It is difficult, if not impossible, to define and tone a single part of your body. If you want to shape your abs, you should lose body fat in addition to working on your abdominal muscles. Even if you have strong, toned muscles, they will be hard to see if you are a little overweight. In addition to abdominal exercises, cardio training and a proper diet will help you shape and show off your abs.
First thing: Sculpting your abs
More than just a flat stomach, you want to see your abs take shape and appear those coveted chocolate bars. Follow our tips to show off the body of a Greek statue this summer.
In 1994, Mark Simpson, a British journalist, coined the term “metrosexual”. The word, which entered the dictionary in 2010, is, according to its creator, “the male consumer dreamed of by advertisers”, a city dweller who is very concerned with his appearance. Eighteen years later, Mark Simpson believes that his reign is over. A new kind of man, pumped up, is emerging as his successor: the spornosexual. He goes to the gym and does not forget, after the shower, to immortalize the moment with a selfie. This new diktat of a solid body with protruding muscles appeals to men who fantasize about being able to show off a “six pack” as if carved from a block of marble. Here’s a list of tips on how to sculpt your abs intelligently and safely.
1. Do cardio.
Although cardio training itself does not shape or tone the abdominal muscles, it is essential to lose weight or reduce the layer of fat that may be masking your abdominal muscles.
- Do at least 150 minutes of cardio per week. This is the minimum amount of time recommended by most health professionals.
- However, if you don’t see results or find that it’s not going fast enough, you can increase the overall duration of your sessions to 300 minutes per week.
- You can also increase the intensity of your cardio sessions. If you do more intense efforts, you can spend less time working out. For example, studies have shown that if you do 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise instead of 150 minutes of moderate exercise, you will get the same results.
2. Do a split.
In addition to traditional, constant-intensity cardio training (any exercise you do for 10 minutes continuously without changing intensity), some studies show that split training can help you lose more weight.
- A split workout consists of alternating short, very high intensity phases with moderate intensity phases. This type of training is designed to get the heart rate up and push the body aerobically.
- An example of a split workout is alternating sprinting and moderate running on a treadmill or inclining the treadmill to help increase the heart rate.
- Split sessions help burn more fat and maintain a high metabolism long after the session is over.
3. Do compound exercises.
Compound exercises work multiple joints and muscle groups at the same time. They help you gain strength and get results faster. Include the following compound exercises to help shape your abs:
- Shoulder presses.
4. Try the Tabata Method.
The Tabata method is a split workout that lasts only 20 minutes. It helps burn calories while building muscle and therefore building abs.
- To perform the Tabata method, you’ll need to do 20 seconds of very high intensity exercise before resting for 10 seconds. Do eight repetitions over four minutes.
- You can do any exercise, but compound exercises will be the most effective. Try squats, push-ups, rowing or kettlebell exercises.
- The Tabata method can include push-ups, squats, back raises and burpees. Whatever the exercise, give it your all for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and then repeat until you have completed all 8 reps. You can rest for one minute between each set.
5. Take a rest day.
It is important to do cardio and strength training, but it is equally important to take time to rest.
Typically, it is recommended to include one or two days of rest on the weekend. Ideally, you should still be active on this rest day, but don’t do anything moderate or very intense. Include a relaxation session, as well as low-impact, low-intensity activities to keep you moving. You can stretch, do some rejuvenating yoga or walking.
Also, it’s not a good idea to do crunches every day. Many people think that abs are the only muscle group that can be worked on a daily basis. However, most sports professionals recommend doing sit-ups only once every few days.
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Second thing: Incorporate exercises that target the abdominals
Abdominal exercises help strengthen the muscles that keep our torso upright. Located at the front of the trunk, they extend over the flanks and connect to the lumbar region. This whole grouping is often called the abdominal-lumbar belt. The transversus abdominis, which is the deepest muscle, plays a very important role in maintaining the spine. It prevents our stomach from moving forward. Finally, for our posture, the rectus abdominis, helped by the gluteal muscles, allows our torso to straighten up and our spine not to curve.
Thus, having toned abdominal muscles allows us to maintain a good posture and to stand up straight.
This has the advantage of protecting the back and especially the lower back area which is the site of frequent and disabling pain (low back pain affects nearly 90% of individuals during their lifetime).
1. Do the plank.
This exercise is great for toning a large portion of your muscle groups (i.e. your abdominal muscles, back muscles and leg muscles). You can vary the exercises to increase the intensity of the session and the muscles targeted.
- Begin by lying face down on an activity mat. Lift yourself into a push-up position, resting your body weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be in line with your shoulders.
- Push your pelvis slightly forward and form a straight, rigid line with your body. Don’t dig your back in, and don’t make your back rounded either. The entire front of your body must work to hold the position. Hold as long as you can.
- Try varying the exercise by rocking your hips from side to side. Rotate your hips from right to left while keeping your body straight. The tips of your hips should almost touch the floor. This will work the oblique muscles.
- You can do the plank on your side. Start by doing the plank and turn to one side of your body. Continue to rest your body weight on your forearm, but keep your shoulders and hips in line. The arm you are not resting on should rest on your hip.
2. Incorporate V-sit.
This exercise works almost your entire abdominal belt. If you vary this exercise a bit, you can work the rectus abdominis.
- Start by sitting on an exercise mat with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Lie back slightly and slowly bring your knees up to your chest. Your shins should be elevated and parallel to the floor.
- As you bring your knees up to your chest, keep your arms straight out in front of you. Do not use your arms or hands to stabilize your body.
- Slowly increase the width of the “V” you form with your body by extending your legs out in front of you and reaching further. Bring your knees and chest together. Repeat as many times as you like.
- To increase the intensity of this exercise, you can stretch your legs completely.
- Increase the intensity of this exercise by extending and stretching your legs straight out. Your legs should be at the same angle to the rest of your body and your toes should be pointing towards the ceiling.
3. Do Russian rotations.
Russian rotations are a simpler exercise to perform. This one specifically works the rectus abdominis and obliques.
- To begin, sit on an exercise mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your knees so that your legs are at a 90-degree angle to your trunk.
- Lie back slightly and lift your legs a few inches off the floor. You should feel your abdominals contract to help you maintain the posture.
- Clasp your hands together and turn to the left, trying to push your hands as far behind your body as possible. Slowly bring your hands back in front of your body and turn to the right, again trying to push your hands as far behind your body as possible.
- To increase the intensity of this exercise, you can speed up the pace or use a short barbell to create more resistance.
4. Try leg raises.
Deadlifts work the entire abdominal belt, but they particularly work your lower abdominals and hip flexors. It’s a challenging exercise, but one that produces excellent results.
- Lie on your back or on an exercise mat. Extend your arms close to your body or place your hands under your pins (this can help stabilize your body). Keep your legs reached out before you.
- Keeping your legs together and straight, slowly lift them up until they are perpendicular to the floor. You will need to work your abdominal muscles to maintain proper posture. Your lower back ought to stay adhered to the floor.
- Slowly lower your legs, keeping them straight. Repeat the exercise as many times as necessary.
- If this exercise is too difficult, you can start by bending your knees slightly. As you gain strength, you will be able to keep your legs straight.
5. Do hanging leg raises.
This is a slightly more complicated exercise, but one that works your entire abdominal belt.
- Hold on to a pull-up bar and keep yourself upright.
- As you work your abs, slowly lift your knees up to your chest. Try not to sway your body and don’t take a swing to help lift your legs.
- Hold your knees at chest level for a few seconds before slowly lowering them back down to the starting position.
- Repeat and slowly raise your knees again. Do not swing or use momentum to perform this exercise.
✅ Read Also : 5 TIPS FOR HOW TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN MUSCLE
Last thing: Have an appropriate diet
You need to burn more energy than you consume to reduce body fat. This caloric deficit is how you will lose weight. However, be reasonable, because there are limits! Make sure you consume enough calories. An energy shortage somewhere in the range of 300 and 500 calories is a protected rule for solid weight reduction. By slowly lowering your body fat, you will be less likely to experience the yo-yo effect. Remember, it’s better to reach your goal slowly but surely!
In addition, there is no secret to losing belly fat and having concrete abs, you start by reducing your caloric intake. Of course, we hydrate a lot by favouring diuretic drinks such as green tea with its antioxidant properties, which we no longer need to introduce, or artichoke-based drinks that promote elimination.
1. Count your calories.
It is very important to count the calories you consume during the day. In order to achieve a well-defined and visible abdomen, you will need to get rid of your excess weight.
- If you think your abs are toned and you want to make them more visible, decrease the number of calories you eat. This can help you lose weight and eliminate the layer of excess fat that covers your abs.
- Typically, it is recommended that you eliminate 500 calories from your daily diet (or burn them off by exercising). You will lose between 500 g and 1 kg per week, which is safe and reasonable.
- If you cut out more calories, it may slow down your weight loss over time and you may burn muscle instead of fat. This may defeat your goal of building abs.
- If you think your weight or body fat is fine, count calories anyway to keep the weight off. Use an online calorie counter to help you know how many you need to consume to maintain your weight.
2. Consider a low-carb diet.
Low-carbohydrate diets have been shown to help you lose weight quickly by decreasing body fat and water retention. This is great if you want to significantly shape your abs.
- Carbohydrates are present in a large number of foods. For example, they are found in cereals, dairy products, starchy foods and legumes, and fruit. Don’t eliminate all of these foods from your diet or you will end up with an unbalanced diet and a lack of vital nutrients for your body.
- Instead, eliminate foods that contain almost only carbohydrates and contain nutrients that you can find in other foods. This includes grains and starches.
- Also, choose fruits that are low in carbohydrates (like berries, for example). You’ll get less carbohydrates for more fiber and vitamins. Dairy products are rich in protein, calcium and essential minerals, so you should eat them too.
- Usually, when you follow this type of diet, you start by losing only water. This is quite normal. The weight loss that follows usually comes from your fat reserve.
3. Choose lean protein and non-starchy vegetables.
To significantly limit your carbohydrate intake, the majority of your diet should include lean protein, vegetables (excluding starches) and low-sugar fruit.
- Fruits and vegetables (excluding starches) should make up half of your meals and snacks. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and are the most important components of a nutritious diet.
- Protein is also an essential nutrient, especially when you’re trying to tone your abs and decrease body fat. Try to include one or two servings of lean protein daily (about the size of your palm ). Choose eggs, poultry, lean beef, pork, seafood, tofu and low-fat dairy products.
4. Limit snacks and treats.
If you want to shape your abs, you need to limit snacks. If you eat too many or too rich snacks, you risk gaining weight and therefore moving away from your goals.
- If you must have a snack, it should be 150 calories or less. Make these snacks part of your training or weight loss program.
- As with your meals, snacks should be lean protein with some fruit or vegetables.
- Also, only eat snacks when you need them. If you’re really hungry and your stomach is rumbling, but your next meal isn’t for two hours, then have a snack. But, if you’re bored or just feel like snacking, try to hold back.
5. Drink plenty of water.
It is important for your overall health to drink an adequate amount of water. It can also help you manage your weight.
- Try to drink at least 2 L of water per day (about 8 glasses). However, some health professionals recommend drinking up to 13 glasses a day. This depends on your age, gender and activity level.
- Drink water to feel good and to keep your hunger at bay.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Some studies show that drinking too much alcohol can increase fat storage around your waistline. Limit yourself to one drink a day if you are a woman and two drinks if you are a man. However, if your goal is to lose some weight and tone your abs, it may be best to stop drinking altogether.