The best exercises for training your abs do not need to be complex. In fact, the best exercises are simple. Don’t fall for the overpromise of Infomercials where they promise to give you great abs using electrical stimulus, fat burning pills, or whatever else is the gimmick for that day.

Abs are made in the kitchen, but you need more than just a good diet.

If you are like most of our clients, your abs are an area that you don’t feel like you can work too much. But it seems like no matter what you do, it just isn’t working. In order to lose bodyfat, you must train the entire body. The basic premise being that you need to expend more calories than you take in, but this must be paired with a well-balanced healthy diet (this is where the phrase abs are made in the kitchen comes from).

Balancing out your diet alone, however, will not lead to a six pack. To get great abs, you must train your abdominal muscles the same way you train your biceps and triceps. So, you can’t avoid planks, crunches, or weighted sit ups. All of these movements, as well as others, provide you with the necessary stimulus and make up the core components of a program to get you the best abs you want. Here is our list of 10 things you should, or shouldn’t, do to get a great set of abs

Perform compound movements and weight training. If you only do isolated movements such as crunches, you are ignoring movements which have shown to be beneficial to getting you a six pack. Compound movements like deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses engage your entire core more so than sit ups and crunches.

Don’t perform abs too early in your workout. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t want to work on your abs first. Doing so will fatigue them too early, thus, having a negative impact on the compound movements mentioned above. Let the compound exercises allow you to move heavy weights, and use your targeted ab exercise as a finisher. Think of the compounds as the cake, and the isolated exercises as the icing.

You can’t burn off a bad diet. No matter how many crunches you do, you will never be able to burn of the detrimental side effects of having a bad diet. It just isn’t going to happen. The secret to abs that are visible is in a lower body fat percentage. You can have rock hard abs that simply aren’t visible because of the layers of fat that are on top, so keep your diet as clean as possible so your hard work will show.

You don’t need to train abs every day. Your abs are just like any other muscle group. In order to grow, your abs need to be rested to allocate for time to repair. If you work on your abs every single day, you are not allowing them to have the time to come back stronger.

You need to do more than just crunches. Similar to using compound movements to stimulate ab growth, there are other movements you need to have in your tool kit to help you get a better six pack. Additionally, studies have shown that traditional crunches are one of the least effective ab exercises. Instead, try doing planks (weighed and bodyweight); the Spiderman plank crunch; bicycle crunch; or weighted front planks. These movements will stimulate your abs more than isolated crunches alone.

Add the above tips to your tool box. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. If you are ready to make a change, schedule your free one-on-one goal setting session with us to learn how we can help you reach your goals.