It’s one of the most common goals among men and women alike - to craft chiselled abs that are on par with a washboard. But we need to make something clear here - hitting this goal and getting a six-pack demands plenty of dedication and a lot of hard work. But with that said, with some clever workout hacks it doesn’t mean sweating it out at the gym two hours a day, seven days a week. With a smart mix of diet and workout regime, you can speed up the entire process. Those Love Island guys and girls won’t have anything on you!
1. Working Those Abs - Crunches, Sit-Ups, Planks & Leg Crunches
There’s no escaping the fact that you’ll need to invest time and sweat into working those abs - four exercises for which (that are really non-negotiable) are ab crunches, sit-ups, planks and leg crunches.
This routine of four core moves should be worked into your regime at least three times a week, with the following reps:
- Crunches: 12 - 24 x3
- Sit-Ups: 12 - 24 x3
- Plank: Hold for 00:45 - 01:30 x3
- Leg Crunches: 8 - 12 x3
Proworks Pro Tip: If you’re struggling, reduce the reps or only do a single set or two sets rather than the full thing. It’s much more important to ensure you’re working out with proper form than trying to force yourself to complete all of the reps haphazardly. There’s no shame in starting small and building up - everyone starts somewhere!
2. Don’t Overlook Other Exercises That Work Your Abs as a By-Product
There are a huge number of exercises that get the core working and your abs pumped. Mix up your routine and keep things interesting with:
- Barbell Squats
- Dumbbell Lunges
- Barbell Deadlifts
- Dips - Chest Version
- Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
Proworks Pro Tip: These exercises, and the four essential moves listed in tip one, can be ramped up a gear by adding a little resistance - such as with resistance bands or a gym ball. Working in items such as these can maintain the push for noticeable improvements as they’re an easy way to make exercises more challenging.
3. Melt That Fat Away with Cardio
For all the crunches and sit-ups in the world, they’ll still be something stood between you and your six pack - and that’s belly fat. To tackle this, you’ll need to commit to cardio exercise for between three to four workouts a week. We’d suggest that each of these should last for at least 20 - 40 minutes and be of moderate (e.g. jogging) to vigorous effort (e.g. HIIT training).
Proworks Pro Tip: When it comes to cardio, you can work your body harder (and burn fat faster) by taking a smarter approach. Known as interval workouts, we recommend running at your maximum speed for 30 - 60 seconds, then hopping off the treadmill (safely) to perform 20 exercise ball crunches. Then get back on the machine and repeat the process 5 to 8 times.
4. Top up Your Protein Intake
Protein is somewhat of an all-rounder when running and crunching your way to a six pack. It promotes weight loss, supports muscle growth and preserves metabolism and muscle mass.
Introducing protein to your diet can be simple and straightforward. Here are some key ingredients you should be consuming:
- Nuts: Almonds, pistachios and cashews
- Chicken breast
- Pumpkin seeds
- Turkey breast
- Fish (all)
- Lean beef
- Brussels sprouts
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
5. Stay Hydrated: Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day
Water is incredibly underrated as a fitness partner. Far from being essential to simply rehydrate you, water can also:
- Reduce your appetite
- Increase weight loss
- Burn extra belly fat
- Support efficient waste removal
So make sure you’re drinking between 1 - 2 litres of H2O each day at least.
6. Cut Out the Processed Food.
To reach a body fat level where your abs put in an appearance you have to be relatively strict with the things you’re eating, which means out with processed foods (which are usually rammed with calories, carbs, fat and sodium), and in with the whole foods; such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Aside from looking better, you’ll feel better too!
7. Chow Down on Plenty of Post-Workout Carbs
Many people are under the misguided impression that ALL carbs are bad, when in fact carbs are great for building muscle, especially when you eat the right kind post-workout. By the right kind, we mean sweet potatoes, brown rice, and oatmeal (NOT: bread, white rice or white potatoes).
You should also try to aim for some good carbs to feature on your lunch and dinner plate, along with a healthy portion of protein.
And that brings our ab-boosting tips to a close. But before you head off for your first hardcore ab workout bear in mind that taking your stomach from flat to chiselled will take some time - weeks at least, months for most, years for the unlucky few with tough-to-shift body fat. That said… it can be done with the right approach of diet, exercise and cardio, coupled with a cast-iron commitment to the end-game.
Looking to show off your six-pack or want to share progress pics to show how far you’ve come? Post them on social media and tag us with the hashtag #ProworksFitness - we’d love to see them!