One Main Misunderstanding about ab exercises – What are the best exercises to get abs?
Many people go through years and years of failing to get there six pack abs. One of my main questions asked as a fitness coach is ” Brad, What are the best exercises to get abs. Well as you know If you follow me I have a huge list of ab exercises I could give you. But the biggest mistake people make when they are trying to get there abs to show is they TRAIN THEIR ABS too much. WHAT???? Yea I said it. They focus on doing ab exercises and working the abdominal muscles and they wonder why they never see their abs.
So what is the answer to this problem, What are the best exercises for abs?
Its really quite simple. IN ORDER TO SEE YOUR ABS YOU NEED TO BURN OFF YOUR BELLY FAT. In other words you need to do exercises to get abs to show.
Belly fat is the reason you will do 100 sit ups, 100 crunches, 100 leg raises a day and NEVER see your abs. Yet the last couple weeks I didn’t do one ab exercises and I look like I work my abs every day for hours. So what is the key to burning off that belly fat and getting your six pack abs to show?
Well their are a few things you want to focus on.
- You need to keep doing your abdominal exercises to shape the muscles under the belly fat
- Do high intensity training both with weights and cardio to burn the fat
- Eat a high protein diet trying to keep grains to a minimum
- NEVER mix carbs and fats together in the same meal. Keep them separate. So Protein/carbs or Protein/fats not Protein/carbs/fats
So first of all lets talk a little bit about the best workouts to get abs.
There are 2 different types of exercises to get abs. There are exercises that get the ab muscles to show, and there are exercises to get ab muscles toned.
Lets start out with exercises that tone the abdominals. And I mean actual ab workouts that will shape your abdominal muscles.
Here is a list of my favorite ab exercises starting from beginner and up to advanced: ( these are the exercises to get abs toned)
- Wide Leg Push Through - Lay on your back, hands together push your hands towards the gap in your knees
- Sit up with oblique twist - Do a normal sit up with hands behind head and rotate your elbow to touch opposite knee. Switch ever time
- Plank Position - Get into push up position but instead of resting on your hands rest on your forearms. Keep your back strait and core tight. Hold for 30 seconds and remember to breath
- Mountain Climbers - Get into push up position and then bring your knees to your chest one at a time. I do sets of 30 reps and keep your abs tight while performing this exercise
- Bicycles - lay flat on your back and then lift your shoulders and back off the floor about a foot. You can place your hands on the sides of you for stability and then move your legs as if you were peddling a bike. Do a set of 30 going forwards and the same going backwards.
Now onto the Hanging Ab exercises. These are what REALLY WORK and are my favorite exercises for your abs to show!! They focus on your lower abdominals.
- Hanging Knee Raises - Hang from a pull up bar either holding yourself up with your arms or using ab straps. Lift your knees to your chest and then shoot your legs strait back down to the floor to stop yourself from swinging. Do 3 sets of 20-30
- Leg raises - Now many people don’t get the full potential out of these. If you are a beginner just raise your legs to a 90 degree angle. These do still work but not as much as the Leg raise with hip thrust.
- Leg Raise with Hip Thrust - Lift your legs all the way up above your head thrusting your hips forward and up as if you were trying to kick the ceiling with both legs. On the way down drop your hips first, then drop your legs slowly really using your core to let yourself down.
- Windmills - This is one of the toughest ab workouts you can do and it really works your obliques as well. Start out by pulling yourself up with your arms until your arms are at a 90 degree angle. Rotate your hips forward and your legs up and around like a windmill. Most people have to work their way up to this and you do so by getting a friend to hold their arm out so you can rotate your legs over and around their arm. Each time you try it get them to hold their arm higher and higher until you can rotate your legs over your head. This ab exercise alone will get your abs and your obliques looking jacked as long as your body fat percentage is around 10-12%
So now Lets talk about that annoying belly fat that is covering those great chiseled abs you’ve been working so hard to shape. In order to burn belly fat you have to understand a few things about how your body works.
Most people will run on the treadmills, use the bicycles or elliptical trainers, stair steppers etc. You see them there on these machines reading a book or watching TV. They are going as slow as a turtle. Now I still give these people credit for getting to the gym instead of sitting on the couch but if they only knew how much of their precious time they are wasting and if they knew what I am about to tell you it would save them SO MUCH TIME and they would finally be able to reach their goal weights.
So the best exercises for burning off belly fat are high intensity interval training. You need to shock your body at all times switching up the speed and intensity of your workouts constantly and keep your body wondering, OK WHATS NEXT!
The Best Diet for burning belly fat is going to be a High Protein Diet with minimal grains and only healthy fats such as avocados and nuts. I recommend eating some source of protein with EVERY MEAL. You might say why do I need so much protein.
Well its simple really. The more protein you eat the more lean muscle you will be able to build. And the more lean muscle your body has the fast you will be able to burn fat and gain more lean muscle. This is why you see all the treadmill people looking the same for months and months with a frustrated look on their faces. Not only are they burning fat, but they are also burning off their muscle which is going to slow down their metabolism and make it much more difficult to burn fat.
Remember this saying ” The more lean muscle you have – the faster your metabolism is.”
Basically your body works harder and burns through more energy the more muscle it has. And muscle actually weighs more than fat. So don’t always count so much on the scale but more look at inches and how your body looks and feels.
So lets get into my favorite Belly Fat Burning workouts. These are the best exercises to get abs to show. I’m not going to go into detail because I have all of these workouts on my youtube channel and you can watch videos of exercises to get abs so you can see exactly how to do them:
- Jump Squats
- Jumping Jacks
- High Knees
- Box Jumps
- Walking Lunges
- Mary Katherine Lunges
- Jump Rope
- Jumping 180′s
- one legged jumps front, back, side to side for 30 seconds each
- one legged squats
- Push Ups
- Body Rows
- Mountain Climbers
- Biking – Try a spin class. Its high intensity but make sure you work on strength training to build muscle because spin class will burn muscle as well as fat
So now that you have the belly fat workouts down lets move onto the most important part of getting six pack abs. Your Diet Plan. And when I say DIET PLAN I do not mean a STARVATION PLAN. Starving yourself of food will actually slow down your metabolic rate and cause your to retain more fat. When you starve yourself your body doesn’t know when the next meal will come so it goes into survival mode and stores any fat that you eat because fat is actually a very important part of your diet and you need it to survive.
So lets go into what your diet should look like. Basics first and then we will go into the best foods to burn belly fat and get your six pack abs to show.
Morning – Protein/carbs
Mid Morning snack – Protein/carbs
Lunch – Protein/carbs
Pre Workout snack – Protein/carbs
After Workout – Protein/fats
Night – Protein/fats