• En

Are you one of those people who cannot go through enough muscle fitness content on YouTube to find the ultimate six pack strategy. Are you looking for that magical solution to turn your fat and flab into ripped, washboard abs? This article is your perfect repository of answers.

First thing first, remember abs does not mean healthy living. You can live healthily even without your abs peeking through your skin tight shirt. Even though being healthy is important, it is fast becoming insufficient nowadays. It’s a trend now not to just be healthy but also to look fit and fabulous. Honestly, getting those impressive 6-pack abs and toned body is a goal for almost every man these days. Many fitness routines and packages promise to give the best result in just weeks and men usually end up spending a great part of their hard earned money on these. Obviously, most of these turn out to be click baits and fake promises. Remember, no technique or package can give you your dream body overnight. Hard work, consistency and clean diet are prerequisites. You need to work out really hard for that to buildup Adonis-like sculpted body and to maintain it thereafter. Once this basic tenet is established, let us begin on our journey to get you the physique of a Greek god.

  1. Abs workout
  2. Six pack abs diet
  3. Daily routine for maintaining toned abs
  4. Some tips to get toned abs quickly

Working out is really important to tone your muscles. It also helps you to get rid of that extra fat covering your muscle. The main trick is to achieve this is by decreasing your overall calorie balance along with your strength training. There could be many techniques and exercise options that you can go for, like weight training or cardio or CrossFit (which is a mix of both). Let us learn about cardio first.

Cardio for abs

Cardio is an abbreviated term for cardiovascular as it gets your heart rate up into the fat burning zone. Cardio employs compound exercises, which involve many muscles. It also saves time and money as you don't need any expensive machinery, neither you have to go to a  gym to get your daily cardio. It is a great option to shed off all that extra fat.

Start by choosing any activity that you love doing, like:

  • Swimming: It is considered as the best form of cardio. You need to use almost all the muscles in your body for swimming and it trains all of your body in a really short time. Swimming also calms down your mind and relaxes your body, especially in dry and scorching summer days. You burn more calories during swimming than any other exercise in the same interval of time.
  • Running: It is the most economically effective way to lose weight. Just get into your running shoes and start your path to the shredded physique. One can burn a lot of calories in just an hour of running. If running feels boring to you, then grab your earplugs with you and run along listening to your favorite songs. You can also run on a treadmill if that seems more practical.
  • Jumping Jacks: These are as simple as they read. Just stand on your feet and jump. While jumping, widen your legs and raise your arms alongside and above your head. Now, come back to the normal position while you return to the ground. Repeat this process for a couple of sets of 25 repetitions or for an appropriate time. This is a really good form of cardio and can easily help you to reduce weight.
  • Jump Rope:  Most of us have done this in our childhood. Now it’s time to return to this exercise. Just grab the handles of a jumping rope with each hand and start by giving it a flourish with your wrists. While spinning, jump along with the rope so that you time your left off with the rope striking the floor. You can burn approximately 200 calories in just 20 minutes. Don't forget to wear your shoes as the landing can be hard on your heels and ankles.

Weight training exercises for abs

Having gone through your paces in cardio, it’s time to build some muscles by using compound weighted exercises of the exercise that you can try are:

  • Barbell Russian twist: Hold a barbell vertically, with both your hands on one side. Other side of barbel will be on the floor. Keeping your feet wide apart, swing the barbel. Keep your body straight and core tight. Add more plates when you get stronger. Choose the weight of plates according to your strength.
  • Ball Russian twist:  Sit on the floor with knees slightly bent. Hold the medical ball tightly with both hands. Twist your body, moving the ball side to side. Keep your hands stretched out at all time.
  • Front Barbell Squat:  Set up the barbell in your shoulder cavity and hold it with your hands on either side of your shoulders. Raise your elbow parallel to the floor. Keep your elbows high throughout the motion otherwise, you can disbalance and hurt your spine. Widen your legs with toes pointing outward, squat down or sit on your knees. Try keeping your heels close to your buttocks. Press up from the bottom position using your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings and keep your chest and elbow high.
  • Chest press: Start by lying on a flat surface and facing up. Hold dumbbells in each hand at shoulder width. Keep your upper arm at 45 degrees to your body and palm facing forward. While exhaling, push the weight upward. Follow an inconsiderable arc and meet up at the top of your chest and empty your lungs by exhaling. Don't go for any sudden movements. Come back to the normal resting position while inhaling.

Abdominal exercises to get a 6 pack

Now it is time to target your core muscles directly including your abdominal ones like rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis, and serratus. Try the following exercises to target your midsection:

  • Do crunches: Lie down on your back and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the ground. Hold your head from behind with both your hands joined together. Move or curl up your torso upward while inhaling. Stay up for 2-3 seconds and exhale out. Go back down while inhaling. Repeat this 12-15 times. While doing crunches, don't bend or raise your head. Try keeping your torso straight. You can also use weights while crunching to increase the intensity.
  • Bicycle crunches:  Lie down on your back and hold your head with your hands joined together. Raise your knees above and start pedaling. Move one knee towards torso while the other one is straight and stretched out. Also, rotate your hands while pedaling. Bring the left hand above when the right leg is bent towards the body and vice versa.
  • Wheel rollout:  This exercise needs an ab roller, a small wheel that has bars on both sides to hold it from. Bow down on a flat surface and hold the ab-wheel. Bend a little and roll the wheel until you feel pressure on your thighs and abs. Try to go as far as possible without arching your lumbar or lower spine. You need to stretch without using your lower back. Repeat this 10-15 times.
  • Plank: Lie down on your stomach on a bed or a flat surface. Keep your forehead and palm flat on the surface. Inhale while you push your body up. Your whole weight should be on your palms and toes. Don't bend your knees or arch your lumbar spine and try to use your abs to hold you up as long as possible. Try staying up for long. Make sure that your spine is straight and head faces downward. Try crossing your limit of pain but do not push so much since it may lead to injury. Challenge yourself for better and faster results.
  • Pull up to knee raise: Hold a pull up bar keeping your  hands wider than your shoulder width apart. Hold the bar tightly and hang from it. Pull yourself up, try going to a height that your chin is above the bar. Now hold this position and raise your knees toward the chest. Try being in this position for some time. Comeback to normal position and repeat it again. Do 8-12 repetitions, to begin with, and more sets when your strength increases.
  • Pushup Rocket/ Clap or Plyo-Push-Ups: Get your feet into a suspension trainer. Get into a pushup position with all your weight on your palms and feet. Ensure that no other body part is touching the surface. Now, push your body up forcefully leaving the surface totally. While in air clap with your palms together. Repeat this several times.  

The reality is that abs may be shaped in the gym but they are made in the kitchen. Working out alone can’t help to build up your body. You need to have a clean and nutritionally adequate diet as well. Yes, protein is important but you also need to add and subtract other items. Focus on a clean diet. If you really want those toned muscles, give up on junk food and processed sugars. Let's look at some food items which can help you get those 6 pack abs quickly.

Protein-rich food: Your body muscles are mainly made up of protein. So, one thing that you can't ignore is protein. Protein not only helps builds up new muscles but also repair any wear and tear which you may get as a result of your daily exercises. Some food items that contain a high amount of protein are:

  • Eggs: Egg protein is considered as the purest form of protein. Egg contains all the 8  types of amino acids which help in building and maintaining muscles. Eggs don't have cholesterol and are a rich source of omega3 fatty acid, which is an active part of the muscle recovery process.
  • Whey protein: It is a mixture of proteins obtained from ‘whey’, which is the left out the liquid from dairy products like milk, cheese. It is considered an instant and fast digesting source of protein. Whey consumption after the workout is considered beneficial as it enhances anabolism in the body and helps in recovery after working out.
  • Other foods like peanut butter, nuts, tofu, swiss cheese, are also good sources of protein.

Carbohydrates and fat:  Carbohydrate intake needs to be personalized. Inadequate carbs can disturb strength training. If carbohydrates are taken just before exercising, it can reduce glycogen depletion and improve the quality and intensity of the workout. Hence consumption of carbs in the right amounts is really important. Some of the carb-rich foods include whole grains and brown rice. These foods also contain a lot of fiber, which is good for digestion.

Fat intake should also be regulated. Fat is the stored form of energy in the body. Bodybuilders need to lose fat but consumption of zero fat not good either. For optimum body functioning, you need to take some amounts of good fat like unsaturated fats including Omega3 fatty acid and omega 6 fatty acid. Fat gives the body a large amount of energy. Apart from this it also helps in the storage of vitamins, and insulation and protection of organs.  Some foods that contain good fats are cheese, olive oil, walnuts, and avocados.

Water: Keeping yourself hydrated is very important. If you are doing intenser workouts, you end up losing water in the form of sweat, which much more than others do, hence you need to check your water intake. Water also helps in digesting protein and clearing out toxins from the body. An average person should drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day, depending on your need you can add onto this number accordingly. Alternatively, taking fluids may help maintain the hydrations levels of your body but it is best to avoid excess sugar or salt since they would add to your total calorie intake.

(Read more: Balanced diet benefits)

This is the most important commandment for anyone hoping to get those magazine advertised abs. Apart from diet and exercise, get yourself into a fixed routine. Get a good amount of sleep. Sleeping helps your body to repair and rejuvenate.

Always go for some warmup before working out. Warming up increases body temperature by increasing blood flow which, in turn, helps prevent injuries. This also helps prevent soreness and pain.

  • You don't need to diet and exercise, but eat and train. There is an important difference between the two.
  • Cut off sugars and processed food.
  • Keep track of your training and results. Note down your weight and measurements from time to time.
  • Avoid heavy meals before working out ( at least 2-3 hours).
  • Keep focus on muscle and establish the mind-muscle connection while training.
  • Eat in small proportions and eat slowly.

References

  1. Health Harvard Publishing. Harvard Medical School [Internet]. Strengthening your core: Right and wrong ways to do lunges, squats, and planks. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  2. Helms ER, Aragon AA, Fitschen PJ. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. 2014 May 12;11:20.PMID: 24864135
  3. West DWD, Abou Sawan S, Mazzulla M, Williamson E, Moore DR. Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study. 2017 Jul 11;9(7):735. PMID: 28696380
  4. MedlinePlus Medical: US National Library of Medicine; Researching and Reducing the Health Burden of Stroke
cross
Ask your health query now and get connected with a doctor within 10 minutes!