There are a number of key requirements to fulfil in the quest for that elusive ripped and muscular body, obviously a strict diet and a great workout plan are a must because without losing that excess fat from your body you will never get to see the ripped abs hidden underneath.
First things first however, without at least a basic understanding of the physiology and composition of this particular muscle group then your goal of well defined abs will remain a distant dream.
There are six groups of abdominal muscles, hence the term six pack, and they make up the core abdominal muscles. Your abs begin just under the rib cage and make their way all the way down to the pelvic area. On each side of your torso are two pairs of abdominals known as the external and internal obliques. These muscles are there primarily to support the movement of your spine from both side to side and the bending of your spine backward and forward. Your obliques are absolutely fundamental in your quest for ripped abs as they play a key role in developing core strength, but they will not form part of your visible six pack as they are impossible to see.
Now one extremely important fact to remember when working to develop ripped abs is that although the abs are made up of distinct muscle groups the abdominal area is in fact one muscle known as the Rectus Abdominus. Therefore it is physiologically impossible to isolate just one area of your abs completely, because by definition when you work your abs you will be working them all. You will sometimes hear people saying “I need to work my lower abs” or something similar. This is simply not possible without working the rest of the muscle group at the same time.
The third and final group of abdominal muscles are known as the transverse abdominus muscles. Again just like the internal and external obliques they are not visible from the outside, however, they play just as important a
role in your plan for ripped abs as the other ab muscles. They are mainly responsible for ensuring correct body posture. The best analogy would be to think of your transverse abdominus as your very own natural weight belt.
I believe it is vitally important to stress at this point just how vital strong abs can be. Ripped abs are a wonderful goal to work towards, not just from an aesthetic aspect but also because strong and well defined abs will go a very long way towards reducing problems in later life. Weak abdominal muscles will contribute towards problems such as lower back pain or indeed any other postural issues. Strong abs will go a long way towards reducing the risk of injury when you train or indeed just help to build your core strength when performing everyday activities.
It is also important to remember that the abs are muscles just like any other and as such they will require a period of recovery after a workout. The good news however, is that given their unique fibre composition they actually require slightly less recovery time than most of the other major muscle groups.
There are so many factors that will dictate our natural physique, age and gender are just two, but it is our genes that determine where you will store body fat. Some people will store fat around their thighs and butts, this tends to be women, and guys have more of a tendency to store their body fat around their stomachs, especially as they approach middle age. It is vital then that you develop an understanding of how your body stores, uses and burns fat.
The body uses fat and carbohydrates as an energy source. The level of intensity in your exercising will determine how much fat or carbs you will burn. The commonly held theory is that the lower the intensity of the exercise the more fat you will burn. In fact you will even see it in black and white on the cardio machines at the gym. The “Fat Burning Zone” means that the lower the intensity and the longer you work, normally at around 50-60% of your maximum heart rate then the more fat you will burn for energy. The higher your intensity then the more likely you are to use up carbs as fuel.
The thing to remember however, is that it doesn’t matter at all how much fat you are burning if you are not burning off enough calories. Fat loss can only happen if you are burning more energy than you are taking in and exercising at a higher intensity is the best way to achieve this. Remember, energy in versus energy out equals fat loss. It’s actually quite a simple equation.
Now don’t think that there is not a place for a low intensity cardio workout, there is. It would be a good idea however, to mix up your cardio workouts with some real high intensity training. Perhaps 20 minutes at around 80-85% of your maximum heart rate on any cardio machine. Interval training, perhaps sprinting at full speed for a minute then walking for a minute etc, will give you all the intensity you will ever need to burn calories as well as fat.
Also try to fit in the odd moderately intense cardio session as well, 75% of your maximum heart rate should do the trick. A muscular physique with ripped abs are there for you, as long as you can combine your cardio with a great strength training programme. Lifting heavy weights is a fantastic way to burn fat as it actively increases your metabolic rate and of course preserves your muscle mass. The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn in preserving it in your everyday activities, so even just walking around will help to burn fat.
Now of course there are countless exercises you can do that will go some way towards getting you ripped. However, you will end up hugely disappointed if you think that all you have to do is whack out a couple of hundred crunches and a set of razor sharp abs will suddenly appear. Bottom line is that you will have to condition your abs by performing some core exercises first
These core exercises are designed to eliminate the fat from your stomach. Now this is non negotiable if you are truly serious about developing ripped 6 pack abs as you can do all the crunches in the world but if you don’t burn off enough fat then you will simply never get to see them.
My suggestion would be to start off with some simple leg raises, knee raises, crunches, reverse crunches and other basic exercises. We will outline the details of these exercises below. Set yourself a schedule and stick to it religiously. Again I would recommend working out 3-4 times per week combining your basic exercises with some decent fat burning cardio work.
Now this is important. It has been proven that if you train once a week you will see roughly 10% improvement in your fitness level. Twice a week leads to a 20% increase. that is all well and good, however, check this statistic out: training 3 times per week leads to an overall increase of 80% in fitness. That is mind blowing, that third workout of the week is the one that makes all the difference so make sure you get yourself to the gym!
Familiarise yourself with the correct and safe supplements. These will provide you with all the essential vitamins and nutrients to keep your body growing in the right way. It is massively important to avoid the use of artificial, and in most cases, downright illegal stimulants. It is not for me to judge but if you pump your body full of steroids then you are effectively cheating and you will ultimately pay the price!
Building a Strong Core
The “core” is the where your center of gravity is located. This area includes your trunk and pelvic region. The body’s core is responsible for maintaining stability and balance when engaging in physical activities such as walking, standing, swimming, running or bike riding. In addition to improving your balance and stability, core exercises are a fundamental aspect of building a well defined set of ripped 6 pack abs because they target all areas of your abdomen. Engaging your obliques, rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis at the same time allows you train these muscles to work in harmony. This allows you to optimize ab definition as you are working out. In addition, a stronger core improves your posture and decreases your chances of becoming injured while working out.
Core training is easy and effective. As mentioned earlier, core exercises work your obliques, rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, hips, pelvis and lower back to work as a team. This allows for greater definition and results than traditional isolation training. When doing core exercises, focus on the quality instead of quantity. Beginners and even veterans should focus on proper form and technique instead of the number of repetitions. The better form you have, the better results you will get.
In addition to form and technique, you should learn proper breathing techniques. When doing core exercises it is important to know how to contract your muscles, hold the position and breathe freely throughout the whole process. Most fitness experts and gurus recommend diaphragmatic breathing. This simply means to inhale as your stomach extends outward and exhale as it contracts inward towards your spine.
There are a variety of core exercises you can do to help build the abs you always dreamed of having. Crunches, pushups, leg and arm lifts, planks and double hip rotations can help sculpt your abs. You do not need specialized equipment or a gym membership to do core exercises. They can be done in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Core exercises should be done two to three times a week with sufficient periods of rest if your abdominal muscles feel fatigued from your workout.
Developing your core strength and stability is an absolute essential when it comes to building and maintaining lean ripped 6 pack abs so do everything you can to incorporate these exercises into your training regime.
1. Have Realistic Expectations.
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is capable of having rock hard abs. Age, gender and genetics are all factors in determining where and how your body stores fat. If you cannot reduce your body fat levels effectively, then you may not be able to get washboard abs. Do not worry though. Even some skinny people cannot obtain ripped abs.
2. Improve Your Posture.
As a beginner there is something you can do right now that will have little to do with your actual exercise routine but can have dramatic effects. This magic formula is to quite simply stand up straight. Slouching can contribute to a flabby stomach. By improving your posture, you begin to look thinner without even exercising.
3. Exercise Your Whole Body.
Contrary to popular belief, spot toning your abs will not create ripped abs. Instead, engage your whole body and your core by doing cardio, weight training, core and abdominal exercises that engage your obliques, transversus abdominis and rectus abdominis.
4. Start Slow.
Building great abs is going to take time. There is no need to rush the process. When you are beginning an exercise regimen, start off slowly to avoid injury. In addition, you should take the time to learn proper technique and form.
5. No Equipment is Necessary.
You do not need ab machines, exercise balls, fitness DVDs or books to help you build chiseled abs. Although they are excellent tools to help add variety to your routine, you do not have to use them. Simply moving will help build strong abdominals. No matter how frustrated or annoyed you may feel when building ripped abs, do not give up. It takes time to develop muscle in all areas of your body. The important thing is you do not give up.
Ab Exercises And Workouts:
This stomach exercise requires lying on your back on a flat surface, such as the floor or a bench. Use a mat or towel to cushion your spine. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Raise your pelvis (and only your pelvis) off the floor, hold momentarily, and then lower it back down. Repeat for an entire set. Maintaining a controlled movement is crucial to this exercise. This will allow you to use your abdominal muscles, rather than your body’s momentum, to do the work on the exercise. Also, be sure to keep your upper body on the floor throughout. This is a really good exercise when working on how to build abs.
This stomach exercise also requires lying on the floor and is great when trying to work out how best to build abs. Position your hands under your butt, keeping your back pressed against the floor. Slowly raise one leg to a height of about ten inches, then, slowly lower it back to the floor. As your lower one leg, raise the other. Repeat this motion for an entire set. Maintaining control throughout is important, not allowing momentum to get the better of you. Your upper body should remain on the floor through the entire move.
This is a fantastic exercise for developing lean ripped abs. For this exercise, you will need to lie on a flat surface, such as the floor. You will be lying in your stomach, so you may want to use a mat or towel to cushion your knees. Prop your upper body up on your forearms so that your elbows make a ninety degree angle and are positioned directly below your shoulders. Now lift your body up off the floor so that your lower body is supported by your toes, while your upper body remains supported by your elbows. Your body should basically be a straight line, with no arch or drooping through your back. Hold this position for twenty seconds, as an absolute minimum then lower your body back to the floor. One repetition is sufficient, and as you progress build the time up to a minute or two.
This exercise is basically a variation on the previous one, and begins in the same starting position. Once you are positioned properly, roll to your right side, keeping your torso supported with your right forearm. You will have to raise your hips and roll your feet so that your left foot is on top of your right. As in the plank, your body will be a straight line, but this time you will be on one side. Place your left hand on your hip and hold the plank position for five seconds. Return to start and repeat on the left side. Another basic exercise but great for working towards ripped abs.
Now before you rush off to find a ball read on. because in this stomach exercise, you are the ball! First, sit on the floor and hug your knees to your chest. Roll back slightly so you are balancing on your tail bone and your feet are off the floor, toes pointing downward. Pull your abdominals inward while rolling onto your lower back and the upper part of your butt. Contract your abdominals and pull yourself back to the starting position. Loosening your arms up may help if you find this exercise too difficult at first. Such a basic exercise but very useful when it comes to building lean ripped abs.
As the name implies, you will need to stand up for this stomach exercise. Position your feet a few inches apart. Put your arms out to the sides and bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle so your fingertips are pointing to the ceiling and your palm are facing forward. Contract your abs and lift your right knee toward your left elbow, while at the same time bringing your left elbow down toward your right knee. Touch the two joints together, pause, then return to start. Switch sides and repeat for an entire set.
This exercise sounds really simple but can actually be deceptively difficult. Essentially, it involves trying to pull the belly button in towards the spine. This can be tricky, as it involves using muscles that you may not be used to activating.
To start, either lie or on your stomach or kneel. You might want to try both ways and see which works best for you. Relax your body as much as possible and then try to move your belly button toward your spine, using just your lower abs. Hold for at least ten seconds, longer if you possibly can. The goal is to hold this position until you either cannot feel it anymore, or you feel your other stomach muscles taking over. When you start to feel this, slowly let the contraction out. Its an unbelievably simple exercise but can be effective when it comes to developing lean ripped abs.
Alternating Toe Touch
You will need to lay flat on the floor for this exercise, using a mat or towel to cushion the spine. Put your feet up in the air. Extend your right arm and use your lower abs to lift your shoulders off the floor. Touch your left toes with your right hand, lower yourself back down, change hands and repeat. Keep your knees straight throughout and maintain a space between your chest and chin .
While you are still on the floor, try this stomach exercise. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor and position your hands behind your head. Keep your elbows back so you cannot see them– do not put them alongside your head. Use your lower abs to lift your shoulders off the floor. Hold for ten seconds. Increase the length of time as you develop. Be sure to lift with your abdominals and not with your arms or neck. Really focus on your form and technique and watch those ripped abs go.
Straight Leg Lift
Another traditional “stomach exercise,” this move actually works the lower back more than any muscles in the midsection. This is also another way to put strain on your back, possibly leading to injury. Avoid this exercise if you can, it does nothing to contribute to ripped abs.
Lower Back Flatten
This stomach exercise is a good natural progression from the sit-up hold, as it starts from the same basic position: lying down, knees bent, feet flat. You may have noticed when you did the previous exercise that there is a natural space between your lower back and the floor, created by the curve of your spine. In this exercise, you want to use your lower abs to push your lower back toward the floor and eliminate this space. Try to focus on pushing with only your lower abdominals and not your legs. Your pelvis will rotate slightly, which is fine as long as the lower abdominals are doing the work. Once you have got your back flat to the floor, hold the contraction for ten seconds. Again, you should continue to build on this time as your stomach muscles gain strength and endurance.
Almost everybody knows how to do these. This exercise targets the upper abdomen. It’s one of the most basic but hugely effective exercises. To perform crunches, you need to lie on a flat surface with your hands in your chest or behind you head. Squeeze your abs, then hold for 2-3 seconds, then return to your original position. Proper crunches are in a slow, continuous and controlled fashion. Concentrate on your abdominal muscles to pull your upper body up. Avoid using the neck or shoulders to provide momentum. This incorrect and potentially dangerous practice can cause stress and strains.
They are pretty much the same as regular crunches, except that the main focus is on the oblique muscles. It uses the same technique, except that you are crunching to either side of your abs. This has the effect of working the sides of your abs.
Lying Leg Lifts
This exercise targets the lower abs. With this exercise, you are in the same position as with the crunches, you lie flat on your back and lift your legs between 6-12 inches of the ground. This exercises the muscles in the lower part of the abdomen. When performing leg lifts, place your hands under your buttocks as this helps to add leverage and helps you get your feet elevated.
If you want to add more weight into the exercise, attach padded weights into your ankles. These weights can be purchased at the local sports store. If you do not want to buy weights, you can simply fill up some old socks with sand or clean cat litter to add an extra pound or two. This is a great little exercise when it comes to developing ripped 6 pack abs.
It’s almost like lying leg lifts except your chest is at a 45 degree angle when starting out. Sit at the edge of a bench and reach back just enough to support yourself from completely lying on the bench. Once you’ve completely stabilized yourself, bring your knees toward your chest. You will be creating a V motion, hence the name. The base of the V would be your abs.
With this exercise you are simulating the movements made by a cat when they stretch their back. This simple action is a quick and easy exercise. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees, with muscles nice and relaxed and looking straight ahead. Next, tighten your abdominal muscles while thrusting your back upward as far as you can. Maintain the position for 5-10 seconds before lowering your back.
Standing Side Bends
Standing side bends encourage the loss of fat around the oblique muscles. To start, stand up straight with the stomach sucked in, legs straight and hands by the sides. Simply lean the body from left to right being careful not to rotate the hips and while keeping your body facing forward.
As with all things, there is a right way to go about working for a flatter midsection, and several wrong ways. Working out the wrong way can lead to no physical improvement or worse, serious injury. When doing stomach exercises and working towards a goal of lean ripped abs, be sure to consult a professional, warm up properly, and remember the following tips.
This exercise is best for targeting your obliques and rectus abdominis. Position yourself by laying flat with your lower back pressed against the floor and your hands behind your head. Position your knees at a 45 degree angle and begin to pedal slowly as if you riding a bicycling. As you pedal, touch your left elbow to your right knee and then your right elbow to your left knee. Try your best to keep your breathing even.
Vertical Leg Crunch
This exercise is also effective in targeting your obliques and rectus abdominis. Position yourself on the floor with your legs extended towards the ceiling and your ankles crossed. Your hands can be placed either on the floor or on your head for support. Keep your legs still as you contract your abs and lift your shoulder blades off the floor.
Reverse Leg Crunch
This exercise is also very effective when it comes to targeting the rectus abdominis. Position yourself by lying flat on the floor with your legs extended upward at a 90 degree angle. Slowly raise your hips off the floor towards the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.
Ball crunches are excellent for targeting the rectus abdominis. To do a ball crunch, lie on the ball, positioning it in the middle of your back. After you have positioned yourself on the ball, cross your arms or place your hands behind you head. Contract your abdominal muscles and slowly lift your torso off the ball. Exhale. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower yourself back onto the ball. Inhale.
Keep Your Knees Up
When doing crunches, you want your knees to bent and your feet flat on the floor so that your knees are centered and pointed upward. Keep them centered and up, not to one side. If you drop your knees to one side, you are unnecessarily compressing your vertebrae, which can lead to a painful back injury.
Avoid Traditional Sit-Ups
Traditional sit-ups actually do very little for the abdominal muscles. Even when done properly, the strain is mostly on the hip muscles. There is also the tendency to pull the torso up with the arms, which of course is not the point of the exercise. Further, when sit-ups are done very quickly, as people have a tendency to do, it is the momentum that tends to force the torso up and down, rather than any muscle groups. The crunch is a good alternative to old school sit-ups, and will benefit you in your quest for ripped abs.
Increase The Resistance
All stomach exercises need resistance to be effective, whether it comes from a resistance band, an exercise ball, or just gravity. Exercises that do not use any resistance, such as standing broomstick twists, will not be even remotely beneficial to your midsection. The good news is that this particular exercise will not do any harm and is actually a good warm up for your trunk. Just do not expect it to flatten out your stomach and to develop lean ripped abs.
Don’t Do Too Many Reps
There is never a need to do more fifty reps of a stomach exercise. If fifty reps is not giving you results, then change the exercise. As you build strength, if you feel the need for a bigger challenge, try a more difficult exercise as an alternative to adding reps.
Believe it or not, how you sleep has an effect on your stomach exercise routine. If you sleep in a position that cause back pain, it will make it much more difficult to work on your midsection in the morning. Sleeping mostly on your stomach is one of the best ways to cause back pain, as it forces your back to arch, often resulting in annoying back pain. The best way to avoid this is to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees. This will help keep your vertebrae in line, prevent back pain and allowing you work out pain free in the morning.
Proper exercise technique is important. These are just a few tips to help you avoid wasting time and potential injury. Be sure to research thoroughly before beginning a new exercise, and always consult your physician before beginning any physical fitness routine. Lean ripped abs can and will be yours so keep training hard.
Although you probably want to learn how to build abs fast, it is absolutely vital that you exercise and diet safely. There are numerous unsafe ways to build a 6 pack and sure, they will probably yield quicker results. However, the possibility of injury or illness far outweighs the benefits. If the damage is severe, you may have to stop exercising or dieting. This will halt or even set back your progress, causing you to start over at a lower level. This is something you do not want to experience. To avoid this from happening, simply exercise and diet safely. This is the right and proper way to build abs safely.
Avoid Crash Dieting.
In order for your ripped 6 pack to show, you need to remove the layers of fat covering it. Do not starve yourself and do not crash diet to lose the weight. These practices can lower your immune system and metabolism and may actually cause you to gain weight in the end.
Dehydration can cause muscles cramps, fatigue and injury. To avoid this, drink plenty of water or vitamin or mineral enhanced beverages such as Gatorade or Vitamin Water. For years, doctors, nutritional experts and fitness trainers have recommended that drinking eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day to maintain good health. Drinking more will help burn extra fat by increasing lipolysis and mobilizing stored fat. It is recommended that those trying to develop ripped 6 pack abs should drink an ounce of water per pound of bodyweight for optimal fat burning.
Know Your Limits.
This rule applies to veterans and beginners alike. If you know you can only do one hundred abdominal crunches, do not let others bully you into doing two hundred more. Let your body grow and adapt to the exercise before pushing past your limit. If you do not, you may face severe injuries.
Do Not Ignore Pain.
Although many people continue to exercise when they are pain, it is an unsafe practice. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong. To prevent injury, stop working out immediately and rest until the pain disappears.
Many exercise injuries result from overuse. To avoid this, rest when you feel pain and input a day or two for rest in your exercise routine.
Use Proper Technique.
This is an absolute fundamental of bodybuilding, and you ignore this at your peril. You need to learn the proper technique and form for each exercise you do. Improper form leads to sloppy movements, and sloppy movements can cause injury. Injury leads to an inability to perform and ultimately leads to you failing in your goal.
Switch It Up.
Although performing the same exercises repeatedly will improve technique, it can lead to overuse and can cause injury. To avoid this, do a variety of different exercises and cross train.
It is vital that you exercise safely in order to avoid injury. If you seriously hurt yourself while exercising, you will erase the weeks or months of progress you have made. These tips are the fundamental building blocks of any exercise plan and that’s how to build abs safely.
It takes more than a vigorous exercise program and thousands of crunches to create ripped 6 pack abs. Although exercising is important, it will mean nothing if you do not eat a healthy and balanced diet. Here we will provide you with a variety of nutritional tips you will need to obtain the lean ripped 6 pack abs you always dreamed of.
1. Cut Unhealthy Fats.
Although it may be tempting you erase all fats from your diet, it is only necessary to remove the unhealthy ones such as trans and saturated fats. Mono-saturated fats such as olive oil, fish and nuts provide a variety of health benefits such as lowering cholesterol. In addition, statistics show that those who keep some fats in their diets have been helped to stay on track longer.
2. Avoid Large Evening Meals.
Eating a large evening meal may contribute to weight gain because people tend to not burn as many calories at night. Instead, eat bigger meals earlier in the day and smaller ones in the evening for optimal calorie burning.
3. Spread Out Meals.
Instead of three large meals, have four to five smaller meals throughout the day to slim down. This also allows you to maintain healthy insulin and amino acid levels, which is good for your overall health.
4. Replace Starches with Vegetables.
Although starches are necessary, replace some of your portions of processed starches with vegetables, which contain fewer calories.
5. Increase Protein Intake.
6. Avoid Carbonated Drinks.
Carbonated beverages such as soda contain lots of sugar and empty calories. In addition, they can cause bloating and water retention.
Proper nutrition is necessary if you want a flat stomach. Contrary to popular belief, ripped 6 pack abs do not start to develop in the gym. They begin to develop in the kitchen. If your abdominal area contains a lot of fat, your chiseled abs will not show. Because of this, your first priority should be to reduce your body fat. These nutritional tips should definitely help you on your way to ripped 6 pack abs.
Abs Myth Alert!
It seems like not all the things that we hear from “experts” or have overheard in the public areas are true. Maybe the reason we are not getting those perfect ripped 6 pack abs is because we are not doing it right. Then that would be a terrible waste of our time. So we need to know the myths and what is actual fact in order to get the ripped 6 pack abs we want.
Six Pack Myth 1: Abdominal muscle is different from regular muscle.
Muscle is muscle. Abdominal muscle is the pretty much the same as our biceps and lats. The only difference is the location. Abdominal muscles are not resting on a bony surface, instead it is against the stomach and intestines. There is no significant difference whatsoever.
Six Pack Myth 2: Strong abs means a strong back.
The key to a strong back are balanced abdominal muscles. You can work your abs, but no more and no less than you work your other muscles throughout the day. There seems to be a heavy emphasis on working your abs, this heavy emphasis is often misunderstood to be the main contributor to good health. These crappy infomercials give the false belief that by working out just one part of your body, and developing lean ripped 6 pack abs you will miraculously transform your overall health.
Working out and exercise should not just be concerned with one part of the body. What you need is an overall body fitness plan to be healthy.
Six Pack Myth 3: You have to train your abs at least every other day.
They say that you need to train your abs hard twice a week. That gives them the proper time for recovery. The key is to choose exercises that fatigue your abs, so that they actually need recovery time. Include exercises that use the abs functionality. Since abs are used to stabilize the body, holding a push up position without letting your body sag will really work and develop your abdominal muscles.
Six Pack Myth 4: To gain results, high repetitions are required.
The key to abdominal gains is to overload. If you aim for abdominal endurance, the more crunches you do each time, the more you can do later on. It does nothing to actually strengthen the abs very much, however, it will eat up most of your time. The key is not the number of reps it’s the intensity of the reps you do.
Building ripped six pack abs is a long term process, there really are no shortcuts and you have no choice but to work hard, eat well and train with the utmost intensity. It can be done and as long as you commit, you will reach your goal. Good luck!