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By: Obi Obadike
Everybody wants to know the secret to getting great looking abs. Well, let me tell you that there is no secret, you need to train hard and eat sensibly to get your abs to develop those impressive contours. I've been very blessed that important people in the fitness industry have told me I have some of the best abs in the world. Let me share my top ten ab training tips, because I want you to have sculpted abs too.
Okay, it's obvious. Incorporating weight training and cardio training into your routines burns calories daily while reducing body fat. Your cardio can be varied, Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âsprint, cycle, swim, climb stairs, use a treadmill, an elliptical, and so on. Like calorie burning, all will work your abs indirectly as these muscles and other core muscles engage with your limbs to generate power and control force.
Follow a balanced diet, combining high levels of protein and moderate to low carbs and fat. I suggest a protein macronutrient ratio of 45%, a carbs macronutrient ratio of 40% and fat ratio of 15%. Your diet is key to reducing your body-fat levels to the point where your midsection reveals your abs. If you're following a bad diet, it will be hard getting those abs to show unless you have a naturally fast metabolism or possess great genetics.
Always change it up, don't stick to the same abs routine every week. I typically pick about 6 to 7 different abs exercises that I will rotate. One typical routine is good old-fashioned sit-ups, hanging leg raises with twist and medicine ball crunches. Involve exercises that stress your abs differently. Using the three exercises I've mentioned as an example: sit-ups work the rectus abdominis, hanging leg raises with twist work the internal obliques, external obliques and the rectus abdominis. The dynamic medicine ball work stimulates upper and lower abs.
Stay away from sugary, high-starch and salty foods. Also avoid foods that are high in fat and in carbs. These foods contribute to fat gain, which prevents abs from appearing.
Understand the myths and truths about abdominal training so you train smarter. Getting great abs is not about how many sit-ups or crunches you can do. A great 6-pack reflects how lean you are. Guys need a body fat level of 10 to 12% and below to reveal their abs and women 12 to 14% and below. (Note: women must be aware that these body fat levels can be detrimental to their health. Serious athletes and fitness models aspiring to achieve these body fat levels must be mindful of this and monitor their health accordingly). We all have abs, unfortunately some of us have to work harder than the next person to attain those great looking abs. One thousand sit-ups a day isn't going to make them magically pop out. You need your body-fat levels low. Very low.
Drinking cold water allows you to burn calories. If you're completely hydrated your fat burning rate will be optimized. So drink six to eight glasses of water a day and you will burn around 70 calories that day because eating and drinking use energy. Over a month, this adds up to about 2100 calories. Since there are 3500 calories in one pound of body weight, you could theoretically lose six pounds every 10 months just from drinking water!
If you don't believe you can get great abs, then you won't. The mind is much more powerful than your muscles. If you believe you can do it, you will do everything necessary in your power to attain that goal. Your mind's power, on top of a sensible diet and training plan, will help you attain those fitness goals.
It's okay to have a cheat meal. You're eating healthy throughout the week, I advise one cheat meal during that week, too. Use it as a reward for eating healthily six days straight. Consuming one cheat meal will not affect your flat abs goal.
When you are training your abs, make sure you feel the exercises. If you don't physically feel the contraction you probably aren't doing the exercise correctly. It is important to sense the muscle working, as that provides additional stimulation and neural feedback.
Although it is important to train hard and be consistent, you still must rest your body. Some people think that the more time you spend in the gym, the better your body will get. That's not the case and "living in the gym" can be very counterproductive. For starters, you risk over-training. Your body builds muscle when it's resting, not when you are tearing down your muscles' protein while training. Giving yourself two to three days rest after a hard week of training will help you develop great looking abs.
First off, I train my abs and do cardio every other day. I train sit-ups for three sets of 25 to 30 reps and I give myself about 30 seconds rest between each set. The second exercise is medicine ball crunches, also three sets of 25 to 30 reps. My cardio for this day is running outside for an eight mile run at an 8 minute mile pace, that takes about 24 to 25 minutes.
Hanging leg raises, three sets of 20 to 25 reps. My rest between each set is about 30 seconds. As opposed to taking too much time between sets, this minimal time between sets allows me to truly feel the burn of the exercise. The second exercise is the oblique stability crunch on a medicine ball. I perform this exercise for three sets of 20 to 25 reps and always make sure I squeeze and contract my obliques. When performing any abs exercise, it is important to make sure that you are breathing properly. My cardio for this day is sprinting, about ten 100-meter sprints. I typically will run a sprint and then walk back to the starting line to go again.
The two abs exercises for this day are the Forward Stability Ball Roll and Kneeling Cable Crunch. I perform both of these for about 3 sets of 20 to 25 reps. I rest about 30 seconds between each set. After doing the Forward Stability Roll, I rest about a minute and then proceed to Kneeling Cable Crunches. My cardio is a four-mile run, eight-minute mile pace, for about 32 minutes.
As you can clearly see, my weekly abs exercise routine is very simple, no more than two abs exercises per day. I work my abs about three times a week, which comes out to training them every other day. My abs routine takes about ten minutes.
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