How to Get Abs (Comprehensive Guide)
If you want to find out how to get abs, whether for improvements in posture and overall athletic performance or because of the aesthetic appeal, achieving this goal can demand quite a bit of discipline. If you want to know what else you’ll need, this guide should be able to help you.
An Overview of the Abdominal Muscles
There are three abdominal muscles:
- external oblique
- internal oblique
- transverse abdominis
The external oblique is among the outermost abdominal muscles. It runs from the lower part of your ribs to the pelvis. The internal oblique is a broad, thin muscle layer on the lateral abdominal wall. The transverse abdominis is a muscle layer on the front and side abdominal walls that is believed to be an important component of the core.
Methods for Developing a Six-Pack
The best methods for developing abs vary from person to person. You have to figure out what best suits your physique. Likewise, building a strong and visible six-pack requires some determination and commitment. If you think you have what it takes and still want to find out how to get ripped abs, let’s start by first dispelling some myths.
Common Misconceptions About Abs
First of all, we should mention that it’s perfectly possible to have well-toned abs that are hidden beneath a layer of fat. While strengthening the muscles is still encouraged, at this stage, bringing the body fat (BF) percentage down typically results in more noticeable improvements.
Speaking about strengthening the muscles, one major misconception about how to get abs is that certain targeted exercises can expose your six-pack even if you neglect the rest of your core. Since your abs are responsible for maintaining proper posture and work in conjunction with your back muscles to achieve this, focusing on your abs alone could create an imbalance in the spine stabilization musculature.
This is not to say you shouldn’t do ab-specific workouts, but rather that you should also incorporate other exercises that work your entire core, especially the back muscles.
How to Get Abs Fast With Exercise
Now that we’ve explained how important exercising is, let’s take a look at some of the most effective workouts for your abs.
Crunches are the base exercise against which all other ab exercises are measured. It’s tried and true for those who want to know how to get abs at home without any equipment or weights. Here’s how to do it:
- Lie down facing the ceiling.
- With your feet on the floor and knees bent, let your hands support your neck.
- Crunch up slowly until your shoulders leave the floor.
- You can make this exercise more challenging by lifting your legs so that your toes point at the ceiling, then pulling your knees to your chest as you crunch up.
This exercise is always mentioned when discussing how to get abs overnight, or at least as fast as possible. Here’s how it’s performed:
- Lay face-down with only the toes and palms supporting your weight.
- Firm up your body and lift your torso up.
- Remain still for five seconds before lowering back to the floor.
Follow these steps to perform this exercise:
- With your lower back against the floor and hands behind your neck (without pulling on it), move your knees up to about 45 degrees.
- Bring your left elbow in contact with your right knee, and then do the same with your right elbow and left knee.
- Your breathing should stay steady and relaxed while doing this exercise.
While many look for recommendations on how to get abs in a week, the simple truth is that you’ll simply need more time to achieve this if you want to avoid serious health consequences.
How to Make a Six-Pack Visible
Several factors influence the appearance and strength of your six-pack. Your abs become stronger with regular training as well as more effective at moving your spine. Whether your six-pack is going to be visible depends on how much subcutaneous fat you have. Still, the fastest way to get abs is through training, exercise, and the correct diet.
It is also important to mention that the body fat percentage that you’ll need to achieve in order for your abs to start showing (approximately 10%–12% for men and 16%–20% for women) is significantly below the lower limits of prescribed normal ranges – 17.6%–25.3% for men and 28.8%–35.7% for women. However, when it comes to recommendations on how to get abs, being female doesn’t mean the process will be much easier for you, regardless of the required body fat percentage.
Likewise, it should be noted that even though visceral fats don’t have a significant impact on the visibility of your abs, they are more dangerous to your health than subcutaneous fats. This means you could still have visceral fat under your six-pack, and finding a way to get rid of it is highly recommended.
Factors Influencing the Visibility of a Six-Pack
As we mentioned, the term “six-pack” refers to the long narrow muscle extending from your sternum to the pubic bone. One of the main functions of this muscle is to let you flex your spine forward. It’s the most superficial muscle of your core, and it’s called a six-pack because it looks like it’s divided into 3 (or potentially 2 or 4) pairs of individual muscular segments.
We’ve seen that abs directly relate to the amount of fat in your body. Likewise, the available exercise statistics keep confirming time and again that the quickest way to get abs is rarely also the healthiest. Therefore, you need to carefully identify the factors that directly affect the amount and location of fat in your body, possibly impeding your progress. These factors include:
Genetics plays a role in where your body stores fat. If much of your fat is stored in the abdominal region, your abs will be less visible than those of someone with a higher body fat percentage who stores fat elsewhere. Likewise, having a thicker skin, which is another heritable trait, can also do its part in hiding your six-pack. However, regardless of your genetic makeup, recommendations on how to get abs for men and women alike mostly focus on the most effective ways to eliminate as much fat around your midsection as possible.
It’s easier to make your abs visible if you follow a healthy diet. Such a diet should contain all the nutrients that your body needs to both build muscle and burn fat at the same time. In other words, you need enough fruit, vegetables, and fiber to promote healthy weight loss, but you also need protein to provide your muscles with the building blocks necessary for growth.
If you want to make the process faster, you might benefit from looking into high-quality fat burners, but again, getting abs is not something that happens overnight, and you should always be careful about pushing yourself too hard.
You should try to increase your heart rate and maintain it at a healthy level via aerobic activities. Cardio exercises are amazingly effective in trimming the fat around your midsection. Some examples of cardio activities that are easy to get into include cycling, walking, swimming, hiking, running, dancing, etc. You should aim for at least 30 minutes of cardio a day for the best results.
Diet Recommendations on How to Get Defined Abs
Coupling the following diet suggestions with the aforementioned exercise routines will help fast-track your journey towards developing visible abs.
Avoid Empty Calories
Alcohol is the biggest source of empty calories for heavy drinkers. The problem with alcohol is that people hardly realize how easy it is to consume upwards of 2,000 calories in a single drinking session. Cutting down on alcohol or eliminating it from your diet is an excellent recommendation on how to get toned abs.
Other sources of empty calories include sugary drinks, sweets, and highly processed foods. The reason they’re called “empty calories” is that they don’t offer much else in terms of nutritional value.
Drink More Water
There is conflicting evidence on the usefulness of water in weight loss, but the consensus is that substituting your sugary drinks with water will aid your weight loss efforts. Of course, drinking water in place of your usual delicious juices is no easy feat. One way to get used to this is to add a slice of your favorite fruit to your water bottle. Aim for at least two liters of water daily.
Eat More Protein
During a workout, you don’t want to be distracted by your munchies and hunger pangs, especially at the gym. Upping your protein intake—e.g., with the help of a tasty paleo protein powder—is the best way to avoid that. Notably, protein lasts longer in your stomach and digests slower than carbs. This helps you maintain high-volume workouts, avoid sugar crashes, rebuild damaged cells quickly, and recover from fatigue.
How to Get V–Cut Abs
One of the most sought-after shapes for abs is the V-cut. This line is located at the meeting point of the obliques and the transversus abdominis muscles, which means that to see it defined, you’ll need to work your lower abs and obliques hard. The basics are the same as with any other weight loss exercise regime. In other words, your diet is of paramount importance, but your genetics will also have a role in how easy or difficult developing a V-shape is likely to be for you.
We’ll describe some recommendations on how to get abs with workout routines that are effective for V-shape carvers. Stick to these exercises and maintain a healthy diet to achieve the desired results in the shortest time possible for your physique.
Hanging Leg Raises
This workout hammers your lower abs, lats, and forearms. To do this exercise, follow these outlined steps:
- Hang from a pull-up bar with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
- Clasp your legs together and make sure they’re stretched.
- Lift both legs without bending them to a point slightly above 90 degrees.
- At the top, hold your position for a few seconds before lowering your legs.
- Do 3 sets with 10–15 reps.
Here’s how to get visible abs with this simple exercise:
- While sitting on the floor, press your legs together and lift them at a 45-degree angle as you stretch both arms forward, parallel to the ground – at this point, your body is sitting in a V-shape.
- Move your feet up and down without lowering your thighs, such that your toes point toward the ceiling.
- Do 3–5 sessions at a time, and hold your positions for at least a minute.
To perform this routine, follow these steps:
- Go down in the plank position.
- Push your right knee to touch your left arm, return it to the starting position, and then do the same for the left knee and right arm.
- Aim for 2–3 sessions with 10–15 reps.
If you came here to find out how to get chiseled abs, we hope that our guide has managed to convince you that, at least for people who have the right genetic predispositions, developing a well-defined six-pack is by no means impossible. With enough persistence, an adequate diet, and exercises that don’t only target your abs but also engage your entire core, you should be well on your way to ensuring improved posture and toned midsection.
How do you get abs fast?
Eating the right diet and maintaining a healthy calorie deficit while engaging in whole-body exercise (alongside targeted exercises for the abs) is the best way to achieve noticeable results. In addition, be disciplined, patient, and consistent about your workout and diet.
How long can it take to get abs?
It’s roughly estimated that losing 1% of body fat per month is both harmless and relatively achievable. Of course, you’ll really have to work your core hard to maintain this rate of weight loss. Knowing that the body fat percentages needed for your abs to be visible are 10%–12% for men and 16%–20% for women, all you need to find out how long this process will take you is to determine your current BF percentage.
Of course, remember to follow a healthy diet when adopting exercise recommendations on how to get abs; otherwise, your efforts may prove futile.
How do you get abs in a week?
It’s impossible to achieve this without compromising some aspect of your health. The shortest possible time to aim for is one month, and that’s only true for those who are reasonably fit already.