This is a bit of a difficult blog for me to write. I don’t want to offend anyone that’s struggled with trying to get abs. I also don’t want to come off as cocky or arrogant by saying I’ve had abs since high school. But I really believe there are just a few steps that it takes in order to get abs. The real reason that I pushed myself to write this blog is because I figure helping people get the abs they want outweighs the risk of making myself come off as arrogant. I’ll share my ab routine with you at the end so if you’d like to see just that you can skip to the bottom. Just as a heads up, I don’t recommend planks at all. I’ve seen no benefit from them and they aren’t functional. You won’t find them in my routine. You also won’t find normal crunches here. They workout a very limited part of your core and you won’t see great results doing them.
I’m 24 years old and I’ve had visible abs since early high school (again, sorry if this is too cocky). As I’ve written before, I’ve been an athlete my whole life up through college. Even after college basketball when I stopped playing competitively, I still have kept up routine exercise and a healthy diet. Exercise is just a part of my life. I don’t think of it as a task or a challenge, it’s just as a part of my life as it is to eat or sleep. I need exercise to keep my mind right and to maintain balance with my body. So yes, I do workout a decent amount, but I want to share how to get abs easily by only doing them twice a week The workouts I suggest take less than 30 minutes. You’re welcome to do it three or even four times a week if you want to get results faster. But for me, twice a week is enough.
The first step is diet. Like they say, abs start in the kitchen. If you have excess body fat around your stomach, you can do all the sit-ups in the world and you still won’t get any abs. So, eat clean! I’m going to briefly share my philosophy on diet, I will expand on my entire philosophy in a separate blog. Understand that what I’m sharing about diet is the extreme. In a perfect world we would follow this exactly, but understand to not kill yourself with it. Just be conscious of how much you “cheat”. The more strictly you follow it, the better/faster results will be. It just depends how quickly you want results. My diet philosophy is simple. If a food at some point had a lifespan, then eat it. If not, stay away from it. So, this includes meats (make sure it’s clean and ethically sourced), any vegetables (yes, plants have lifespans too), eggs, ect. Make sure your food was living or growing at some point. Be careful using seasonings, marinades, or sauces as this is where there is a lot of sneaky fats. We use these things to add flavor and unfortunately in most cases, adding flavor means adding fats and sugars. The next part to this diet is to cut out bread completely. Even wheat bread. This includes pastas. Eating bread will only slow down progress or can very easily reverse progress and build up blubber.
The next step is cardio. If you still have trouble chipping away at that belly flubber, then you NEED to do some cardio. Cardio is essentially for homeostasis regardless of your fitness goals, but it is even more so critical when we’re working to get abs. Run, play a sport, climb stairs, ride the bike, or go for walks/hikes. I run once or twice a week on top of pick up basketball from time to time. I also play racquetball every now and then. In my experience, the best ways to sweat are running hills, climbing stairs, or playing an active sport of your interest.
Ok, here is my ab workout routine:
- DECLINED SIT UPS (3x12x10) – This requires a decline bench that pretty much every gym has. I’ll explain what I mean by 3x12x10 right after I explain what the exercise is. Put the bench at as much of a decline as it goes. Place your hands on your head but do not grab your head. Your hands are only there to add more weight to the sit up. When you go down, your back should touch the bench, but it shouldn’t rest on it. If these get too difficult which they may at first, put your hands by yourself but try not to swing them. It’s better to do less reps the right way than it is to hit your rep goal by cheating the exercise. Results will come faster too, trust me. Immediately after these 12 reps of normal declined sit ups, go down halfway and do Russian twists, 10 of them, 5 each side. For those of you who don’t know what Russian twists are, it’s when you go halfway down in your crunch and rotate your torso from side to side as much as you can.
- That’s one set. 12 normal declined sit-ups right into 10 Russian twists. Do this for 3 sets.
- LEG RAISES (1×30) – After a very short break, you want to find yourself a flat bench. Lay on it flat on your back. Reach your hands behind your head and grab a part of the bench under your head. Keep your legs straight and bring your legs all the way up as far as you can go in a controlled way. Do not go too fast. Then bring your legs all the way down so your feet almost touch the ground. You may feel a bit of a stretch which is good. The reason I like using the bench vs doing them on the ground is because 1) you can grab underneath the bench so it’s easier to isolate your abs and 2) you are able to bring your legs past the plane of your body instead of just bringing them down to the floor. This exercise isolates more of your lower abs which are more difficult to get and using the bench isolates the lower abs even more. Do this for the first 10 reps. Then go right into another version of these. For this version, you are going to bring your legs up like you did before, but at the peak of each rep, lift your butt off the bench so you’re pushing your feet higher in the air. Then let your butt down and lower your legs as you did before. Do this for 10 reps. Then for the last 10 reps, do 10 more normal leg raises like you did for the first 10. This will be difficult if you haven’t done many exercises for abs. I know it may seem like it’s jumping back and forth and you’re right, but it works. This is a great starting point and once you understand how it’s working your core, you can come up with your own variations, but this is what I do, and it works very well. Again, if any of this is too much, it’s better to do less reps the right way then do more bad reps.
- ROLLOUTS (3×10) – For this you need a roller. If you don’t know what I mean, it looks like a single wheel with a handle on both sides of it. Get on your knees and sit straight up to start. It’s easier on your knees if they are on a mat of some kind, just make sure you’re rolling out on a hard, smooth surface. Place the wheel close to your knees and roll the wheel straight out with your arms extended. Roll out far enough where your belly just touches the ground. Do not rest it on the ground. Then flex your abs to roll the wheel back to your knees. Do this for three sets of ten. This exercise targets your upper abs, which are usually the first abs that will start to show. This is very hard for some people. Again, if any of this is too much, it’s better to do less reps the right way then do more bad reps.
- LEG RAISES (1×30) – Yes, just like you did for Day 1. See Day 1 for the description. You’re going to do the exact same thing for Day 2. I’ve noticed this exercise is a gem that a lot of people don’t do, but I’ve seen great progress from this exercise alone.
That’s it. It doesn’t take much time to complete, but it does burn like hell. If you want faster results, you’re welcome to add another day or two if you’d like. If you want to experiment with other ab exercises, Day 3 or 4 would be the time to experiment with them. I recommend sticking to the first two days as I’ve listed them out. I’ve been doing this routine for a long time and I don’t see myself changing anytime soon. This routine gives you the most bang for your buck, giving you the best results for a short amount of time. Hope this helps.