The goal of many bodybuilding endeavors is to develop a toned and defined abdominal region. The six pack as it’s known in popular culture can be a difficult thing to attain. It will require dedication, perseverance and an understanding of what actually causes the most coveted of muscle definition.
The first thing to understand is that abdominal muscles are naturally covered in a layer of insulating fat. This means that no matter how toned they may be no one will ever see them if they’re hiding behind years of bad dietary habits. For most people abs are already adequately sized it’s just difficult to tell without a little attention to the most notorious of problem areas.
Belly fat can be one of the most stubborn areas to target in any weight loss effort. It is easier on women who naturally store excess fat in their thighs and buttocks but for men this is the last place they will lose weight. Nature has defined the abdominals as the go to storage place for body fat. Contrary to popular belief targeting certain regions has shown to have very little effect on how much fat is lost from that area.
A balanced/well planned diet is the secret weapon for anyone wanting to transform their figure into the lean toned beach body that lies beneath.First you have to create a calorie deficit. This means consuming fewer calories than you burn throughout the day, including during your workouts. To gain muscle you need to create a calorie surplus. This surplus should be made of healthy foods, lots of protein and extra carbs to give you energy. You may also want to consider supplements.
Do cardio. The quickest way to drop unwanted body fat is to put your metabolism into overdrive. Cardio is a very effective approach to this goal. Running is very popular while also stressful on the joints. Elliptical machines and swimming are becoming more popular methods of raising your heart rate while lowering the risk of potential injuries.
Once you have trimmed down it’s time to start focusing on toning. This may be achieved through a variety of ab centered core workouts.
Sit-ups: Start by laying with your back flat on the floor with arms either crossed over your chest or behind your head. Have someone hold your feet or if not available brace them under a piece of furniture. Lift your shoulders and back completely off the ground. Try not to hunch, repeat.
Crunches: A crunch is performed exactly the same as a sit-up except with a limited range of motion. Once you lift your shoulders off the ground the first time, raise them toward your knees without lifting your entire back off the floor. Relax without touching your shoulders to the floor. Repeat.
Leg lifts: Another effective exercise is the leg lift. To perform leg lifts lie on your back on the floor. Touch your ankles together and lift both legs in the air at a ninety degree angle.
Core exercises: Aside from ab specific exercises standard core workouts like deadlifts and squats target the entire core. With the added benefit of providing a compound exercise that increases the appearance and strength of surrounding muscles, core exercises are great for toning abs also.
It takes the combination of several factors to achieve the desired results but together that dream body can be yours.