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A Killer Ab Workout in Record Time

image1 There is a belief among many gym-goers that if you want great abs then you will need to perform nothing but ab workouts, filled with abdominal exercises. Well, we've got news for you, some of the best ab workouts don't even involve any ab specific exercises! A deadlift will strengthen the abs as much as any exercise, as will pull ups, squats, even bench presses. Don't believe us? Try performing any of these exercises the day after you've performed 100 ab crunches. You will feel your abs working throughout. But you didn't click on this title to read about deadlifts, you wanted an awesome way to get killer abs right? In this article, we are going to look at the ultimate ab workout. Dieting for Abs There's no way to get around it, if you want a flat stomach you will have to lower your calories. Truth is, everyone has abs, without them you would be unable to get out of bed! So getting a six pack is kind of the wrong way of looking at it. You are actually revealing your six pack. And the way to do that is to decrease the subcutaneous fat around the abdomen, or in normal words lose your belly. The first way to do this is to assess your current diet, track your food intake and activity levels. Depending on how much fat you would need to lose this may mean making relatively small changes or huge life-altering changes. If you are currently consuming 3,000 calories per day and your calorie tracker advises you that you need to be consuming 2,200 then you will need to slowly adjust your calories until you are hitting that target. This will result in fat-loss, as will adding exercise. To actually see your abs, you will have to have a seriously low body fat percentage, so once you reach your 2,200 calorie target you will have to lower calories even further. Lowering your calories by 25 per week is usually a safe option. It's about this time that you are probably realizing that keeping a six-pack year round is possibly not that great a plan. The reality is that not even fitness models or bodybuilders keep their six packs year round. Our advice is to pick a particular event in which you want to peak, and train for then. Once you have peaked, you can slowly increase calories until you reach a realistic maintenance weight. This will stop you from going crazy. Anyway, to sum up diet:
  • Pick a date to hit your target by (wedding, holiday, birthday)
  • Find out your current calorie target
  • Lower it slowly week by week until you get your results
  • Keep protein high throughout
  • Don't eliminate carbs or fat, but keep them in check
  • Once you hit your target, start raising calories again
10 Crunch-Free Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Abs As we mentioned in the intro, getting abs through exercise isn't all ab crunches and planks. It is about burning the most calories possible during a session. With that in mind, we are going to show you a training program that is incredibly effective at torching fat, and don't worry there will be lots of ab exercises added! Firstly, though, here is a list of some of the exercises involved. Exercise One: Deadlifts image2 Deadlifts actually work more muscles than any other exercise, while the main muscles worked are in the legs and back, the deadlift will really strengthen your abs. With deadlifts, you want to be lifting a very heavy weight with perfect form for a low amount of reps. Exercise Two: Barbell Back Squats image3 Another exercise that works the abs a lot more than people think, the barbell back squat is mostly known for working the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. But as anyone who has squatted a heavyweight will tell you, bracing your abs throughout is essential! Exercise Three: Barbell Front Squat image4 Probably works the abs more than any other leg exercise, the front squat primarily targets the quadriceps. But due to the position you need to perform them in (keeping your upper body straight up) the abs will get a severe workout throughout the movement. As with Deadlifts and back squats, though, the reason this exercise is good for abs is mainly due to it being a big calorie burner. Challenge yourself further, and extend your arms into the air. Exercise Four: Walking Lunges image5 Walking lunges are a great fat-burner, they target the glutes and quadriceps mostly but when performed correctly should contribute to your ab development too! You can use a barbell or a pair of dumbbells, honestly, bodyweight lunges performed correctly can also be enough. Exercise Five: Bench Press image6 We know what you're thinking "Bench Press? Abs? No chance" but again this is one of those exercises that you need to experience with an already tired set of abs. You will really notice the amount of effort it takes to brace your abs while performing this exercise. What's more, the bench press is a compound movement (lots of muscles worked rather than one in isolation) so high-calorie burning. Exercise Six: Bent Over Row image7 This exercise is best performed with a barbell and mostly works the Trapezius and Latissimus Dorsi muscles. A great back developer, a fantastic calorie burning exercise, and yes this exercise will strengthen the abs. Exercise Seven: Pull Ups image8 The ultimate back exercise, and another surprise ab workout. The pull up is a very difficult exercise to achieve, and may be a bridge too far for some of you. No problem, just perform a lat pulldown instead and build your way up to them. For those of you who can do them, you will be strengthening your back and abs while burning calories too. Exercise Eight: Standing Shoulder Press image9 Compared to other shoulder exercises, the standing shoulder press really hits the abs (as well as the shoulders obviously). You can use a barbell or dumbbells; your abs will be used to keep you balanced while placing the weights above your head. Exercise Nine: Plank image10 Okay so the plank may be an ab exercise, but it actually works a lot more muscles than you'd think. A fantastic addition to any exercise program, the perfect lower ab workout, and a great six-pack builder. Exercise Ten: HIIT sprints image11 High-Intensity Interval Training was not picked because it was superior to any other form of cardio for building your six pack, but because it burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time. That way you can fit it into an exercise program while keeping the sessions to below an hour. You can use a treadmill, or run outside, HIIT sprints can also be performed on an exercise bike or rower. 5 Ab Specific Exercises image12 Now that we have the basis of our program we can add some ab specific exercises in. While all of the exercises above are great at building strength in the abs, we do need some exercises that will specifically work the abs. Ab Exercise One: Long Arm Crunch image13 This is basically a regular crunch but instead of having your hands touching your ears they are fully extended (as if you were about to perform the backstroke). Keep your arms in that position and raise your shoulders and the upper half of your torso into the air. Pause at the top of the movement and then lower yourself back down to the ground. This is a lot more difficult than a crunch because the extended arms increase the weight your abs have to lift. Ab Exercise Two: Knee Raises image14 Start in the standard ab crunch position, feet flat on the floor with knees bent. But instead of raising your torso off the ground you raise your feet off the ground. Bring your knees towards your chest, pause, and then lower your feet back towards the ground. This exercise really works well when performed with a lot of reps. Ab Exercise Three: Ab Rollout image15 One of the best ab exercises around, the ab rollout will work your abs more than any other! Start with your knees on the ground holding the ab wheel (or a barbell/dumbbell if you don't have a wheel). Roll the wheel forward along the floor keeping your arms straight throughout. As the wheel rolls away from you, your body will stretch out until it is parallel to the floor. When this happens start rolling the wheel back towards your knees. Ab Exercise Four: Russian Twists image16 Start in the ab crunch position, and crunch up until your torso is 45 degrees from the floor. Keeping your elbows tucked in and your hands clasped together, rotate your torso to the left, pause and then rotate your arms to the right. This is one rep. Ab Exercise Five: Plank Get Ups image17 An excellent exercise to perform in circuits or as a standalone exercise. Start in the plank position (elbows resting on the floor, back straight) and then get up into the press up position, then lower yourself back down to the plank. This is all about moving your arms from flat on the floor to fully extended. Your feet should be still throughout. Perform high rep sets for this exercise. The Ultimate Six Pack Session Plan image18 So now we are going to put all of these exercises into a weekly program for you to complete. Remember without following the diet advice from earlier, all of the abdominal exercises in the world won't help with a six pack. But following this program while eating right will get you there. Session One
  • Deadlifts (2 x warm ups) 3 x 4-6 reps
  • Pull Ups 3-4 x 6-10 reps
  • Bent Over Row 3 x 6-8 reps
  • Barbell Bicep Curls 4 x 6 reps
  • Plank x 1
Session Two
  • Barbell Front Squats (2 x warm ups) 3 x 6-8 reps
  • Bench Press 3 x 6-8 reps
  • Standing Shoulder Press 4 x 6 reps
  • Triceps Press down 3 x 8 reps
  • Plank x 1
Session Three (optional)
  • HIIT Sprints x 20-30 mins
  • Long Arm Crunches 2-3 x 12 reps
  • Knee Raises 3 x 20 reps
  • Plank Get Ups 2-3 x 30 seconds
Session Four
  • Barbell Back Squats (2 x warm ups) 3 x 8-10 reps
  • Pull Ups 3-4 x 6-10 reps
  • Barbell Bent Over Row 3 x 6-8
  • Bicep Curls 4 x 6
  • Plank x 1
Session Five
  • Walking Lunges 4 x 20 reps
  • Incline Bench Press 2-3 x 12
  • Seated Shoulder Press 3 x 6-8
  • Close-Grip Bench Press 3 x 6
  • Plank x 1
Session Six (optional)
  • HIIT Sprints x 20-30 mins
  • Ab Rollout 3 x 8
  • Russian Twists 3 x 10
  • Plank Get Ups 2-3 x 30 seconds
This workout is just an example and you can, of course, edit it to suit your specific needs, the program is based on the push/pull theory. This is where you separate exercises into those that involve pushing movements (bench press, shoulder press, triceps extension) and exercises that involve pulling movements (pull up, deadlift, bent over row). The reason you do this is that the two movements use different muscles, so while the pushing muscles are working (deltoids, pectorals, triceps) the pulling muscles (Lats, Biceps, Hamstrings) are resting. This way you can perform sessions back to back without suffering from muscular fatigue. Also, within two days you will have worked every muscle in the body. This is an improvement on the traditional bodybuilder split where it takes 7-10 days to work each muscle in the body. There you have it then, a program that will get you a six pack. Follow the diet, do the exercises, and be patient. Six packs take time and dedication. Good luck!
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