A lean and aesthetically pleasing midsection is something that many strive for and unlike any other body part it speaks volumes about your healthy lifestyle. In order to build the abdominals you need to take a different and smarter approach than simply lifting heavy weights like you do for legs or your chest.
The abs are primarily made up of four muscles to help us move around and provide us with support:
- Transversus abdominis: This is the deepest muscle layer. Its main roles are to stabilise the trunk and maintain internal abdominal pressure.
- Rectus abdominis: situated between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. This muscle is what forms your six-pack.
- External abdominal oblique muscles: These are found on each side of the rectus abdominis. The external oblique muscles allow the trunk to twist.
- Internal abdominal oblique muscles: These flank the rectus abdominis and are located just inside the hipbones. The internal oblique muscles allow the trunk to twist in the opposite way to the external oblique muscles.
Before you start your workout plan, remember you can strain your abdominal muscles from overstretching or overuse. An uncontrolled and poorly performed movement of the trunk can strain the abdominal muscles, which can be painful and difficult to manage if they occur close to ribs, pubic bone or hipbone, not to mention they will hold you back on your training.
To prevent injury make sure you warm up your muscles prior to each exercise routine and warm down afterwards.
What to eat
While taking part in this six-week abs programme, it is important to eat clean.
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We recommend a calorie intake of around 2,500 per day to ensure that you actively shed fat but the best way to get an accurate guide tailored to you is to work out your macros. Follow a high-protein diet plan – a regular diet whey protein shake and high-protein snacks such as a protein flapjacks will ensure you don’t lose muscle along the way. Limit your refined carbs, saturated fats, trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup.
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- Each workout circuit should be completed three times a week
- Take 30 seconds’ rest after one circuit then start again
- Rest for at least a day between workouts
- If you injure yourself, rest up and continue the workout another day
- Each workout should take 10 minutes to complete
- Focus on each movement and the contraction of the muscle
Perform all exercises listed below (one circuit), rest for 30 seconds then repeat the circuit one more time.
Pelvic tilt 15-20 reps
Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Then flatten your back onto the floor and tilt your hips upwards and hold for five seconds. It’s a small movement but very effective.
Twisting gym ball crunch 10-12 reps each side
Sit on a gym ball and place both hands behind your head. As you crunch up make sure you lead with your shoulder as opposed to your elbow and twist your body to the opposite side. Then lower back to the start position.
Side bridge 5 reps on each side
Lie sideways on the floor with your lower arm bent to support yourself and your upper arm on your hip. Move your hip upwards off the floor so that you’re balanced on your supporting arm and feet. Focusing on keeping your neck and spine in alignment and hold for five seconds before lowering back down.
Crunch with gym ball 15-20 reps
Lie on the floor with the gym ball under your calves and arms behind your head. When crunching upwards, focus on bringing your ribs to hips, exhaling as you contract and take care not to pull your neck or head with your arms. Hold the contraction for about 2 seconds then crunch back down.