6 Reasons Your Abs Aren’t Showing

abs-to-the-fullest
24 Jul

Ancient Greeks and Romans viewed visible abs as a symbol of health, strength, and physical fitness. Statues of Zeus, Poseidon, and Heracles are complete with perfect six-packs—a nod to the immortal perfection and strength of the gods.

In today’s Internet culture, having a great torso may not be supernatural, but it still evokes the same symbol of prestige. Who didn’t run immediately to the gym after watching the movie “300?” I know I did.

As awesome as having a six-pack is, building one is not easy. If you’ve been crunching away after every workout and are still not seeing results, you’re probably committing one or more of these mistakes. Here are six reasons you’re not seeing etched abdominals, and what to do about them!

1. You Have Too Much Body Fat Covering Your Abdominal Wall

Strong abs aren’t the most important component of a visible six-pack; low body fat is. If you have too much subcutaneous body fat covering your abdominal area, then no matter how many hours of crunches or leg raises you do, you won’t be able to see your six-pack.

The most effective action toward achieving those ripped abs is to clean up your diet. When it comes to your abs, training can only get you so far. You need a smart meal plan to lower your body fat percentage and uncover your abs; otherwise, all your hard work in the gym will count for naught. So put down that Taco Bell quesadilla and make a healthier choice. Try some of our tasty, healthy recipes!

healthy-food

2. Your Abdominal Exercises Aren't Diverse

Most people see abs as the little hard boxes in the middle of their torso, but the muscle system is actually far more complex. Your abdominal wall is built of the rectus abdominus (the six-pack), internal and external obliques that run along the sides of your rectus abdominus, and the transverse abdominus which lies beneath the internal oblique. I also like to include the serratus anterior because, if you can see the muscles on the top of your rib cage, you look like a bodybuilder.

These muscles help the torso flex, extend, and rotate. Most importantly, the muscles also help the torso stay stable against flexion, extension, and rotation. If you only train them to flex by doing endless crunches, you won’t activate each of the muscles in ways in which they can grow. Like any other muscle in the body, the abdominals need to be trained from various angles and dimensions so they can really pop!

To better address your midsection, vary your exercises so you work each of the ways your abdominal wall functions. Try planks, suitcase deadlifts, and dead bugs.

3. You Aren't Training Heavy Enough

Lately, there has been this weird hype that your abs need to be trained with a ridiculously high amounts of reps. Some people go crazy and do more than 500 reps in a workout. If you are training your abs for a high-endurance, abdominal-specific sport, then rep away. To get your abs to grow, however, you need to stimulate them just like any other muscle group in your body. Would you perform 500 reps of biceps curls in one workout for maximum growth? Probably not.

Start training your abs with some weight so they can develop like your other muscle groups, and vary the rep ranges each time you train them. For instance, in one workout, perform all bodyweight exercises with a rep range of 15-30; during your next abdominal training day, lower the rep range to 8-12 and use a heavier resistance by adding a plate to your floor-based moves or knocking out some cable crunches. Increase the difficulty as you progress.

4. You Try To Crunch Away The Fat

Let me be clear: You cannot lose body fat in specific areas of your body by training that body part more often. If someone ever tells you that you’ll lose your gut by performing abdominal exercises, slap that person in the face and then explain to him or her that it’s impossible to control where body fat comes off your body. The only way to strip the fat from your abs is by slowly and gradually burning it off from your entire body through cardio, nutrition, and resistance training.

Unfortunately, abdominal fat is usually the last bit to come off and the first to come back. The tenacity with which abdominal fat wants to cling to your belly can make dieting and exercise discouraging. The key is consistency. It may take months or even years to uncover your abs, but if you stick to being smart in the kitchen, you’ll eventually see results.

5. You Train Your Abs Every Day

This is a touchy subject because many fitness and physique athletes do train their abs every day at the end of their workouts. However, they’ve been building their abs for years, and what works for fitness professionals may not always be the best approach for you.

Because you actually activate your abs doing many other exercises like squats, deadlifts, military presses, etc., it’s best to give your core a break during the week. Even though you might not be directly training your abs, they still get stimulation during your compound lifts.

For best results, do direct abdominal training 2-3 times per week. As your abs evolve and get stronger, you can shorten the duration of your abs workout and include them in your workouts every other day.

6. You Frequently Change Your Diet

Many, many people go through crash diets and pre-contest nutrition plans in order for their abs to show. However, once they’re done with their contest season or diet, they start eating junk food, stop performing cardio, and say goodbye to their six-packs. Say goodbye to crash diets, “dirty bulking,” and nutritional inconsistency instead.

Like I said before, consistency is the most important piece of the six-pack puzzle. You need to make fitness a lifestyle. If you consistently eat clean and stay intense in the gym, you’ll have abs for much longer than a few weeks. Being lean year-round means you can snap all the selfies you want—even if it’s not contest season!

4 Tips for Awesome Abs

4-ab-tips
24 Jul

“Abs are made in the kitchen,” the fitness saying goes. But a more accurate rephrasing would be, “Abs are revealed in the kitchen.” They’re made in the gym, during your ab workouts and even total-body training. That’s where you build the muscle tissue that dieting later reveals by removing excess belly fat.

Once you’ve dialed in your nutrition, leave the kitchen and head to the gym for your workout. To help you, here are four abs workout strategies to improve your core muscles and build a scroll-stopping torso. Regardless of your current routine, these ab moves can make a big difference.

Tip 1: Use Weighted Core Exercises In Your Workout

The abdominal muscles are like everything else you train; in that sense, they’re no different from, say, your shoulder muscles. They all benefit from weighted resistance, whether from a cable, a dumbbell, etc. There’s this fear in the fitness world that using weight in your training will expand the circumference of your waist and mess with the symmetry of your torso. That’s not the case. If anything, doing weighted movements as part of your workout will make those abs pop even more when you cut down.

When done correctly, the weighted rope crunch is a great exercise for your abs workout. Your stomach works hard to contract, and the cable pulley applies continuous tension where you need it. Use your ab muscles, not your hip flexors, to crunch. Squeeze your abs hard when you pull in on this exercise. Feel that contraction fully on each crunch.

Hit your oblique muscles by crunching and dipping your shoulder to either side.

Tip 2: Lift Slowly, Lower Even More Slowly During Your Workout

You should know this by now, but it bears repeating: When training, momentum helps no one. Your six-pack is no different from every other muscle group in this respect, and if you’re trying to build, each rep counts. As you perform each rep, slow your tempo and maintain control throughout the movement. Your abs will work harder this way, leading to better results from your training.

Take that abs workout favorite, the hanging knee raise. If all your knee raises look like the beginning of a Kipping pull-up, you’re not alone; it’s easy to generate momentum and lift those legs high by swinging. Unfortunately, this kind of momentum doesn’t do much for your abs or your ab training.

Instead, start by tucking your knees to your chin, which will force your hips to lift and contract your ab muscles. Exhale at the top of the contraction to further activate your abs. Slowly lower your knees with control. Slower means you’ll do fewer reps, but each of those reps will benefit your lower abs a lot more. Only move to straight-legged lifts once you’ve mastered the bent-leg version in your training.

Want to shift the emphasis to your oblique muscles? Raise your knees to either side. Want to add some resistance? Hold a dumbbell between your ankles.

Tip 3: Focus On Stability During Your Workout

The core isn’t just about the six-pack. It’s also responsible for helping you stay upright and maintaining stability during other tasks. If you have a weak core, it will affect your training on other exercises, like the squat or even something as simple as a dumbbell curl. You need core strength to stabilize the weight before you can lift it for an exercise.

Additionally, the transverse abdominals — the “girdle” muscle that wraps around your midsection—becomes stronger and tighter through stabilizing isometric exercises, not through crunches. This means all those flailing ab exercises you’ve included in your ab training are missing the one muscle that helps tighten everything up.

Not to worry, there’s a simple solution: an exercise called planks. I don’t just mean the traditional version of the exercise, using the standard plank position. You should be working side planks into your training, too. By doing regular planks, then a plank for each side, in your abs workout, you will soon see a noticeable improvement in the look and strength of your core.

Tip 4: Don't Forget To Vacuum During Your Workout

Any bodybuilding fan has read about the top pros getting ripped for having distended stomachs onstage. Champions from the so-called Golden Era of bodybuilding used vacuums during a workout to keep their tummies tight. After previously falling out of favor, this classic waist-slimming exercise has made a comeback in recent years among the ab routine of today’s fitness stars.

Not only can you include vacuums in your ab training, you can also do this exercise in between sets when you’re training other muscles. It’s a simple way to double-down on your ab gains, and it can be a killer superset no matter what you’re training that workout.

Perform your normal set and follow it up by trying to do a vacuum before you start your next one. With a little practice and consistency, you’ll gain better control of your waistline and your breathing. This exercise can benefit your other training and workout routines, as well.

 

5 Killer Exercises to Make Your Abs Reach Full Form

ab-workout
24 Jul

The recipe for six-pack abs isn’t all that complicated: Crank out an abs workout, eat a nutrient-rich diet, and consume fewer late-night pizzas in a single sitting. The undisputed holy grail of men’s fitness is good for more than just an extra boost of confidence whenever you have cause to peel off your shirt.

Step 1 : Lie back on the decline bench. Position hands overhead. Knees are bent. 

Step 2 : Raise your upper body upward while keeping your lower back on the bench. Hold for one second, then return to the starting position.

Hanging Leg Raises

Step 1 : While holding onto a chin-up bar raising an overhand grip, hang with your knees bent slightly.

Step 2 : Pull your hips up as you curl inward toward your chest using the muscles of your lower abs. Lift your knees as close to your chest as possible, rounding your lower back at the top. Then, pause, feel the contraction in your lower-abdominal muscles, and return to the position you began with.

Crunches

Step 1 : While lying on your back, straighten your legs, raise your heels an inch off the floor, an place your hands by your sides.

Step 2 : Keeping your arms parallel to the floor lift your torso and legs. As you raise yourself, bend your knees and pull them up toward your chest. 

Sit-Ups

Step 1 : Lie back on the floor. Position your hands on your head an feet on the floor.

Step 2 : Raise your upper body upward keeping your lower back on the floor. Hold for one second, then return to the starting position.

Leg Raises

Step 1 : Lie down on the floor. Extend your legs straight. Position your hands behind your head. 

Step 2 : For more an effective exercise you can raise your upper body upward. Hold for one second. Return to the starting position.

Plank

Step 1 : Lie on the floor with your toes and forearms on the ground. Keep your body straight an hold this position as long as you can.