Abs: The Never Ending Struggle

Everyone wants them but nobody seems to want to work for them.  I’m guilty of this myself, looking in the mirror thinking how I wish I had ripped abs only to quickly remember the last time I did a crunch was when the Cavaliers were a playoff team.  Along with calves, our core seems to be the most neglected muscle group on our body.  Why is it that we overlook this group of muscles even though we all desperately want them?  Well the answer to that is simple, because getting them is difficult and maintaining is even worse!

I could get into how your core plays a big role in how your body stabilizes weight, or how having a strong core will help strengthen your other lifts but the fact is you probably don’t care about that.  We all know why you want abs, because the ladies love them.  Abs are probably the one thing that women respond to most.  Nothing ticks off a veteran lifter more than when they hear a girl say “oh, he’s ripped” only to see a skinning guy that probably never even lifted a weight before.  Ripped?!  Are you serious?!  This just goes to show you the impact that some lumps on your tummy have, and for this reason every single dude out there would kill for a six pack.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say “pshh, I don’t want abs”.  Now if you’re one of those guys that just naturally have abs…… I hate you.  If you’re like me and have to work your butt off to look like that “ripped kid”, here’s how you get it done.

First, I don’t care how many crunches or fancy abs gizmos you use, if your body fat % isn’t low enough, you WILL NOT see abs.  Everyone has abs, the problem is the layer of body fat hiding them. Removing this layer is going to be about 90% diet and 10% exercise.  You must diet properly and get your cardio in, plain and simple.  Take a look at this diet, follow something even close to this and you’ll be looking for any chance you get to take your shirt off.

Second, once your body fat is low enough where your abs appear more visible, regular exercise will help to shape them, and hitting three sets each week isn’t going to cut it.  Abs are like any other muscle so they should be trained like any other muscle.  When you decided you wanted a bigger chest did you just do a few sets of bench press?  Probably not, most likely you hit your chest with different exercises that stimulated every area of the muscle.  Your abs are no different and training them like you would any other muscle is necessary if you want those babies to pop out.

For me, control is key in a good ab workout.  Kneeling cable crunches is my favorite ab exercise for a couple reasons, I can load up plenty of resistance and I can control the movement better than a regular sit-up or crunch.  A traditional sit up is fine and all but think of it this way, are you going to build up your chest faster with push-ups or some heavy bench press?  Typically I like to do 5-6 good sets of kneeling cable crunches before I hit the ball.  The exercise ball is a great tool to isolate different areas of your abs while still being able to control the movement properly.  Of course everyone is different and the best way to find out what ab exercises you like best is to try them.

There’s no secret to getting abs and if you believe those magazines that promise “six pack abs in 4 weeks” you’re delusional.  The only thing that’s stopping you from having some abs to be proud of is yourself.  So if you want girls to say “Oh, he’s ripped” when they see you with your shirt off you need to remember three things.  Diet, exercise, and DIET!  I don’t know about you but if I had abs worth showing I’d be lifting up my shirt more than a college girl on spring break.


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