Ultimate Steps to Sharp, Chiseled Abs
Everyone wants abs at some point in their lives. Very few people are driven enough to actually build a body that shows them off.
Even with a perfect diet, if you aren’t doing the right exercises and abdominal workouts, you won’t have a well displayed set. There are some exercises that you should be doing in order to grow the muscles enough to actually pop once your bodyfat drops to a point where they become visible.
Achieving a shredded midsection requires a combination of proper nutrition, targeted exercises, and dedication.
If you are tired of doing crunches and sit-ups without seeing any real results keep reading. In this article, I’ve rounded up the 12 best exercises that will help you sculpt and define your abs like never before.
Benefits of a Strong Core and Shredded Midsection
Having a strong core and a shredded midsection offers more than just aesthetic appeal. While a toned and chiseled midsection is certainly attractive, the benefits extend far beyond looks.
A strong core is essential for any physical activity, whether it’s lifting weights, playing sports, or even performing everyday tasks.
Your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques, and lower back muscles, work together to stabilize and support the spine.
Strong midsections provide a solid foundation for all movements and activities, improving overall athleticism and reducing the risk of injuries. Additionally, a well-developed midsection can improve posture, stability, and even enhance athletic performance in other areas.
By strengthening these muscles through abdominal workouts, you can improve your ability to move efficiently and reduce the risk of back pain or injury.
The Anatomy of the Midsection
Before diving into the best exercises for a shredded midsection, it’s important to understand the anatomy of the area. The midsection, also known as the core, consists of several muscle groups that work together to provide stability and movement. These muscles include the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques, and lower back muscles.
The rectus abdominis, commonly referred to as the “abs,” is the muscle responsible for the six-pack appearance. It runs vertically down the front of the abdomen and is responsible for flexing the spine. The transverse abdominis, on the other hand, is a deeper muscle that wraps around the torso like a corset. It plays a crucial role in maintaining core stability and supporting the spine.
The obliques, located on the sides of the abdomen, are responsible for rotating and bending the torso. They add definition and shape to the midsection. Lastly, the lower back muscles, including the erector spinae and multifidus, help stabilize the spine and maintain proper posture.
Understanding the different muscles of the midsection will allow you to target them effectively.
One note before I kick off the next section: Upper and Lower abs are not really two separate groups. There is no way to train, with 100% isolation, either area by itself. You might see the upper abs a bit more due to lower amounts of body fat in that area compared to the lower abdomen, but any of these exercises, and some oblique exercises, will continue to develop those muscles. You will just need to drop your bodyfat down to a low enough percentage in order for the lower area to be visible alongside the upper abdominals.
Awesome Abdominal Exercises to Add to Your Workouts
Here are some great exercises to toss in to your routine. You may feel some of them more intensely in different parts of the abdominals, but they all will work, to one extent or another, the entire area.
1. Crunches: Crunches are a classic ab exercise. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head or cross them over your chest. Engage your core and lift your upper body off the ground, curling your shoulders towards your knees. Lower back down with control and repeat.
2. Reverse Crunches: Reverse crunches are exactly like crunches, but backwards (obviously). Lie on your back with your legs bent and knees towards your chest. Place your hands by your sides for stability. Lift your hips off the ground, bringing your knees towards your chest. Slowly lower back down and repeat.
3. Leg Raises: Leg raises are a challenging exercise. Lie on your back with your legs extended and your hands by your sides or under your glutes for support. Lift your legs off the ground, keeping them straight. Slowly lower them back down without touching the floor and repeat. Try to keep your feet from touching the floor at all during the set in order to up the intensity.
4. Flutter Kicks: Flutter kicks are a variation of leg raises that deserve their own mention. Do exactly the same as you would for leg raises, with a minor change. Scissor your legs so that while one is up the other is down. This forces your torso to do extra work balancing two separate movements at the same time.
Best Abdominal Workouts for obliques
To achieve a well-rounded midsection, it’s crucial to target the obliques, the muscles located on the sides of the abdomen. Incorporate these exercises into your abdominal workouts to strengthen and define your obliques:
1. Russian Twists: Russian twists are an effective exercise that targets the obliques. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lean back slightly while keeping your back straight. Clasp your hands together and lift your feet off the ground. Twist your torso to one side, bringing your hands towards the ground next to your hip. Return to the center and twist to the other side. Repeat in a controlled manner. Add in a medicine ball for extra intensity once you have mastered the standard version.
2. Side Planks: Side planks are a great exercise for targeting the obliques and improving core stability. Start by lying on your side with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. Engage your core and hold the position for a set amount of time. Repeat on the other side.
3. Woodchoppers: Woodchoppers are a dynamic exercise that targets the obliques and mimics the motion of chopping wood. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell or medicine ball with both hands. Start with the weight at one side of your body, then twist your torso and bring the weight diagonally across your body, finishing at the opposite side. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Advanced exercises for a shredded midsection
Once you have built a solid foundation with the basic exercises, you can incorporate more advanced movements to challenge your core and take your midsection to the next level. These exercises require a higher level of strength and stability:
1. Dragon Flags: Dragon flags are an advanced exercise that targets the entire core, including the abs, obliques, and lower back. Lie on a flat bench or the ground with your head towards something to grasp. Grasp the bench or hold onto something sturdy behind your head for support. Engage your core and lift your entire body off the bench, keeping it in a straight line. Slowly lower back down and repeat. At the top everything from your toes to your traps should be off the floor and in a straight line.
2. L-sits: L-sits are an intense exercise that primarily targets the lower abs and hip flexors. Sit on the edge of a bench or the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands on the bench or the ground by your sides. Lift your hips off the bench, keeping your legs straight. Hold this position for as long as possible.
3. Hanging Windshield Wipers: Hanging windshield wipers are a challenging exercise that targets the obliques and lower abs. Hang from a pull-up bar with your arms fully extended. Engage your core and lift your legs towards one side, rotating your hips. Slowly lower them back down and repeat on the other side.
Incorporate these advanced exercises into your routine once you have built sufficient core strength and stability. Start with lower repetitions and gradually increase as you progress.
Don’t Forget about Cardio and Diet
While targeted exercises and abdominal workouts are essential for developing a shredded midsection, it’s important to remember that spot reduction is not possible. To reveal your hard-earned abs, you must reduce your overall body fat through a combination of cardio exercises and a balanced diet.
Cardio exercises, such as running, cycling, or HIIT workouts, help burn calories and increase your overall energy expenditure. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio per week. Additionally, incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help boost your metabolism and maximize fat burning.
In terms of diet, focus on consuming a balanced mix of macronutrients, including lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Avoid over consumption of processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive alcohol consumption and opt for whole, nutrient-dense foods that support muscle growth and fat loss.
Remember, achieving a shredded midsection requires consistency and dedication. Stick to your exercise routine, maintain a healthy diet, and be patient with your progress. Results will not happen overnight, but persistence pays off.
To Bring it all Together
Building an amazingly shredded midsection takes time, effort, and dedication. By incorporating the exercises mentioned in this article into your abdominal workouts, you can strengthen and sculpt your abs like never before. Remember to target the abs AND obliques to achieve a well-rounded midsection.
In addition to exercises, don’t forget to incorporate cardio exercises and a balanced diet to reduce overall body fat and reveal your hard-earned abs. Consistency is key, so stick to your routine and make fitness a priority in your life.
Lastly, be patient with your progress and celebrate small victories along the way. Building a shredded midsection is a journey that requires time and perseverance. Stay motivated, stay focused, and enjoy the process of transforming your abs and your overall fitness.
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