You could lie there crunching until pigs fly, but you may still have not one shred of visible abdominal muscle. This guide teaches you a multi-faceted approach to carving out an awesome mid-section you will be proud to display.
With winter approaching in the U.S., many people place their abs on the backburner, preferring instead to concentrate on building bulk. This is great if you already possess amazing abs; not so great if there’s work to be done.
Don’t leave it until next year when you read…
“Get beach ready in 10 days!”
“Your two week guide to great abs!”
That’s all rubbish. If you want a fantastic mid-section for next summer, you need to start now!
A trim and well-sculpted waistline sets off your entire physique. It enhances your V-shape, makes all other body parts look bigger, and works wonders with the opposite sex. But there is far more to great abs than just the six pack. Having a loose midsection with a few lumps on the front is like taking an old junker and fixing a Mustang grill on it! And that’s where our analogy starts…
Think of your midsection, your core, as a sports car. You need a strong and compact chassis as a base. Next you need sleek and sexy bodywork; tough panels, with no filler. Finish it with a mean and purposeful grill setting the whole package apart.
Far too many people concentrate on the grill and forget the rest. This is a fundamental mistake. If you want awesome abs, give them an awesome frame to display them as the masterpiece they are. This means stripping off the fat, before strengthening and toning the entire core area, including the deep, unseen, but pivotal, muscles. Let’s start by taking a look at some anatomy.
In the center of this diagram, you immediately notice the showy rectus abdominis and lower abdominal muscles. These are flanked by the external obliques. But, to understand what really sets off a set of great abs, you need to look a little deeper. The transversus abdominis muscle and internal obliques only represent a small part of this picture, but in reality they cover the whole frontal and lateral core area.
Tightening and toning these muscles adds incredible strength and stability to the entire midsection. These can cut inches from the waistline and pull that rounded tummy into a beautifully flat canvas for the abs to adorn. Strengthening and toning the muscles of the lower back complete the puzzle by adding all around muscularity and muscle tone, giving balance while correctly aligning the hips. Now, let’s get down to business.
Carving an outstanding mid-section requires a lot of hard work. Make sure you’re ready by taking Sheer Strength Labs Sheer Pre-Workout Powder before you train. This blend of carefully chosen ingredients will have you ready and raring to go, without the jittery side effects of many less natural products.
The basis of a set of awesome abs is the chassis, the stability, strength and tightness coming from a well shaped and trained deep core. You will be happy to hear the best exercise for this is simple, and a basic version of it can be performed just about anywhere. That exercise is the stomach vacuum, as demonstrated by Arnie in the picture. You can do it seated or standing.. or queueing up to pay for your groceries!
Start by taking a deep breath. Now slowly exhale, while simultaneously puffing your chest up and out, and drawing your stomach in. Pull your stomach in as far as possible and hold for twenty seconds. During this time, take slow and shallow breaths, but keep the isometric tension on the deep, transversus abdominis muscle.
Another great exercise for the deep core is the plank. Get in pushup position, but rest on your elbows and forearms, rather than your hands. Keep your back straight. There should be a straight line from the back of your neck to your heels. Hold this position as long as possible, feeling your entire core area take the strain. You can make the plank more difficult by raising your feet, or adding weight to your hips. When your deep core is strong enough, combine the plank and stomach vacuum in one move to maximize your efforts.
Another element to a great chassis is lower back strength. Deadlifts are the best exercise for improving lower back strength and tone. All around, balanced, deep core strength pulls your hips into line, and improves your big lifts, like deadlifts and squats.
The next crucial element to sculpting killer abs is the surrounding bodywork. You need sleek panels free from rust and filler showing off those razor cut abs in all their glory!
Just drop a couple of percentage points in body fat to show a huge increase in mid-section shape and definition. A well-designed, smart, fat burning cardio regime is your goal.
The best way to hone your cardio into potent fat burning territory is with a heart rate monitor. Keeping your heart rate between sixty and seventy-five percent of your maximum sustainable heart rate, and you’re onto a winner. This is the optimum fat shredding zone allowing your body to process the complex molecules, turning blubber into energy.
Jogging is the first form of cardio that springs to mind, but it might not be the best. If you’re heavier than the average bear, and your knees aren’t used to the constant impact of running, consider starting out on a treadmill to cushion the shock. Another alternative is getting on your bike and start cycling. When cycling, it’s easier to regulate the intensity. Swimming is also great. Three or four 30-60 minute sessions a week should suffice.
Modern research shows burst training is also effective at burning fat. This could involve running at high intensity, say 90% of maximum heart rate, for around 20 seconds, before slowing down and catching your breath. Once you fully recover, sprint again. Repeat this 5 or 6 times. While research supports this method, it isn’t something you want to do every cardio session. The intense effort places strain on the muscles you are rebuilding, and it takes a great toll on your body.
Of course, diet is essential to fat loss, as is a smart supplement regime. Sheer Strength Labs Sheer Thermo Fat Burner accelerates fat loss so you can see your abs popping in no time.
As long as you have the other two aspects covered, now it’s time to add a mean grill to your machine. Well… a grill, fenders, and some trim, to be precise.
Your abdominal training must hit the upper and lower abs, as well as the obliques. Vary the rep range by incorporating cables and machines, as well as using standard bodyweight exercises.
Always stretch and mobilize your mid-section prior to adding resistance.
One often overlooked muscle is the serratus anterior, the flat muscles that reach down from your pecs, towards your abs. When fully developed, the serratus looks like a mean set of fingers spreading towards your six pack.
Here is a video to show you how to train this neglected muscle:
Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.
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