Even if you're a teenager you can get ripped abs, if you're incorporating the right exercises into your routine. Although you do want to ensure you are working other muscle groups as well because, as the American Council on Exercise warns, otherwise you may find yourself dealing with "strength imbalances and postural difficulties." To get those washboard abs, you need targeted strength-training exercises for the abdominal muscles.
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The abdominal muscle group is made up of four major muscle groups. The transversus abdominus is the deepest layer, with the primary role of stabilizing the trunk. The rectus abdominus is the front layer, a paired muscle that spans from below the ribs to just above the pelvic bone. The oblique muscles, consisting of the internal and external oblique muscle groups, are on the sides of the trunk.
The basic crunch is simple yet effective at building the rectus abdominus muscles. Start flat on your back on the floor, hands behind your head, knees bent, feet flat. Keep your shoulder blades tight against the floor. Engage your core by tucking your lower abdomen in, exhale and bring your torso up toward your knees. Keep your feet and lower back against the floor during the exercise. Inhale as you lower yourself back down to your starting position.
On a low pulley machine, stand sideways with the outside of your left arm facing the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grasp the stirrup attachment with your left hand, keeping your arm straight down at your side. Pull the stirrup up by leaning your torso to the right, with your back straight and lower body rigid during the movement. Return to your starting position. Repeat, then switch sides.
Cable Seated Twist
The cable seated twist is an isolated exercise that targets the obliques. Seated on a bench with one leg over each side, with a side-facing medium-height pulley, position your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms straight in front of you and keeping your arms together, reach over and grab the pulley. Engage your core and twist your torso, keeping your arms straight and parallel to your thighs during the movement, moving the pulley to the opposite side. Twist back and repeat, then switch sides.
Barbell Push Situp
The barbell push situp is a compound exercise that works all of the abdominal muscles. Start on an incline bench, lying flat on your back with your feet anchored under the foot pad. Extend your arms straight above you so they are parallel to your thighs, grasping a barbell. Focus on your core and raise your torso up, keeping your arms straight and raising the barbell above you during the movement. Lower back down and repeat.
Do eight to 12 reps of each exercise to start, and only increase the weight when you can complete those 12 reps without impairing your form. Cardio is important, to burn fat and show the tight, toned muscle underneath. Cardio activity includes walking, cycling, rowing; anything that gets your heart rate going and improves the amount of oxygen in your blood. Do 10 to 15 minutes of mild to moderate cardio before your workout, or 20 to 30 minutes of more intense cardio separately during the week. It's also important to eat a clean diet, consisting of fruits, vegetables, foods high in protein, and otherwise natural, nutritious foods to keep you healthy, help you to burn fat and build muscle.