Abdominal exercises are one of the hottest, and yet, most controversial topics in the fitness and exercise industry. Hundreds of ab gadgets, gimmicks, and exercise machines have flooded the market for people looking for sexier and flatter abdominals… that sexy six-pack abs appearance that everyone seeks.
The problem is that most of the abdominal exercises that are recommended all over the internet, and in magazines, etc, are not necessarily the best method to get that six-pack abs appearance. First and foremost, the most important aspect for great looking six pack abdominals is losing the extra belly fat that is covering them up. To be honest, most people already have decent abdominals underneath, yet the six-pack abs are simply covered up by all of that extra flabby stomach fat.
Instead of focusing so much on abdominal exercises to make your stomach flatter and more like a six-pack, you will lose much more body fat by focusing the majority of your training time with special combinations of high intensity full-body, multi-joint exercises. The best exercises for losing that abdominal fat are the exercises that work the largest portions of the body at once.
Exercises that work the large muscle groups of the legs, upper and lower back, and chest give you the biggest metabolic bang for your buck in terms of abdominal fat loss. Combining these types of big multi-joint exercises in high intensity super-set, tri-set, or circuit fashion gives you the biggest fat-burning and metabolism boosting response from your workouts.
And that is one of the best kept secrets for flat sexy abdominals that are actually visible as a six-pack!
Now when it comes to abdominal-specific exercises, another mistake most people make is mindlessly pumping away with hundreds of crunches and other meaningless abs exercises that barely give your abdominals much resistance to work against. If you want to actually develop your abdominals to the best extent possible, don’t waste your time with exercises that you can do more than 20 or 25 reps… that means you are definitely not doing an exercise that provides enough resistance to the abs. Exercises that give you enough resistance to get you down into the 6-15 rep range per set works great for the abs.
Generally, higher resistance abdominal exercises that provide a much larger stimulus to the abs come in the form of exercises that involve raising/curling the legs and pelvis either upward or inward closer to the trunk. A couple great examples of these higher resistance abdominal exercises are hanging leg raises or knee raises using a “pelvic curl up”, or an exercise like lying hip thrusts. Many times, the same people that can do 50 or 100 crunches, can’t even complete more than 2 or 3 properly executed hanging leg raises.
If you really want tighter flatter abdominals that look like a six-pack, remember that losing that extra belly fat is the MOST important factor. Also, when it comes to abdominal-specific exercises, always remember higher resistance exercises that involve curling/raising the legs and pelvis upward or inward are what develops the abs to the best extent possible.
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Michael Geary (CPT) is an International Fitness Expert with clients in over 150 countries world-wide, contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers Magazine, and author of the internationally-popular book, The Truth about 6-Pack Abs. Mike is also the owner of http://www.busymanfitness.com4-Minute High-Intensity Workouts for Busy Men.