Summer is around the corner, and rocking abs at the beach is usually a hot topic of discussion. So what exactly goes into having poppin’ abs?
Well, everyone’s body type is different, but body fat levels have a significant impact on your ability to rock a visible six-pack. That’s why the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen” exists—nutrition plays a very important role!
However, keep in mind that every person stores fat differently, so don’t be discouraged if you are someone who holds fat in their mid-section. Hard work at the gym combined with attention to your nutrition will yield progress in the ab department.
That being said, so many other factors play into having visible abs.
Just as everyone’s body stores fat differently, everyone’s physical abdominal muscles are built in varying ways that may influence how your stomach looks. If you browse REAL progress photos you will notice that the size, shape, and insertion of the muscle can be drastically different.
Abdominals are muscles just like your biceps or glutes—if you want them to make a statement then you have to put in the work! The more developed and defined your abs are, the more shape they will have under your body fat. Even if you are already training using heavy compound movements, throwing in a few sets of direct ab training three or four days per week as a finisher is a great way to start seeing progress. Not only does core work have aesthetic benefits, but it will also carry over into stability in your training, improve your posture and protect your back.
Try adding some of the following exercises to your routine to get started!
Using a high cable machine and a rope attachment, face away from the cable stack with your glutes pressed up against the machine. Hold the rope behind your head with bent arms and hinge at the hips, keeping your core engaged throughout the entire set. You can assist this by engaging your abs in a slightly forward position as if you were tucking your belly button back to your spine. You do NOT need to come all the way up between each rep. Just keep constant tension.
On a pull-up bar, start from a still, hanging position. Raise your legs as far as you can while also engaging your abs. This could be touching your toes to the bar, legs straight to parallel or tucking knees to chest. Do whatever version you can comfortably perform without swinging or losing control. To increase difficulty, add a dumbbell between your feet.
Use an ab wheel or a barbell loaded with 45 lbs or bumper plates. Rest your knees on a mat and in a controlled fashion roll out as far as you can without caving your back. Your hips to shoulders should remain in a straight line throughout the movements. Roll back in, and repeat.
While having abs seems like it may be the only goal that matters, it’s important not to get too wrapped up in the aesthetics of it. What matters most is how you feel, but if six-pack abs are the next destination of your fitness journey, working with a WAG one-on-one nutrition coach can help you get there.