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An Abdominal Workout Plan to Help You Build Strong, Flat Abs

An Abdominal Workout Plan to Help You Build Strong, Flat Abs


    Do you feel frustrated because you can’t build strong, flat abs no matter how many crunches or leg raises you perform? You’re not alone. I receive emails from guys and girls every day who do ab exercises constantly without getting the results they desire.

    This article makes the often elusive flat, strong abs a thing of the past. That’s because I’ve cracked the code and figured out what exercises really work. Give this abdominal workout plan a try for yourself and after a few weeks you will find your abs are flatter and stronger than ever before.

    First Things First – How Your Ab Muscles Really Work

    Many people think that the only functions of the abdominal muscles are to crunch your chest toward your knees and raise your legs upward. This is why exercises like crunches, leg raises, and sit ups are so popular. The main problem with this is that these are just a few of the ways your abs work. Another, perhaps bigger issue is that these exercises train the muscles of your hips more than anything else.

    In reality your ab muscles have several functions. They are to stabilize your spine, absorb force, flex and extend the trunk, and twist from the waist. A great abdominal workout plan is therefore one that uses exercises that work your abs in each of these ways. Since they are like any other muscle, you need to train them using enough resistance to force them to recover and grow stronger. This means sets of 5-12 reps. Anything else is a waste of time.

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    Hacking Your Way To Strong, Flat Abs – The Workout

    Before you proceed be forewarned. Don’t expect to find any crunches or situps in the workout below. I’ve instead included exercises that work your abs and the rest of your body in a more functional manner. Trust me, you’ll feel your abs are being trained 100% every workout. The results will speak for themselves.

    You should do this abdominal workout plan 3 times a week. I prefer doing it every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This allows for enough time to rest, recover, and grow between workouts.

    You will be alternating between 2 workouts, labeled A and B. Each are listed below along with an example as to how it’s performed.

    Ab Workout A

    • Alternating Kettlebell Swings
    • Kettlebell Front Squats
    • 1 Arm Kettlebell Row
    • Resistance Band Push Ups (only use resistance bands if you can do more than 10 regular push ups)
    • Farmers Walks
    • Medicine Ball Side Throws

    Ab Workout B

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    How To Perform These Workouts

    Alternate between A and B workouts at every session. I’ve listed how this will be performed for the first 4 weeks. After 4 weeks of training this way you can start a new workout or begin again with workout A.

    Week One
    Monday: Workout A
    Wednesday: Workout B
    Friday: Workout A

    Week Two
    Monday: Workout B
    Wednesday: Workout A
    Friday: Workout B

    Week Three
    Monday: Workout A
    Wednesday: Workout B
    Friday: Workout A

    Week Four
    Monday: Workout B
    Wednesday: Workout A
    Friday: Workout B

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    Sets and Reps
    Here are the sets and reps you will do for each exercise every week. Start with a weight that you can do for the prescribed number of repetitions with good technique.

    Every workout is to be performed as a circuit. Working out this way will help you burn more calories from stored body fat which will make your abs visible faster. You’ll do every exercise one after the other with no rest between each. Rest 2-5 minutes between each circuit.

    • Week 1: 3 circuits per workout. Perform 8 reps per exercise.
    • Week 2: 3 circuits per workout. Increase the weight used on exercises you can do 10 times.
    • Week 3: 4 sets for each exercise. Perform 8 reps per exercise.
    • Week 4: 4 sets for each exercise. Increase the weight used on exercises you can do 10 times.
    • Week 5: 5 sets for each exercise. Perform 8 reps per exercise.
    • Week 6: 5 sets for each exercise. Increase the weight used on exercises you can do 10 times.

    More Than An Ab Workout

    Since these are total body workouts you’ll find that you build muscle and get stronger throughout the rest of your body too. The only equipment you’ll need are a kettlebell, medicine ball, and resistance bands. You can substitute barbells and dumbbells if necessary.

    After performing this workout for 4-6 weeks you can switch to a new program with a new focus. I recommend always including at least a few of the exercises from this workout in your programs to ensure your abs are always being trained properly.

    Don’t Forget About Diet

    While this abdominal workout plan will build flat abs that are stronger than ever, you have to eat right to get them to look the way you want. Dieting to lose fat doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply cutting our flour and sugar rich foods alone will help you obtain visible abs.

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    I recommend reading 3 Hacks To Help You Lose 10 Pounds In 21 Days for detailed tips to help you lose excess body fat.

    Studies show that getting enough sleep is critical to keeping belly fat off too.

    Now you know the right way to work out to build strong, lean, and functional abdominal muscles. All that’s left is for you to give it a try. Once you do I guarantee that you’ll never feel the need to perform another crunch, leg raise, or sit up.

    (Photo credit: Man Showing Six-Pack with Woman via Shutterstock)

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    Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

    Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

    There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

    “For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

    Primal Therapy

    Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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    How it Started

    “During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

    It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

    “I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

    Delving deeper

    Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

    Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

    Some Methods To Practice Screaming

    If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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    • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
    • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
    • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
    • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

    After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

    Scream Sing

    Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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    • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
    • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
    • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
    • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
    • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
    • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
    • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

    If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

    Scream into a pillow

    Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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    Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

    Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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