If you ask any fitness professional for the secret to six-pack abs, you’ll probably get several answers – some of them make good sense while others will cost you good cents.
Some may say there is no secret – just hard work, proper nutrition and good posture. Others will pull the genetic card and tell you to work with their strengths – not everybody is born with a six-pack rack.
There are many contributing factors to unwanted fat collecting around your middle and one of the most prevalent culprits is stress and that noxious hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone is the highest in the morning and can be brought down to size with an early morning workout.
But what we all want to know is what kind of workout does it take to produce beautiful washboard abs.
The trick is in working the entire core through compound exercises and a dedicated regime. Here are a couple of killer exercises that work the entire body, drawing from the front, side and back of the core muscles.
Lunges with Medicine Ball Twist
These are the same as walking lunges but holding a medicine ball and twisting to one side as you lower yourself down into the lunge. Perform 3 or 4 sets of these for 10 to 12 reps and you will definitely feel the burn.
Landmine Squat to Shoulder Press Twist
Holding a barbell at one end across the body, lower yourself down into a squat, then push the bar up and away from you as you twist your body, finishing in a shoulder press. Perform 3 to 4 sets of these for 10 to 12 reps to activate your entire core and body.
Both these exercises can be worked into your leg-training day for maximum output and time efficiency.
Unlike other muscles, you can work your abs every day, or every other day is preferred by most. The important thing is to set aside 15 to 30 minutes, concentrating just on your abdominal muscles. This circuit is one you can perform 3 times a week.
Kneeling Cable Crunch
Using a rope attachment and positioning yourself on your knees, face the pulley and bend forward, drawing your chest into your pelvis. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps. You can also add a twist to this exercise to work your obliques.
Position yourself on an decline bench, tucking your feet under the pads and sit all the way up to work your core from top to bottom. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps.
Hanging Leg Raises
This exercise works your lower abs and can be done with bent or straight legs. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps.
Plank with Leg Twist
Assume the plank position and bring one knee up and across the body, alternating legs. Finish this movement off with a 30-second plank hold. Repeat for 3 sets of 24 reps (12 each side).
Perform this routine as a circuit. Once you reach the end, rest for 60 to 90 seconds and repeat for a total of 3 rounds.
Mark A. Samuel