The Truth About How To Get Ripped Abs
As you can see, Angie and I know a thing or two about what it takes to get ripped abs. We apply the strategies that we preach and walk the talk. In this article you will discover our favorite abs workout routine as well as 5 myths that could be holding you back from chiseling out the kind of midsection you desire. Forget about the hype and misleading information. In this article you will finally hear the truth about what it takes carve out a set of sexy six pack abs.
5 Myths About What It Takes To Get Ripped Abs
"Myths" may not be the best word to describe the list below. It's more like false truths or partial truths. Each of the myths below have some merit. They become a myth when an unethical fitness professional takes a narrow point of view in order to stir up controversy in an effort to get you to buy their hyped up fat loss program. Basically, they are putting money before the truth and do not have your best interests at heart.
It's time to cut through the smoke and mirrors act in order to reveal the big picture, allowing you to experience your best body transformation results possible.
Myth #1: Abs Are Made In The Kitchen
In order to see your abs you need to get your body fat percentage low enough to reveal them. This is best achieved in large part through diet, "In the kitchen". What makes this statement a partial truth is that even if you diet down to ultra lean levels, you are not guaranteed to have a ripped set of six pack abs.
I have encountered many men who dieted down to 6% body fat only to become extremely disappointed with what they saw in the mirror. Sure they could see some lines on their stomach and a faint outline of their lower abs, but their abs didn't POP OUT like they had hoped they would... especially after all of that hard work it took to get ripped.
If you want to develop eye catching abs that really stand out, you need to train your abs and work them hard in addition to following an effective body sculpting diet. We'll be sharing our favorite abs workout routine below, which will allow you to accomplish this goal.
Some trainers argue that in order to get ripped abs it's 80% diet and 20% training. I personally believe that both diet and training are equally important. You need to put your best effort toward your diet and your training.
Myth #2: Planks Are The Best Exercise To Work Your Abs
Planks have become a very popular exercise to work your abs, and rightfully so. They are incredible for building a strong core and you can perform them in a variety of ways; on the floor, stability ball, together with a side crunch by bringing your knee to your elbow (referred to as the Spiderman), and many other combinations.
It would be a smart move to incorporate some form of planks into your regular abs workout routine. It will help you build a solid foundation with benefits that will carry over to other exercises such as the Squat and Deadlift. But as effective as the Plank may be, it's not the best exercise for developing an impressive set of six pack abs.
Relying on Planks to sculpt your abs would be like relying on an isometric biceps curl to sculpt your arms. It will help, but you would be leaving so much potential on the table. Planks are great for tightening up your tummy, but they are not effective at thickening up your Rectus Abdominis, which is the midsection muscle that catches your attention on the cover of fitness magazines. In order to work your Rectus Abdominis effectively and build up a set of sexy six pack abs, you need to incorporate some type of crunching movement. This brings us to our next myth...
Myth #3: Avoid Crunches Because They Are Useless and Bad For Your Back
Thanks to mainstream fitness it has become politically incorrect to recommend crunches of any kind. This is unfortunate, because when crunches are performed properly, they are a very effective exercise for sculpting your abs. The argument against them is that they will lead to back injuries, yet in my 20 plus years of training with crunches I've never injured my back from them. In my 13 plus years of training clients I have never witnessed anybody injure their back from crunches. My doctor has never heard of anyone hurting their back from crunches... yet a segment of the fitness world lives in fear of them.
Sure, if all you do is train your abs with crunches you will run the risk of creating a muscle imbalance that could lead to an injury. But is that the fault of crunches themselves or the fault of a poor workout design? If all you did was train your quads you would create a muscle imbalance leading to an increased risk of injuring your hamstrings... but is that the fault of the exercises that you performed to build your quads? Of course not... so why is it any different with crunches and exercises that flex the trunk?
The Rectus Abdominis muscle is designed to flex. Performing crunching movements with proper form is the best way to fully develop them. Floor crunches, stability ball crunches, cable crunches, and double crunch are all great exercises for developing your abs. Do not fear them. With a balanced training approach, these crunch variations will play a key role in the development of your best midsection possible.
Myth #4: You Should Only Perform Functional Exercises For Your Abs
There are multiple schools of thought on what functional really means when it comes to training your abs. One school of thought involves unstable surfaces, another school of thought focuses solely on Plank variations, and another school of thought is under the belief that you do not have to perform direct abs workouts if you are doing Front Squats and Deadlifts. Each of these approaches has some merit and they have their place in the overall development of your abs... but on their own they are not nearly as effective as if you combine them all together.
There is absolutely no doubt that I feel an intense contraction in my abs when I'm performing heavy Front Squats. I love the feeling as my entire core tenses up to stabilize my midsection while my legs do all the grunt work. But to rely on Front Squats to develop my best set of six pack abs possible would be silly. This school of thought typically comes from the crowd of trainers who also believe that you should never workout your arms because they are used in all of the other compound pushing and pulling movements, which I believe is equally silly if your goal is to look your absolute best.
I'm all for incorporating exercises on unstable surfaces. I just feel that it can go too far, risk even greater injury, and I don't believe that an entire program should revolve around them. For one, you do have to reduce the amount of weight that you can lift. You also can't challenge the abs in a direct fashion and give them the focused attention that they deserve. But by incorporating some exercises on an unstable surface you will enhance the other exercises that you perform on stable surfaces.
Myth #5: You Can't Train Your Lower Abs
Some fitness trainers will argue that you can't work your lower abs, because the Rectus Abdominis is one long muscle. To a certain degree they do have a point. But it's only partially true. What you can do is place more emphasis on the lower abs by performing certain exercises with proper form and control.
Hanging Knee Raises, Reverse Crunches, and the Jackknife among several other exercises will definitely place extra emphasis on the lower abdominals. Basically any exercise where the movement involves tilting your pelvis up toward your chest, will place extra emphasis on the lower section of your abs.
The word "emphasis" is the key here. With each of the above abs exercises your entire Rectus Abdominis muscle will be working, but you should "feel" more tension and contraction in the lower abs compared to how they "feel" when you are performing other crunching movements.
The lower abdominals tend to fatigue quicker than the upper portion of the Rectus Abdominis, which is why I prefer to perform them toward the beginning of an abs routine.
The Truth About Sculpting a Set Of Sexy Six Pack Abs
As mentioned earlier, I believe that equal importance needs to be placed on diet and and a strategically planned body sculpting workout program. Diet allows you to control your caloric intake, setting you up for fat loss, as well as fueling your body for optimal performance and lifestyle.
If you want to sculpt a sexy set of six pack abs while developing a strong core that will allow you to perform at your absolute best while looking your absolute best, you MUST follow a strategically designed workout program that includes functional exercises, crunching movements that emphasize the upper and mid section of the Rectus Abdominis, crunching movements that emphasize the lower section of the Rectus Abdominins, and exercises that work the Transverse Abdominals and Obliques.
Here's one of my favorite abs workout routines that incorporates all of the above...
You will start the abs workout off by performing three straightsets of Hanging Knee Raises, resting for 30 seconds between sets. Aim for 12-15 reps. This exercises places more emphasis on the lower abdominals. Notice how I curl the pelvis upward with this movement and bring my knees toward my chin. Most people perform this exercise incorrect by only bringing their knees up to the point where their legs are at a 90 degree angle with their torso. This places more emphasis on the hip flexors and psoas muscles rather than the lower abs.
Next you will perform four dropsets of the Cable Crunch with no rest between sets other than the time that it takes to reduce the weight. Aim for 8-12 reps. This exercise targets the upper and mid abdominals.
Now you will move onto a three supersets between a 1 Dumbbell Twist and a Stability Ball Plank. There is no rest between exercises, but 60 seconds rest between sets. Aim for 15 reps for the 1 Dumbbell Twist and holding the Stability Ball Plank for 60 seconds. These exercises will target your Transverse Abdominals and Obliques.
In conclusion, the BEST approach to sculpting sexy six pack abs is a balanced approach. Avoid falling into dogmatic outlooks that some fitness pros use solely for the purpose of stirring up controversy. Remember, each school of thought has some merit and a place in an overall balanced program.
How often you train your abs is very individual and depends upon how quickly you can recover from the previous abs workout. Three to six days is more than sufficient when combined with a strategically designed body sculpting workout program such as Metabolic Masterpiece.
Angie and I challenge you to perform the abs workout that we shared above. Tell us how your abs feel at the end of the routine. This is a balanced approach that should leave you feeling fried through and through.
Remember, Angie and I practice what we preach and walk the talk. These are the same routines that we use on ourselves with great success. It's been incredibly rewarding to witness our fellow Metabolic Masterpiece Physique Artists applying this balanced approach and experiencing the same level of success too. Now it's your turn to carve out that sexy set of six pack abs that you deserve.
Sculpt a Masterpiece,
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About The Author
Scott Tousignant, BHK, is a Certified Fitness Consultant with a passion for transforming fitness enthusiasts goal driven, dedicated, and voracious physique artists who take pride in their body, fitness, health, and lifestyle. Embraced by physique artists around the world, his Metabolic Masterpiece Body Sculpting Programs will guide you through the process of sculpting your body into a work of art, by applying what Scott has coined, “The A.T.T.R.A.C.T. Formula.
With his synergistic, boredom busting body sculpting workouts you will melt stubborn fat and gain muscle while skyrocketing your metabolism!
The art of molding and chiseling an aesthetically pleasing physique with ideal proportions and spectacular symmetry is one of life’s most rewarding and fulfilling experiences. It’s an opportunity for self growth and self discovery that will impact every area of your life.