What Ab Exercises & Workouts Are Best
Speaking strictly from the point of view of having awesome abs and a sexy stomach, I dont really have any recommendations for specific workouts or exercises because I dont really think its going to matter much.
Which is why my go-to recommendation in the routines I design is simply this: do about 10 minutes worth of whatever ab training you want twice per week at the end of a workout.
Yeah, seriously. thats it. Thats all you need, and thats as specific as I feel I need to get. Again, the details really arent going to matter much in my opinion, so feel free to do whatever you like best.
As for me personally, I tend to keep it pretty basic and typically choose from the usual stuff: various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc.. Nothing fancy. Just about 10 minutes of whatever at the end of a workout twice per week, mostly in the 8-15 rep range.
Simple as that.
And yes, some degree of progressive overload should be taking place during ab training. So depending on the type of exercise being done, you might progress by doing more reps, or adding more weight, or adding more time, or moving on to harder variations. Or, all of the above.
You’re Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein is great for fat loss, according to Dr Luke. “It helps build and preserve lean muscle tissue and can increase the amount of calories you burn. It’s also a great source of energy that helps you feel fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted to snack.”
Good sources include:
Remember, though: do opt for the lean sources of protein where possible, as some can be deceptively high in saturated fat, he advises. Need some inspiration for low carb, high protein meals? Look no further.
How To Do A Front Plank
Walker recommends these steps to doing a plank:
Aim for three sets of 60 seconds. But it’s fine to begin with shorter sets if you are just starting out.
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Body Recomposition Is A Long Game
Because you’re trying to do two things at once — lose fat and gain muscle — you can’t treat a body recomposition plan like a fad diet. Healthy weight loss and healthy muscle gain both take a long time on their own: Put them together and you’re in it for the long haul. The slow, steady process of body recomposition offers sustainable results, though, so you’ll enjoy your new physique for as long as you maintain those habits.
Body recomposition is a fine balance between building muscle and losing fat.
Combine Treatments For Muscle Gain
Combining treatments may lead to additive effects. In some cases, it might be necessary to even see effects. A 2018 report in the Journals of Gerontology looked at the impact of combining resistance exercises and a diet rich in polyunsaturated fat, PUFA, in older women.
The researchers randomly assigned the women to one of three conditions: control, resistance training and resistance training plus PUFA intake. Interestingly, compared to controls, only women in the combined treatment group showed hypertrophy. Those women had a 23 percent increase in muscle mass after 24 weeks of exercise.
These findings suggest that hypertrophy may not happen in this age group without supplementation. A 2018 review in Nutrients offers support for this idea. The authors suggest that PUFA plays an important role in muscle healing. Resistance exercises damage muscle tissue, and PUFA intake could heal this damage and cause hypertrophy.
âRead more:â Monounsaturated Fat Vs. Polyunsaturated Fat
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This Is How To Lose Fat
Anyone who is trying to get into shape will know how bloody hard it can be to lose fat while gaining muscle at the same time. Either you build muscle but your stomach pooch doesn’t budge, or you lose fat but everything becomes more flubby than toned.
While doing both simultaneously may seem impossible, it is doable.
To get into it, let’s first understand why losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is so damn difficult.
“The easiest explanation for this is due to the fact that for optimal fat loss you want to be expending more calories from physical exercise than what you consume through food and drink, and for optimal hypertrophy or building lean muscle mass, it’s the opposite,” dietitian and sport nutritionist Robbie Clark told The Huffington Post Australia.
Body science expert Moodi Dennaoui, aka The Diet Doctor, agrees, saying that achieving both goals comes down to dedication and knowledge.
“Anyone who’s ever truly been on a bulking or a cutting diet will know exactly what difficulties lie in trying to build muscle and burn fat simultaneously,” Dennaoui told HuffPost Australia.
“In order to gain muscle, the body needs copious amounts of food combined with a reduction of all extraneous activities.”
FYI, ‘extraneous activities’ refers to extra or indirect exercise you may do outside your training program, such as playing footy with your mates.
Direct Ab Training = Recommended
For all of these reasons and more, I think some direct ab training will be beneficial. It will make your abs bigger, stronger and better developed and this will make your six pack look better and pop a bit more once youre lean enough for that kind of thing to actually matter.
And on a semi-serious/semi-not serious note, if youre the kind of person who doesnt mind being a little fat but still likes to be able to see a faint outline of their hidden six pack poking through when flexing as hard as they can in perfect lighting, some direct ab training will help with that as well.
Of course, you will still look like crap when unflexed/in worse lighting. Wanna fix that? Lose the fat.
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How Do I Lose Belly Fat Fast
Right, by “fast”, we’re going to have to assume you are looking for answers to how to lose belly fat efficiently and safely. That’s the only way we know how to do things at WH and the only way we plan on doing things, too.
One way to make sure you’re as dialled into your belly fat loss journey as possible is to get more granular with your nutrition. Now, ifyou’re already familiar with counting calories, listen up this is how to fine-tune your fat loss efforts to focus on how to lose belly fat in particular. It’s known as learning how to count and calculate your macros.
“Counting macros” is a diet technique to make sure you’re eating the right amounts of each macronutrient protein, fat and carbohydrates. By tweaking the volume of each you can make your fat loss efforts more efficient.
How? Well, each macronutrient plays a different role in keeping our bodies ticking over. In broad strokes: protein helps to build and maintain muscle tissue, carbohydrates provide fast and slow-release energy and healthy fats support hormone function.
Tweaking the volumes you eat can help build muscle and lose body fat more efficiently, as well as allowing you to re-incorporate some of your favourite foods. Because you’re looking at what makes up what you eat, foods that are less nutrient-dense can be incorporated . All you’ll need to do is work out how that impacts the rest of your day.
Lifting Weights Builds Muscle
To gain muscle, you have to do two things: eat a sufficient amount of protein, and engage in resistance training , such as lifting weights, to tax the muscles and thus stimulate growth. In addition to weight lifting, other forms of resistance training include working with resistance bands and resisting one’s own body weight, through exercises such as squats and push ups, Schoenfeld said.
Resistance training is essential for gaining muscle while losing fat, Schoenfeld said. “You certainly should lift a minimum of twice a week, working all your major muscle groups, to any loss of muscle,” he said. As your muscles get stronger, your muscle fibers get bigger in a process called hypertrophy.
While aerobic exercise is generally healthy, it’s not good for building muscle, at least not beyond the very early stages of working out, Schoenfeld said. “The only way, really, to keep gaining muscle is to push your body over time,” he said. During aerobic exercise, however, there’s a limit to how much a person can tax his or her muscles, and it’s not enough to make the muscles bigger, he said.
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Oral Contraceptives Affect Your Gains
Using oral contraceptives can change your hormone levels. These changes might affect your body’s response to exercise. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research explored this possibility in active, younger women either taking or not taking oral contraceptives.
Participants did an intense combination of strength and endurance training for 10 weeks. The data indicated that, compared to baseline, women not taking oral contraceptives showed a 2.1 percent increase in muscle mass, a 1.5 percent decrease in body fat and a small change in luteinizing hormone.
Women taking oral contraceptives showed no changes in any variable. This finding suggests that oral contraceptives can block some of the positive effects of exercise. A 2017 report in the Open Access Journal of Exercise and Sports Medicine supports this idea. These researchers showed that oral contraceptive use decreased the exercise capacity of female soccer players.
Is There Really One Trick To Losing Belly Fat
When ads claim a “one trick” solution, remember that their main objective is to sell their product rather than to help you. Good marketing means one message, because it is hard to follow too many things at once. So they focus on one fad, and that tickles your curiosity and you click on the link to go their website.
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Eat Plenty Of Protein
Knowing how much to eat depends on your body-fat levels. If you don’t have much fat to lose, Carpenter suggests continuing maintenance-calorie consumption.
If you have more fat to lose, going into a slight calorie deficit might help you achieve your goals, the important word here being “slight.”
If you drop your calories too low, it’ll be a lot harder to hold on to your muscle, let alone build it.
“You’re likely to lose muscle tissue, feel run down, and potentially fall off the bandwagon,” Emily Servante, a certified personal trainer at Ultimate Performance Personal Training, told Insider.
As the two studies suggested, eating enough protein is essential for body recomposition.
“This is key for retaining and building lean muscle, which we want to fuel when dieting,” Servante said, adding that “more lean tissue also prevents negative adaptations such as lowered metabolism.”
There’s no clear-cut figure for exactly how much protein you should eat, but Carpenter recommended 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight per day as “a good protein target for maximizing resistance-training adaptations,” a fancy term for increasing muscle mass. That suggestion is supported by research.
A post shared by Ben Carpenter on Feb 27, 2020 at 9:51am PSTFeb 27, 2020 at 9:51am PST
How much of the other macronutrients you eat is less important, but make sure you eat enough of each for your all-around health and energy.
Exercise 3 30 Seconds Of Mountain Climbers
You’ll start in a plank position, what looks like a high push-up with your arms fully extended. Remember to keep your core muscles tight as you do these movements.
- Begin in a pushup position on the hands and toes
- Bring the right knee in towards the chest, resting the foot on the floor
- Jump up and switch feet in the air, bringing the left foot in and the right foot
- Continue alternating the feet as fast as you can
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Tips For Turning Fat Into Muscle
Repeat The Entire Series 3 Times
You’ll want to repeat the five exercises and rest periods three times in a row. Don’t forget to drink water to stay hydrated during the workout.
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on and .
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The Least Important Part: Ab Workouts
Once you understand that spot reduction is a myth and that all of the ab workouts and exercises in the world wont do anything useful whatsoever in terms of helping you lose the ugly belly fat that is covering your pretty abs , you might begin to wonder exactly what role ab workouts play in this six pack equation anyway?
And thats something you should be wondering, because the role is pretty small.
How small, you ask? So small that many people dont do ANY direct ab training whatsoever and still have awesome six packs. Just lowering their body fat percentage and getting lean enough possibly combined with various compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, pull-ups, etc. that may train the abs statically to some extent is all they need. No crunches. No leg raises. No nothing.
Do I think thats enough for everyone? Uh, maybe. Its certainly enough for lots of people. But, either way, I wouldnt consider it optimal. Heres why
But What About My Lower Abs
Oh no!!! Not the dreaded lower abs!!! What ever will we do?!?!?
Lose more fat, thats what.
You see, a very common problem many people have is that they can see their top 4 upper abs just fine, BUT their bottom 2 lower abs are nowhere to be found. Sound familiar? Im sure it does. Its why people tend to focus so much extra on lower ab training.
Those people would be wasting their time of course, as spot reduction remains a myth just the same for the lower abs as it does for the upper abs and every other part of the body.
The actual issue here is that the lower part of your stomach is the first place body fat gets stored when youre gaining it and the last place it gets burned when youre losing it. Thats why you dont see people complaining that their lower abs are looking awesome, but their upper abs are still covered with fat and hidden.
Its always the other way around.
So the fact that you can see your upper abs but cant see your lower abs means that you might have lost a nice amount of belly fat and you might be quite lean, but you just havent lost enough fat to be as lean as youre trying to be. Basically, youre four pack lean, not six pack lean.
So whats the solution? You simply need to lose a little more fat and get a little bit leaner.
And in case you forgot how to do that, it starts with the word caloric and ends with deficit. All of the lower ab workouts in the world wont help in any meaningful way.
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Take Leucine For Muscle Gain
People have increasingly turned to protein powder to help them get their preferred physique. Manufacturers have yet to find the ideal ingredients for this supplement, but adding leucine seems like a wise choice. This essential amino acid plays an important role in building muscle. A 2018 report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the impact of leucine supplementation and resistance exercise in older women.
Participants exercised only one leg in this experiment. The researchers used the other leg as a control. The subjects received either a low dose of leucine or a high dose of leucine. Both doses of leucine increased muscle protein synthesis in the exercised leg. Only the high dose of leucine increased muscle protein synthesis in the control leg. Thus the women showed leucine-induced muscle gains âwithout doing exerciseâ âââ at least in one leg.
It’s easy to add leucine to your diet. You can find this protein in every aisle of the grocery store. Animal products like milk and meat have abundant leucine. You can also get it by eating legumes like kidney beans. Soy-based products like tempeh also have plenty of leucine.
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How Much Body Fat Should You Have
The way in which women could and should lose belly fat is different to that of men. Women need somebelly fat to function fat cells store oestrogen, so having too little can cause your whole hormonal function to go out of whack, causing serious health issues such as irregular periods and even infertility.
To that end, striving to lose fat from your stomach with the aim of getting a six-pack, for most females, wouldn’t be healthy. Instead, aim to sit within the 21-30% body fat category. This is what’s considered a healthy body fat percentage range for women.
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