Abdominal development is often an area of the body which is the most sought after and desired, it’s one of those body parts that will pull a good physique together making it great or enable a potentially great physique to appear unfinished.
However a significant misconception surrounding abdominal development is that not being able to see one’s abs is largely due to an individual’s body fat and nothing to do with their abdominal strength, many of the top athletes in the world will have amazing abdominal strength and development but due to higher body fat levels they might not show any visible “6-pack” development, so it is important to be aware what it takes to achieve cosmetic and visible abdominals.
One of the most important factors that will be central to achieving a visually stunning “6-pack” is Nutrition, yes guys and girls the saying is very true “abs are made in the kitchen”.
Having a set nutritional plan to follow for me personally is an essential part of developing strong abdominals whilst lowering one’s body fat making them visually noticeable, ensuring that you have a nutritional plan will enable you to keep a closer eye on your daily nutritional intake whilst educating you on what nutritional values suits your body for whatever your desired goal is, some helpful tips which should be central pillars to any well structured nutritional plan are:
- Lean proteins, i.e. Skinless chicken breasts, turkey breasts, white fish, or lean cuts of protein.
- If eggs are central in your nutritional plan, opt for those rich in Omega 3.
- Try to reduce diary in your diet as much as possible, for me I use Soya Light Milk in place of dairy products.
- Steam your greens and keep all the goodness in them and try to have greens accompany at least 2/3 of your daily meals.
- Good Fat’s are “good” for a reason, fatty fish, nuts, natural peanut butter all are examples of foods that contain plenty of good fats, ensure these are in your nutritional plan.
- Structure your meals accordingly, with regards to the parts of the day where you exert most energy whether its training or work, structure your carbohydrate intake around these times.
- Finally, ensure your nutritional plan has plenty of food in it; the old myth of having to starve to drop body fat is exactly that… “old” and a “myth”
The Composition of your abdominal muscles:
Rectus Abdominals This is the main set of muscles, often referred to when they discuss “the six pack”, this is due to its bumpy ridges that sit out directly in front of the body.
Transversis Abdominals Located within the abdominal complex, maintains abdominal pressure and stabilise the trunk.
Internal Oblique’s located just inside the hip bone, flanking either side of the rectus abdominis, main function is to twist the body.
External Oblique’s Flank the rectus abdominis and allow for trunk rotation (Also displayed above).
As I have previously discussed in this article, a well structured nutritional plan in my opinion is one of the most central aspects to developing visually noticeable abdominals; however it is also important to highlight that abdominals are never the less still a muscle group and need to be developed to help them appear more prominent as your body fat level becomes lower.
I have listed below some of my personal favourite abdominal exercises that I have used to create my signature abs, which I personally believe are my strongest feature.
My personal favourite Abdominal Exercises.
(Lower Abdominals Exercises) **60second Rest Period between each set**
Abdominal Roller -3sets until failure (On last rep try hold body out in planking position until collapse)
Reverse Crunch **Lying on bench raising your legs up over your head over extending your back ever so slightly** -3sets * 15reps (Slow control motion on positive & negative movement)
Legs Raises **Using Tricep-dip station** -3sets*12reps (Each rep your legs are raised as high as possible, whilst negatively lowering your legs with time under tension)
(Oblique’s) **60second Rest Period between each set**
Weighted Side Bends (with plate or dumbbell) -5sets *15reps (3 second descending movement & 3 second ascending movement)
Medicine Ball Twists (Timed Set) -3sets (1st set 30second, 2nd set 45 seconds, 3rd set 60seconds)
Other favourite abdominal exercises.
Wood-Chippers **with kettle bell**
Lying Scissor Kicks
Decline Oblique Crunch **can use hamstring raise bench for this**
Lying Side-side bends **lying flat on the floor bending to each side touching the heel of each foot**