The truth is sit ups and planks just aren’t enough to get Abs defined in the way you want! Before we go any further, you first have to be confident that your nutrition is on point to lose stomach fat. Without that, forget these Abs workouts!
Why Sit-Ups DONT WORK!
It’s not that sit-ups are bad for your training, BUT they are just so inefficient! I want people to learn that there are many more diverse ways of working out the layers that make up our core. Getting Abs is about working all of the muscle groups that are responsible for keeping the trunk of your body upright. We need that definition along the side of the 6-pack, the curves that make you look sexy and womanly in your bikini, and the upper and side Abs to be defined as well!
I am going to walk you through the perfect Abs workout by incorporating ALL the core muscle groups! We will look at the obliques, the deep Abs, the hip flexors, the upper lateral muscle groups along the ribs, and the lower back muscle
I am talking about the internal and external obliques. These muscles are layered on top of each other, crisscrossing from the lower ribs to the hip bone. They are what we see on the side of the Abs, creating that womanly curves!
These are undoubtedly very important muscles to workout for your core! Because of the way that they cross over, you have to perform movements in a diagonal fashion to work them.
Exercises for the internal and external obliques:
Wood chopper with a weight
Wood chopper with a cable pull-down
Turkish Get-up with kettlebell or dumbbell
Side bends with a weight
Deep Transverse Abs
These muscles are our stabiliziers. Balance work, standing on the bosu, or on one leg, doing pistols (one-leg squats). We are talking about the deepest layer of core muscle groups. These fibers are attached all the way around the entire core, finishing at the spine and anterior part of the ribs. You can imagine why they are so important to maintain. They are also unique in their orientation. Most core fibers are oriented top to bottom. The transverse Abs perform the unique job of stabilizing the core from side to side.
Exercises to improve the transverse Abs:
Plank with extensions: either alternating or holds
Hollow-body hold or hollow-body rocks
Upper Lateral Group
These muscles are the ones attached up at the ribs. They give your upper core a stronger look. When your serratus anterior and teres minor are tight and toned, your bikini top or sports bra isn’t digging into your fat creating bra bulges! These muscles are worked when performing exercises that move the arms forward and down while engaging your core.
Exercises to improve the Upper Lateral Abs:
Standing straight-arm lat pull-downs
Decline sit ups with a ball or weight overhead
Pull ups with palms facing forward
Lower Back and Hips
When you look at a well-defined body from the back, you see the muscle definition surrounding the spine. This is a very desired look and comes from careful and deliberate work on lower back muscles. These are also very important in preventing injury in so many other exercises. The Quadratus lumborum and multifidus muscles give that great definition and work more superficially than the transverse Abs I mentioned earlier.
Strengthen and define these important muscles with:
Superman holds, or repetitions
Hyperextensions on a machine
Hyperextensions with a slight twist at the end
These are the lower parts of your Abs, between and below the hip bones. They attach the hips to the legs, so getting contoured here has that fantastic cut look along the line of your waist.
The iliacus and psoas muscle can be trained with:
Hanging Leg raises/ Toes to Bar
Lying leg raises
Incorporating New Core Workouts
How can you add all these great exercises to your program? You have a few options. You may choose to add a few each workout day at the beginning or end of your current program. You can also choose one or two from each category and add an entire core workout day. Beware that adding 6 brand new core exercises into your program, if you are not already doing so, will result in some serious soreness!
Each exercise should be performed in 3 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions. The load should feel somewhat challenging in the first week, but don’t forget that the first couple of weeks of introducing a new exercise should be all about technique. Make sure you are performing each exercise carefully, targeting the correct core muscle groups, safely.
Once you are comfortable in the routine, add a little extra load to the woodchoppers, pull-downs, and even the hyperextensions. If you can easily perform 20 or so of any exercise, it is too easy! Introduce a new exercise, or add weight to it to increase the level of difficulty. Remember that we only improve if we force the body to learn to adapt.
Want to learn how to get started with your own fitness plan? Check out my Training Programs Section!