Abs ( How To )

Mar 30, 2011 by

Abs, Six Pack Abs, Abs workouts

My Tips for Abs

 

I wanted to share some tips about Abs. Abs are actually not that hard to get if you know what to do.

First of all, I would like to say, your abs or your core ( the proper way to call your abs ) is one of the most important fitness foundations you have to develop. If you don’t have a strong core, your fitness routine will not go far. You have to develop strength from your core and them build on that foundation.

To build strength in your core:   Begin by holding an elbow plank position for 1 minute and two rounds, every day before and after your workout.   If that becomes to easy to do, elevate your legs onto a chair and do the same, 1 minute of two rounds before and after your workout. When that becomes easy to do move your elbows more forward to increase the challenge, and do again 1 minute and two rounds before and after your workout.   To increase the challenge hold the plank and bring one leg towards your chest as if you were marching, switching the legs back and forth.  When you feel like the things above become more easy to do, instead of a chair, elevate your legs against a wall and then do a plank for 1 minutes of two rounds, before and after your workouts.   Just doing all of those strengthening challenges your core will begin to gain strength and you will start seeing the difference in your over all workouts.  This is to build your core foundation, now lets get to other fun things.

To have strong and toned abs you have to understand how your body works.  You can’t just do abs exercises alone and expect amazing results.

Some time ago, very long time ago, I heard a story that Britney Spears does 500 crunches a day to get the abs she has.   To me, that not only sounds absurd, but I am sure 500 crunches a day will not get you the great results you want.  Who wants to do 500 crunches a day?  I don’t.  Plus crunches just don’t work, they are a complete waste of time.   The movement of a crunch is not dynamic, it is up and down and only somewhat works the top of your abdominal.   And if you do that every day, within about a week, your body will get use to that movement and then you are totally wasting your time.

In order to get abs of your dreams your workouts have to be dynamic and you have to engage your abs in every exercise you do. That is what you are suppose to do, your core supports your body in every movement, that is why it’s called The Core.   If you learn how to use your core in every movement you do, not only in your workout but through out your daily life – you will have the abs that you always wanted.  Using your abs in simple movements such as walking and getting out of bed will also strengthen your back, reducing the risk of back problems in the future.  Now to other fun tips :)

Your body does not burn fat off one targeted area. In order to get abs, you have to burn fat from all over your body. But as I stated earlier in this post, every single exercise you do, your abdominal’s is the place you have to extract the force from.  Let it be, running, walking, plyometrics, push-ups, pull-ups, burpies, side-burpies, step ups, lifting weights etc.   Learn to engage your abs – and you will have abs.

My personal favorite abs exercise of all is – Hanging Leg Raises. The best exercise ever.  If you are hanging on a bar, raise completely straight legs up all the way where you can touch the bar with your feet.   Beginners of course will not be able to do that, so you will have to start with hanging knee raises first.   But once you master those, you can straighten your legs and do it the hard way.   Begin by doing 3 sets of 10 reps, once that becomes more easier to do, on the 10th rep hold for 10 seconds.   That is the best and the most effective abs exercise, it targets all of your abdominal muscles and builds an amazing strength.

I will soon be posting workout videos and I will begin with a demonstration on how to strengthen your core to build your fitness foundation.

Let Me know how you liked my post :) Leave me a comment if you have any suggestions or other abs tips that you can recommend,  I love feedback

Tatianna

PS – You might also like my “How to Get a Firm Butt” post

 

 

 


  • Pamela Johansson

    Thank you for sharing!! the plank exercise is no challenge for me anymore so i love this variation to elevate the legs against a wall! :) 

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      Hi Pamela,
      Try the cross marching plank as well, on a wall or a high chair. Pull your leg to the opposite arm. Also, I’ve been doing planks on a medicine ball, those are killers. My medicine ball is soft non bouncy kind, this way you always have to keep balancing it. I want to get the regular medicine ball as well, it is even more of a challenge to keep the plank. Or a balance ball plank, those are even harder.
      How long do you usually hold planks? How many sets?

      • Pamela

        Thank you for your replay :) i will try that variation too, it sounds great! i still not got a medicine ball but i will get me one, they seems fun. up to 2 minutes i usually hold my planks and 6 reps. 

        • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

          Wow girl! 2 minutes is long, I need to work up to your level. I’ve been doing 1 min long off the medicine ball, those are crazy tough.

          • Pamela

            i am sure i could not keep 1 min on a ball :) the floor is not moving and i have been doing planks on a regular basis since i got my last child 5 years ago, i am sure it is thanks to them i got my core strenght back fast! 

          • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

            Yes, planks really strengthen your core. They are also easier on the spine. I also noticed if I do more planks then I have no pain in my back, cause the core muscles support the back.

  • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

    “Approve”

  • Bibi

    Hello,

    this is a great post, thanks for that!
    I am trying to built my muscles and specially my abs for ages but it doesn’t work well. To be honest, it hardly works and I really don’t know why. I do lots of sports and workout almost every day (strength training and cardio) and I watch my diet with great care. And, it’s kind of funny, but it seems that I get stronger, but I cannot see any more toned muscles. I do not have weigh problems and am normally slim.
    The only problem I am aware of is that I am allergic against anything that correlates with soy and milk (as I wrote in an other comment). But this can’t be the only obstacle to get toned muscles, rigth?
    I know that you propably get many similar questions and that you wrote many posts about this subject (I read all of your website) but do you maybe have any idea or tipps for me?

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      Hi Bibi :),

      How many days a week do you train your abs? How many times a week do you exercise ? How many day’s a week do you do cardio? And one more question which abs exercises do you do?

      • Bibi

        Hi!
        Hm, difficult to generalize it. But i try.
        I train 5-6 days per week and include cardio mostly. So, I maybe do 40 or more min. strength training and about 15-20 minutes of cardio. Maybe I should do more cardio?
        I train my abs maybe 3 or 4 days per week. And the abs exercises are various – examples are leg raises or knee raises, plank variations like you explain them in one of your posts, some variations or crunches but not the normal ones, for example with outstrenched arms or legs, knee hugs and v-abs….

        • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

          Hi Bibi,

          Ok, it looks like you are working out too much. Do you do Interval High Intensity cardio or regular cardio? 5-6 days a week is way too much, your muscles can’t develop if you don’t give them a break, the only way to develop more muscles is to rest. A lot of people make that mistake, they think if they exercise more they will get faster or better results, but what they get is the opposite – muscle breakdown. Cut down your training to 4 days a week for resistance, on the 5th day do very short high intensity interval cardio 10-15 minutes, do 3 sets of planks before and after every workout, 1 minute per set ( make sure it’s difficult enough, raise your legs on a chair if you have to or against a wall, but make it difficult, you can also do marching planks ).

          Train abs every two days, twice a week is perfect, but do a good routine for your abs something around 10-15 minute mark, to hit all the muscles in the abdominal area. Do that before you do cardio. When you do your other workouts, you can include small abs exercises here and there for the core, but do not overtrain them, otherwise they can’t develop.

          How is your protein intake?

          • Bibi

            Okay, I already feared this. I always imagine that my fitness level decreases if I don’t workout often enough. But I will follow your advice and train my abs every two days. But you mean that I should do planks every day I train, right?
            I do both, regular and HIIT cardio, but mostly HIIT.
            I think, my protein intake is too low as I have some food intolerances mentioned above. I try to compensate it in eating lean meat, eggs and legumes like broccoli, but I don’t think that I get enough protein in doing so…

          • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

            Hi Bibi,

            Do planks every time your workout, but on day’s that you train your abs and combine other exercises to hit all the muscles in your abs, you can skip on the planks.

            Moderate cardio is good to do after a session of HIT or it is also great on an empty stomach in the morning, actually in the morning you can do LISS cardio – Low Intensity Steady State ( that is only if you want to loose weight ).

            About your protein intake, I would recommend for you to eat daily at least 1 g of protein per 1 lbs of weight, if you train hard then 1.5 g of protein per 1 lbs of bodyweight. Protein is essential in building muscle, if you don’t eat enough body will break down the muscle you already have. So weigh your self, so you know how much protein you should take daily.

            Definitely cut down on working out so much, your fitness level will actually increase if you let your body recover. Listen to your body, it is very smart, it gives us signals all the time.

          • Bibi

            Okay, thank you very much for the advice! I will do my best. Do you maybe know some exercises for the abs besides the planks and the well-known crunch variations? I am kind of idealess. And I hope I don’t annoy you with questions like these as I think they are posed very often.

          • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

            Bibi, you’re so cute – of course you will never annoy me! You can ask as many questions as you like, I am always more than happy to answer.

            Yes I do know a lot of good abs exercises, have you seen the video I made last week the ” Hard Body Skater” ( http://www.lovingfit.com/exercises-workouts/hard-body-skater-workout/ ) – I came up with an awesome abs exercise that I names Side Plank Mill, it works your abs incredible, it looks easy until you try 15 -20 reps in a row per side.

            Another great ab exercise is standing straight leg jump. You stand on one leg with the other leg lifted as high forward as you can ( straight foot is flexed ), now jump and switch legs, pause at the top for 2 seconds, do that exercise with intervals.

            Another great one is on a pull up bar, it’s a split leg raise but not like the regular, the bar needs to be between the legs at the top ( hard to explain in words ), so the position of your body is different. I am going to start recording workouts with a pull up bar ( Friday I think ) and I will show that exercise as a bonus at the end, so you can see what I am talking about.

            Another great exercise is a rolling plank on a balance ball, get into a plank position on a balance ball ( your feet are on a balance ball ) roll your legs straight forward until you reach a sharp V position ( it’s very hard to do it in proper form ).

            Another good one is straight leg reptile. Get into an elbow plank, and instead of doing regular reptile side knee pull ins, you will straighten your legs, it’s also pretty tough to master in proper form.

            20-30 sec pike hold on a pull up bar is quite difficult as well, but it builds great abs. It goes like this: Do 5 -10 straight leg lifts on a pull up bar, on the last rep hold your legs in a pike position for 20-30 seconds, this is pretty much the best exercise ( gymnasts do those all the time ).

          • Bibi

            You are great! Thank you so much! I will try the exercises and look forward to my sixpack ;-)!

          • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

            You are very welcome any time Bibi :), always let me know if you every have any questions!

          • sus

            I just want to say I absolutely love your site.  I am so glad I found it.  But THANK YOU for saying that the body needs rest.  One of my best friends has become obcessed (bad addiction) to working out and practically NEVER takes a rest.  I try telling her that it is bad for the body ad that the body will not rebuild, so thank you for mentioning this.

          • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

            Hi Sus, 

            Yeah a lot of people who get addicted to working out eventually get seriously injured, because if we workout and not recover our joints suffer, the older we get the more wear we feel in our joints.  But injuries happen overnight, you might not even notice when it first happens.  Our body always gives us signs, they come in small pains here and there, and then you just get a big injury out of nowhere, which will last for month’s and sometimes years. 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ivytranngochoa Tr?n Ng?c Hoa

    I just started on your work-out routine for the first day and it has quite amazing impact on my upper abdominal muscles. This post has been the most helpful one I’ve read :) Thanks for these cool guides!!!

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