have learned their entire life.
I don’t think I would have one answer to the question about how to get Abs, but I do find I have to repeat myself often. “Don’t waste your time doing crunches!” Most people have heard me say that. Truth is, I have never been a cruncher and I can’t remember the last time I did a set of more than one crunch- maybe while getting up from the couch (failed) or something like that.
Let me start by saying that your “six-pack look” has very little to do with how much you train your abs! Huh? That’s right; a visual “six pack” comes from having a low body fat percentage. I know… you hear: “Eat well, and be lean…” Sounds easy, right? Sure; and that’s usually the end of the discussion… but that’s the truth. If you don’t have the look you want yet, you should work on it. Start by eating right.
Once you get your diet under control, here is the workout secret — this is how you will shrink your body fat % and start seeing your abs all at the same time: Start incorporating full body movements into your workout. This will not only assist with your diet in getting you lean- but also will start working your abs – the ones you can’t see yet. So as far as exercise goes- the first way to start seeing some abs is to train your entire body, not just your abs.
It’s nearly impossible to get a “six-pack” while only training your abs. This is why I create full body exercise programs, and I use the term “core” as part of the title. An effective program has to incorporate what I call compound movements, which are those that work several muscles at once using the core for stabilization. For example, I use and teach planks; all kinds of them. But have you ever noticed a plank makes your whole body shake? That is because it is working most of your muscles and stimulating many different systems in your body – all at once. That’s what is meant by a full body movement.
I think the next biggest misconception holding you back is this: Do not concentrate on training your abdominal muscles every day. Although the muscles in your core have a higher percentage of red (slow twitch) muscle fibers – meaning you can train them more often than many areas of your body – they still respond best by having high-intensity training days followed by rest days. What muscle doesn’t need rest to respond? If you are a 16 year old boy, you may be able to grow without rest, but most of us here are not 16 and our bodies respond differently. There is no good reason to do abdominal work more than 3 or 4 times per week.
With that said, I will take questions from anyone interested in knowing more about “how to get Abs”, and although I may never really answer them all, I’ll try. If you watch what I do in my videos and note the exercises that incorporate the entire body, you can see for yourself what whole body workout is all about and how it’s done. I not only teach this, I do this. I think my Abs and core are looking pretty good these days, and I hope you get yours moving in the right direction very soon. It can be fun, and it’s certainly rewarding when you can actually SEE the results!
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