Abdominal workouts are a crucial part of any fitness routine or program. Strong abs will stabilize your core to help to prevent musculoskeletal problems. And, a lean physique with six-pack abs is aesthetically pleasing. However, your abdominal workout should be structured with care and it should involve more than merely considering the amount of time spent on it daily.
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The goal of abdominal workouts is to get a flat stomach and perhaps a six-pack. To achieve this, consider that your abdominal muscles are similar to other muscle groups and should be exercised accordingly. Exercise is merely stimulus and muscles react to the stimulus once they recover after a period of rest. Do not do abdominal workouts every day as three times a week is sufficient.
Strength training with free weights, resistance equipment or body weight exercises contributes to your abdominal workouts. When you do compound movements such as bench press, squats and leg presses, or body weight exercises such as press-ups, pull-ups or bar-dips, you use your abdominal muscles to stabilize your core. Ab muscles also stabilize your body during isolation movements such as barbell curls and triceps pushdowns. Do a strength training routine three times a week, 45 minutes per session, for a substantial abdominal workout.
Do abdominal exercises after your strength training routine. These could include exercises such as crunches, reverse crunches, hanging leg raises and dumbbell side raises for the obliques. Do two to three sets per exercise for maximum repetitions. Do super sets to increase intensity and really blast your abs. For example, do a set of crunches, immediately followed by a set of reverse crunches. Your ab exercise should not exceed 15 minutes -- perhaps 10 minutes or less if you do super sets.
Cardiovascular exercise should be an integral part of your abs workout program. Cardio will help to reduce your overall levels of body fat and abdominal fat to improve the visibility of underlying abdominal muscles. This gives you a six-pack. Do high intensity interval training twice a week. For example, jog for five minutes to warm up. Break into a 60 second sprint, then jog or brisk walk for 90 seconds. Repeat the sprint-brisk walk segment four times for an intense 10 minute cardio workout, which will swiftly burn off fat from your stomach.