Ab exercises are one of the most popular, and yet, most controversial topics in the exercise and health/fitness industry. Hundreds of ab belts, ab gadgets, ab gimmicks, and ab exercise machines have flooded the exercise market for people looking for sexier and flatter abs… that sexy six-pack abs appearance that everybody wants.
The problem is that most of the ab 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 abs is losing the extra stomach fat that is covering up the abs. To be honest, most people already have decent abs underneath, yet the six-pack is simply covered up by all of that extra flabby belly fat.
Instead of focusing so much on ab exercises to make your belly flatter and more like a six-pack, you will lose much more abdominal fat by focusing the majority of your workout time with special combinations of high intensity full-body, multi-joint exercises. The best exercises for losing that sloppy ab fat are the exercises that work the largest portions of the body at once.
Exercises that work the much larger muscle groups of the legs, upper and lower back, and chest give you the biggest metabolic bang for your buck in terms of ab 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 abs that are actually visible as a six-pack!
Now when it comes to ab-specific exercises, another mistake most people make is mindlessly pumping away with hundreds of crunches and other meaningless abdominal exercises that barely give your abs much resistance to work against. If you want to actually develop your abs 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 ab exercises that provide a much larger stimulus to the abdominals 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 ab 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 80 or 100 crunches, can’t even complete more than 2 or 3 properly executed hanging leg raises, because they simply have never worked the abs under heavier resistance.
If you really want tighter flatter abs that look like a six-pack, remember that losing that extra stomach fat is actually the MOST important part. Also, when it comes to ab-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.