AbsFrequently Asked Questions
Are there myths or broscience about building abs?
Many myths about building abs are circulating in gym locker rooms and online, so if you’re not careful, you might end up building your abs the wrong way, or not building them at all.
One of the biggest myths I know is that you can build abs just by dieting. Some trainers even go as far as following a starvation diet. Obviously this will make you lose weight fast, but unless you’re going for the concentration camp survivor look, I would suggest you give up believing this myth.
Abs are muscles. You develop and sculpt muscles through training, not dieting alone. Dieting will help you trim down, but becoming as thin as a stick won’t automatically give you a 6-pack. It just doesn’t work that way.
Another myth surrounding ab workouts is that your diet doesn’t matter. Now before you think I am contradicting what I just said above, go back and read it again. I said it’s a lie to build abs JUST by dieting. I said you develop your ab muscles by training, not by dieting ALONE. You build your abs through training AND dieting. The two go hand-in-hand. The hours you spend planking or doing sit-ups at the gym will produce very little results if you consume way more calories than you should every day. Eating whatever you want at unlimited amounts is definitely not the most efficient way to get this done.
The last myth I wanted to cover here is the one that says you need to do heaps of exercises and use tons of equipment to build abs. I know several trainers who have built their 6-pack using only free weights. I also know a few trainers who achieved their shredded abs through bodyweight exercises. You can definitely build abs by doing simple exercises and using simple equipment. You just need to be consistent and do them with the proper form.
What are some examples of abs exercises?
Amazing abs are up for grabs, particularly for trainers who include these ab-specific exercises to their workout.
1. The Dumbbell Crunch
This exercise targets your upper abs. Lie down on your back, hold the dumbbell heads with both hands, palms facing each other, and extend your arms high above your chest. Lift your upper torso just like with crunches and keep your abs activated throughout. Do 10 of these for each rep, with rests of about 10 seconds between reps.
2.The Modified V-sit
Lie down with your knees bent and feet flat on your mat. Place your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Bring your torso up and your knees in so your chest and knees meet, forming a V, then lower down. Each movement needs to be controlled. If you’re not feeling the burn, you’re not doing it right! Reps are the same as above.
3. The Hanging Leg Raise
Now to get those lower abs working, I recommend you do hanging leg raises. First, you need to find a heavy-duty bar to hang from. Start with a dead hang, and while keeping your legs straight, lift them up (aim for more than a 90-degree angle to feel the burn) and then lower them again. Do 10 reps of 10 leg raises each with 10-second rest periods.
4. The Garhammer Raise
This is another lower ab-busting workout that requires you to start at a dead-hanging position. Raise your legs and bend your knees to form a 90-degree angle and then bring them up as high as possible. Lower them up to the 90-degree angle and lift them up again. Do reps of 20 for this one with a 90-second rest period.
What's the right diet to build abs, fast?
As I mentioned earlier, you won’t get killer abs without eating right. And by eating right, I mean eating the right amount of the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones.
If you’re really serious about building your abs, stick to low-calorie, highly nutritious foods. I’m talking vegetables, fruits and grains. Some of the best foods for building abs include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains such as buckwheat, oats and barley
- Nuts and seeds
- Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna
- Legumes such as beans, lentils and peas
Make sure you avoid eating fried and sugary foods as well as refined grains (white bread, white rice and pasta). Lastly, keep yourself hydrated with the good stuff. Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol. Certain beverages such as green tea have been linked to weight loss and reduced belly fat, so you may want to stock up on that too.
Remember that your diet plays an important role in your ab-building goals. Adjust your diet as you see fit and include more protein and carbs to fuel your muscle-building workouts.
What equipment will help me get killer abs?
Using gym equipment may not be the only way to get washboard abs, but it certainly makes things easier. If you’re looking for functional gear to help you get ripped, we’ve got you covered.
1. Medicine Ball
A weighted medicine ball is one of the best gifts you can give your abs. The exercises you can do with it are endless. From seated oblique twists to ball planks, you can build some serious abs with these guys. Don’t let their small size fool you—they can do some real damage if misused so make sure you handle them with caution.
2. Vertical Knee Raise Machine
Some pros will tell you this machine is the be-all and end-all of the rectus abdominis-targeting machines and I’m one of them. This machine helps you do the vertical knee raise with the proper form and range of motion for a pretty powerful ab-blasting workout.
3. Exercise Ball
An exercise ball adds variation to your abs exercises.
4. The Exercise Mat
Yup, the exercise mat shouldn’t be sniffed at, especially when it comes to ab workouts. You’ll spend a fair amount of time lying on the floor while you’re building your abs, and this mat is essential for your comfort all throughout your routine.