How many of you out there right now wish you had a more defined set of abs? My guess is probably most and yet for some reason or another, that shredded six pack you've always wanted seems to elude you no matter what you do. Unless you are a true ectomorph and carry little to no body fat naturally, having visible abs all the time is no easy task. It's not impossible to do, but it does take quite an effort to sustain the level of conditioning and development that is necessary for maintaining a washboard status. To help you achieve the midsection you've always dreamed of possessing, here is a simple yet highly effective 5 step guide approach to carving out rock hard abs.
Step 1: Decrease Body Fat
This is something that everybody needs to know. You will never see your abs if you are carrying around too much fat. You can train your abs until you are blue in the face but unless you're doing everything you can to decrease your body fat, forget about ever seeing them. As a sort of rule of thumb, once you get to about 10-12 percent body fat, you should start seeing some visible definition in the abdominal region. Most likely this will occur in the upper abs first. Then, the lower your body fat gets, the more of your abdominal structure you will see.
Step 2: Work with What You've Got
There are so many people out there trying desperately to carve out their six pack when there's a chance that structurally, they don't even have a six pack. Our genetics determine the shape and development of our muscles. Genetics also determine whether or not you're going to have muscle cells in certain areas on the body that you can enhance. With that said, you may or may not have the genetics for a six pack. You may only have what will end up looking like a four pack or if you're really lucky, you may end up with what looks like an eight pack. Some people hardly have any abdominal structure so to speak of and the best they can get is a rock hard and flat midsection. Moral of the story, work with what you've got and make that the best you can.
Step 3: Train your Abs Twice Daily
If you're still in the stages of building abdominal muscles, then I highly suggest you start training your abs twice daily. Yes the abs are just the same as any other muscle group in that they too need time to rest and recover, but unlike other muscle groups that you want to get huge and freaky looking, you just want your abs to look freaky but on a smaller scale. Training your abs twice a day will ensure they get lots of work but stay on the smaller side and what will end up happening is you just start deepening the crevices between the abs which will make them look much better and more clearly defined.
Step 4: Do Cardio but Don't Rely On it
I know that in your excitement to finally see your abs, you went out and purchased a pair of Super Freak Cardio shoes from Heyday Footwear because you figured you're going to be doing a ton of cardio and you want to have the best on your feet when doing so. While your intentions are good, they may not be exactly what you need. Far too often people rely on cardio as the biggest component in their training for decreasing body fat. Well cardio isn't the be all end all for decreasing body fat. It is certainly a major factor but so too is your training and your nutrition. If you work on building massive amounts of lean muscle tissue and strive to carry that around all the time, you will burn way more body fat all day long versus your session on the stepmill. Muscle is a metabolic tissue that needs energy to sustain. That energy will come from stored calories in your body which will feed the muscle rather than feeding your fat cells. Second to that, make sure you're in a caloric deficit so that when you do perform cardio, you're dipping into your fat stores to energize the session instead of using the excess calories you've consumed to fuel it. If you do all of this, you'll start to see your abs in no time.
Step 5: It's all about the Lighting People
It has been said that 90% of what it takes to look good all boils down to how good your lighting is. Lighting can be the make or break component in displaying the details of your abs. If you've been working hard to get a good pic of your abs to post on your social media accounts, make sure you stand directly under a light (changing rooms at clothing stores always seem to have the perfect set up) before you take that picture. Going to the beach? Do so at high noon so that the sunlight pours directly down on top of you casting shadows off of any groove or crevice you've been able to form in your midsection. Eventually you'll be able to position yourself in the best lighting possible at any given moment. Add a good tan into the mix and voila, rock hard abs.
The fact of the matter is that everybody has an abdominal structure, you just can't visibly see it on everyone. By strapping on your Heyday Super Freaks and taking the steps above, eventually you will see what has been eluding you for far too long. If rock hard abs have always been on your laundry list, then make washboard abs the priority and put in the work until you see them.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.