Summer is coming and we are going to be baring more flesh. Hence, there is a tendency amongst all of us to aim for less wobble and more tone. It is the defined abs which seem to be the mark of success – it reeks discipline, focus, sweat and ‘treat deprivation’. No-one looks at legs. It’s the ‘ripped’, ‘shredded’ and ‘super lean’ abs, not thighs, that are all over Instagram.
Whether ripped abs are your aim, or if you merely want to be flatter and harder rather than rippled and soft, then these simple tips on how to get defined abs will help. None of it is rocket science. But it is all down to you.
The title refers to STRONG and DEFINED. The way you make them strong is by doing resistance exercises. You know… stuff that hurts. And you make them defined (ie. show them off) by making changes to your food so that your fat levels drop and they are then revealed to the world.
How to get defined abs
You will get strong abs by doing resistance work which works your WHOLE body, i.e squats, press ups etc. (because your abs – or core – are working all the time) but you can of course isolate the abdominal muscles by adding, to any of your workouts, a sequence of exercises designed just for them. Remember, they are working all day to hold you up so they will tire very easily.
To define them you will need to cut out sugar, processed food (those two go together in many foods) and alcohol and focus on good carbohydrate, essential fats, protein and of course portion sizes. That is very simplistic, but it’s a extremely good place to start and you will see results.
So 250 crunches on the Swiss ball followed by a bucket of KFC every day will work your muscles but you won’t be able to see them because the fat will still be there.
Pardon the bluntness. I was never backward in coming forward.
For the strong, defined abs we are talking about here, you will need to put in hard work. Not only time in your workouts but in disciplining yourself with food and alcohol. (Remember, when you knock back the booze, the body spends all its energy getting rid of these toxins and stops, yes stops, burning fat. Dull and not what you want to hear, but true).
When you’re ready and raring to go with your abdominal work, then you will most likely find yourself on the floor. First up, do this:..
Practise breathing out slowly but quite vigorously and contracting your abdominal muscles downwards, as if you are hollowing them. Nail your navel downwards as you exhale but don’t tilt your pelvis. So in effect, leave your skeletal structure still and let your muscles contract inwards. Always exhale on the effort.
Practise this anywhere. At work, on the train, at the bus-stop. The very action of this exhaling will work the abdominal muscles and ensure that you are in the best position to get the most out of your abdominal workouts. Vanity aside, having strong abs means a more stable lower back and less back pain.
Around 5 minutes is good. Here are two routines which work all the core muscles:
The muscles worked here (amongst other peripherals) are:
- The Rectus Abdominis: two chunks of muscles running from the ribs to the pelvis.
- External and Internal Obliques: diagonal muscles round your waistline area.
- Transversus Abdominis: the deepest ab muscle which wraps round the waist to support the spine.
Do these workouts each on alternate days of the week with one day when you don’t work them at all.
Remember to change your food (that means every day) and add in some high intensity cardio work (you’ll get away with 3 times a week) but that doesn’t have to be long. It just has to be brisk and nasty. Try THIS. It’s a pyramid lasting about 20ish minutes. Or you can mix up some jogging and sprinting in the park if that’s more your thing.
Have a happy day. Annie x