Six pack abs are like the fitness equivalent of a badge of honor. A lean rippling abdominal region tells the world that you’ve put lots of time and energy into staying in shape. It’s no wonder the six pack holds the place it does in popular culture. With some time and energy, you too can sport the six pack of your dreams.
Use hanging leg lifts to tone your abs without stressing your back. Hang from a pull-up bar with your legs and torso straight, but with what is called a "posterior pelvic tilt". This means a slight backward incline to the upper body where your pelvic region is tucked in. (This tilt is built into the "Roman Chair", an apparatus used for knee lifts and leg lifts. Hanging from a pull-up bar is more challenging and involves activation of more stabilizer muscles. There are elbow slings or sleeves which can be used to support your arms while hanging.) Without swinging, pull your knees up toward your chest. Pause briefly, and then slowly lower your legs to the start position. To make hanging leg lifts harder, perform them with your legs straight. Complete four sets of 15, increasing the number of total reps as you adapt to the exercise.
Build core strength and abdominal control with planks. Lie face down on the floor. Put your forearms underneath your chest and push your upper body up off the floor. With your toes on the floor, lift your hips up so only your arms and toes are supporting your weight. Keep your body straight and rigid and hold this plank position for 15 seconds at a time. Do four sets. Increase your duration as you adapt to the exercise. Consider adding crunches, side crunches, and other floor exercises to your ab workout as you adapt to the hanging knee/leg raises and the planks.
Burn the fat off your midsection with interval training. Using a stationary bike, warm up for 10 minutes at an easy pace. Following your warm up, raise the resistance and pedal as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Return to your warm-up pace for one minute before starting the next sprint. Repeat for five intervals.
Eat whole foods to keep your metabolism high. Try low-fat proteins like baked or grilled chicken, fish or lean meat. Fuel your workouts with complex carbs like oats and brown rice. Stay away from white flour, and sugar, which quickly raise your blood sugar, promoting fat gain around the middle.
Perform the abdominal exercises three times per week and the Interval training five days a week. Stick to your diet every day.
If you are currently less than 20 lbs. overweight, you will begin to see improved abdominal definition within a month. After three months, you should have a clearly defined abdominal region. If you are significantly overweight, you'll still see fat loss, but it may take longer to see clear abdominal definition.
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning - 3rd Edition"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2008
- "ACE Personal Trainer Manual: The Ultimate Resource for Fitness Professionals, 3rd Edition"; Cedric X. Bryant and Daniel J. Green; 2003