Have you ever spent countless hours in the gym during winter to get frustrated at the lack of definition of your abs? Don’t worry, there is hope! Taking specific measures with some patience and dedication can help you get natural 6-pack abs for the summer.
Unlike other muscle groups like legs and arms, abs are a muscle group that you can work out daily. This is because the abdominal muscle comprises smaller muscles that you can work on consistently without resting. The muscles include:
- The rectus abdominis
- The internal and external obliques
- Transverse abdominis.
You can work out these abs muscles anywhere, whether at home or the gym. All you need is to couple daily abs workouts with cardio and a healthy diet, and you will be ready to put on your bathing suit for summer.
Importance of Strong Abs
It’s pretty obvious why we all want washboard abs. They look great, make you feel confident, and are a great way to show off your hard work in the gym.
Here are some other reasons why having strong abs is good for your health:
- Strong abs improve your posture and balance.
- Strong abs help prevent injury.
- Strong abs increase your athletic performance.
- Strong abs help improve your overall health and fitness levels. For example, if you suffer from chronic back pain, strengthening your abdominals will help alleviate some of those symptoms and increase mobility in your spine.
How to Get Washboard Abs for The Summer
Washboard abs are the goal of many bodybuilders who want to get in shape. They look great, and they’re a sign that you stay fit and healthy. However, getting washboard abs can be a challenge because it requires hard work and dedication.
There are many different ways to achieve this goal, combining diet with exercise is the best way to achieve it. Below are the ways to achieve your goal of 6-pack abs:
Cutting is when you reduce your calories and increase your cardio, and it is the most effective way to get washboard abs. You need to eat fewer calories than you burn off each day for your body to begin burning fat stores for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrates or protein from foods such as meat or dairy products. You can eat 500 calories less than what you burn each day.
A healthy balanced diet should consist of 1,200-1,600 calories per day, depending on your fitness goal. If you are not sure how many calories you burn, use an online calculator. You will also need to do cardio for at least 30 minutes, 3-5 times per week.
Besides cutting on carbs, cut out processed foods from your diet. Processed foods are high in sugar, leading to weight gain and belly fat. Instead, eat whole or minimally processed foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
Eat healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Healthy fats will keep you full longer, help with digestion, and provide essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to work out properly.
Also, eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like oats, bran cereals, and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes. The more fiber you eat, the more likely you will lose weight leading to washboard abs before summer.
Working Out Regularly
Working out regularly is crucial because it will help you burn fat from all over your body to get those natural 6-pack abs out. It is best to incorporate abs into your routine daily if you want abs. The more often you work out, the better your results will be. Experts say you should aim for at least three days a week of ab workouts, but five or six days is ideal.
Cardio exercises like running or swimming are great for burning fat because they raise the heart rate and make the bodywork harder for longer. Weight training is also beneficial because it builds muscle mass, increasing metabolism, so you burn more calories throughout the day even when not working out.
Best Abs Workout
A good abs workout should target all three abdominal muscles. The following are some of the best ab exercises for women and men in bodybuilding:
1. Weighted Plank Holds
Planks are essential to any core routine because they build strength in your entire body while activating your core muscles and improving balance and stability.
Start in a plank position with your forearms resting on two dumbbells (or kettlebells) to perform a weighted plank hold. Your shoulders should be directly over your wrists so that they’re not sagging or rolling forward as you hold this position. Also, keep your back straight and your head looking down at the ground in front of you.
Lower yourself down until your arms are straight and supported by the weights below them by bending your elbows until they are at a 90-degree angle or lower if you can’t keep them flat on the ground. That is one repetition. Press back up into starting position, repeat 5 reps of 3 sets, and rest for 60 seconds between sets.
2. Leg Lifts
This exercise is excellent for toning and tightening your lower abs. Lie on your back with your legs straight and together. Keeping them straight, lift your legs to the ceiling until your butts are about six inches off the floor, then slowly lower them until they’re just above the floor. Hold for a moment.
Raise your legs again. Repeat this exercise 5 times and rest 60 seconds between sets, increasing repetitions each time you do it until you reach 50 reps total.
3. The One-Arm Dumbbell Row
The one-arm dumbbell row is an excellent exercise for training your entire back and core. It’s also a perfect way to strengthen your grip, which can help with other exercises like pull-ups and chin-ups.
To perform this exercise, start by holding a dumbbell in one hand with an overhand grip (palm facing up). Place your other hand and knee on the bench for support as you bend at the waist until your torso is parallel with the floor (or slightly below parallel). Your knees should be slightly bent but locked out during this movement.
With your elbows at your sides, lift one arm towards your chest until it’s level with your torso. Extend your arm to bring the dumbbell towards you to feel the tension in your upper back muscles. Slowly lower the weight to the starting position and repeat with the other arm. Perform 8 reps of 3 sets, resting 60 seconds between sets.
4. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are an excellent exercise for building upper body strength, not to mention your core.
Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your legs straight back behind you. Keeping your core tight, bring one knee up toward your chest as far as you can.
Reverse the motion by switching legs ( pulling one knee out and the other in).
Run your knees in and out fast as you can on the opposite side, then do the same on the other side. Do 10 reps of 3 sets resting 45 seconds between sets.
The key to mountain climbers is keeping good form throughout the movement, so make sure you keep your hips low and don’t allow them to rise as you bring one leg up.
You can also do mountain climbers while holding dumbbells in each hand by extending one arm out in front of you at shoulder height with a weight in each hand while holding onto an anchor point or using a strap around each wrist.
5. Russian Twist
A Russian twist is one of the best abs workouts you can do almost anywhere. It works your abdominal muscles and your obliques). It also strengthens your lower back and gluteal muscles.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet firmly pressing on the ground. With your arms behind your head, lift your body to be in a seated position. Slowly rotate your torso from side to side, keeping your core muscles tight throughout the entire movement. Perform 10 repetitions on each side for 3 sets.
6. Stability Ball Jackknife
The stability jackknife is an excellent move for working on multiple muscle groups simultaneously, especially strengthening your abs muscles.
Start in a pushup position with your shins on top of the stability ball and your body forming a straight line on the ground. Keeping the core tight and knees locked, contract your abs, and pull the ball toward you by bending your knees toward your chest. Pause, then return to start. That’s one rep.
Inhale as you slowly lower back to the starting position. Complete 10 reps before for 5 sets, resting 60 seconds between sets. Slowly bend your knees until they touch the ground directly under them and return to the starting position. Repeat this movement for 10 reps before switching sides.
7. Criss Cross Crunches
It is a great abs workout that will target the upper and lower abs and obliques. This exercise works your core and helps tone and define your arms.
To perform the exercise, lay on your back with legs straight in the air and arms by your sides. Cross one leg over the other so that you are now lying on your side.
Lower them slowly to return to starting position. Repeat ten times on each side before switching sides and repeating.
8. Side Planks
Side planks are among the best core exercises to help you cut belly fat to get a flat stomach and lean waist. When done correctly, side planks will strengthen your oblique muscles and develop a nice curve in your lower back, which will help tighten your waistline.
To perform a side plank, lie on your side with your right elbow directly underneath your right shoulder. With the neck straight, lift your hip off the floor by pressing the right elbow into the floor to parallel with the ground and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. That’s one set. Repeat on the left side and rest 30 seconds between sets.
9. Modified Knee-ins
Knee-ins are great for toning the lower abs and hip flexors. To do them, lie on your back with knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the ground, with arms resting by your side or extended straight out in front of you at shoulder height (if you’re feeling adventurous).
Tilt your pelvis up so that it’s almost parallel to the ground and slowly bring one knee towards your chest without bending either knee more than 90 degrees during this movement. Hold for 2 seconds at the top of the movement before returning to the starting position. Do 20 repetitions on each side; rest for 30 seconds between sets.
10. Dumbbell Deadbugs
Dumbbell dead bugs are a great exercise to help develop core strength and stability.
It is performed by lying on the floor with a dumbbell held at arm’s length above your chest and your feet off the floor with knees bent at 90 degrees.
Exhale as you slowly lower one leg to the floor until it is about 6 inches off the ground, while you also lower the opposite leg to the floor overhead. Pause or inhale before returning to the starting position with the other leg and arm. Perform 8-12 reps on each side 3 sets.
Summer is just around the corner, and it’s time to get your abs ready. You will look good in a bathing suit, but having washboard abs can also make you feel better this summer.
Consider what you want to achieve—and set realistic goals for yourself in the meantime. Rather than taking on everything at once, tackle one change at a time. A focused approach will give you better results, especially in the long run. With enough work and perseverance, that leaner look is bound to come sooner or later. Start putting in work today!