Let’s face the bitter truth! You can’t claim to have a well-sculpted and well-shaped body, if your belly is flabby and protruding out. Ripped and hard abdominal muscles are the cornerstone of a fit and trim physique. Getting your abdominals in such fine-tuned shape requires persistence, hard work, and an understanding of how abs muscles really function. In this article, I will jot down top 20 abdominal training tips to help you acquire that fascinating “washer board abs” look!
1. Most people who begin abdominal training are under the false impression that doing “X” number of sit-ups a day would endow them with solid and visible abs. In order to make your abs visible, you’d have to lose fat from all over your body. Spot reduction is a myth; there is no way to pinpoint a particular spot in the body and start losing fat from there. Incorporating cardiovascular training in your regular workout regime would help you shed fat, bringing you closer to attaining well defined abs.
2. The main function of abdominal muscles is to facilitate movement and provide support to the trunk. Abdominal muscles provide postural support also. In order to successfully train abdominal muscles, it is imperative to train them out using natural movements. This will isolate the muscles from the rest of the body and allow you to use them till exhaustion. This is one of the fundamental principles of abdominal workouts.
3. Traditional abdominal workouts, like sit-ups and crunches, though time-honored, actually do very little to isolate and exert abs specifically. Recently discovered exercises, like the plank and its various variations, train abs more efficiently by isolating their movement. The practice of exercises working on similar principles as the bicycle, should be at the core of an abdominal training program.
4. Abdominal muscles, due to their design, are more resistant to fatigue and recover quickly after a strenuous workout. Working abs on alternate days is advisable, as they respond best to continuous movement and training.
5. This one’s a no-brainer! Always warm up properly before doing any kind of workout. Do some low intensity cardio workout to stretch your muscles and get the thumper pumping for at least 5 minutes. This would prepare your body for a strenuous workout, minimizing the chances of injury.
This is the phase when you are actually preparing to “get down” to the actual training after having clearly understood all the pre-training concepts.
6. Basic Plank: this is a very basic workout and can be done by almost anyone. Assume pushup position, but instead of supporting your weight on your hands, use your forearms and elbows. From head right down to your feet, your body should be in a straight line. Now suck in your belly, as if you are trying to squeeze into pants one size smaller for you. Maintain the position for 20 to 25 seconds and repeat for 3 sets.
7. Bicycle: lie down on your back with your legs stretched. Place your hands behind your head to support it up from the floor lightly (remember not to forcefully lift your head using your hands as it may cause spinal injury). Bring your right knee towards your left elbow, while the other leg remains stretched. The trick here is to mimic bicycle peddling motion, as the name of the workout suggests. Do the same with your left knee and right elbow; remember to lift the shoulder blades from the ground without pulling on the neck. Repeat the peddling motion for 3 sets of 20 reps.
8. Remember the old proverb “Abs are made in the kitchen and not in gym”. This simply means to get those hard abs, you’d have to maintain a diet consisting of low calorie and less salt. Avoid deep fried, greasy fast foods as they put a layer of fats over your abs, obscuring them from view.