The Non-Secret to Great Abs
By Bodybuilding Science
Everyone wants great abs. Be it the giant bodybuilder or the 5-foot soccer mom, everyone wants that elusive washboard midsection. While getting a 6 pack might not be easy, it is simple. The truth is most people are doing abdominal exercises that will never give them that defined look. There are only two rules you need to follow in order to get perfect six-pack abs.
Proper ab training
Your abs are a muscle, several muscles actually. What gives abs the divided look is a sheet of connective tissue that lies directly over the muscles. You want to be able to see your abs? Great, lose the crunches, sit-ups, and whatever low weight, high rep exercises you've been told to do. That's right, they are basically useless. If you wanted to make your bicep bigger, would you do 100 5 pound curls? Of course not, but for some reason, people train their abdominal muscles differently than they train every other muscle in their body.
If you want chiseled abs, you need to build them up so the connective tissue has something to separate. The look of six pack abs is simply the muscle bulging out around the connective tissue. No amount of crunches will ever accomplish that. You should do no more than 4 sets of 10 reps for ab exercises. 40 total! I've seen guys doing 500 sit-ups and I just laugh. Some exercise I recommend are doing weighted sit-ups on a decline bench by holding a medicine ball behind your head. This targets your rectus abdominis (front six-pack muscles). You can also try a variation of this by bending to the side to target the obliques (side muscles) or any number of twisting motions with crossover cables should do the job. The key is, like all muscle building, high weight and low reps. Now, don't think building up you abdominals will give you a bulky pot belly, it won't. It will give you the necessary mass to create the definition you desire. This is the main reason people find it so difficult to obtain the kind of abs they want.
Lower your body fat
You could have the most beautiful, rippling six pack abs in the world; but if your body fat is too high, no one will ever know. If you want to be able to see your abs, you need to maintain a relatively low body fat percentage. A common myth is that fat can be burned off a certain area of the body by exercising it, this is physiologically incorrect. Fat is burned randomly off the entire body when in a catabolic state. Even if you just work your legs, you are burning fat everywhere on your body. This is why doing 1000 crunches isn't going to make you midsection any slimmer than a few laps around the block.
The overall message is simple. Train your abs like you train every other muscle in your body and monitor your nutrition to ensure everyone (including you) can see the fruits of your labor. It really is this simple. You don't need a roller, or a rocker, or a blaster, or a master for your abs; all you need is some weighted reps. So next time you see someone trying to crunch their way into six-pack abs let them know they're wasting their time (or laugh silently to yourself, you know, whatever floats your boat). Good luck.
Send us pictures of your abs developed from these techniques and we'll post them on this page to inspire the rest of us.