Here’s why your ab workout isn’t working (and how to fix it)
Abs are like the Grand Wizard of Fitness. They are like championship trophy. The flag at the top of the mountain. But for most of us gym rats, these damn abs are still like some mythical creature. You spend all your workouts looking or them like a damn Where’s Waldo puzzle.
Then there’s those guys that just look like they were born with abs. Like ice cream gives them abs. Like the dude is washing off fat in the shower and you’re busting your ass and your six-pack is more like a keg.
But here’s the facts: Most dudes don’t walk around all day with ultra-ripped rock-hard Hollywood abs. But that doesn’t mean abs are impossible. Yes, you can see your abs again but all the lifting in the world, not Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy are going to gift your a chiseled midsection if you’re not doing the little things. Ah, those little things.
Oh but I’m in the gym four days a week, you say. I do abs everyday, you say. My body just isn’t build for abs. Well, let’s address that first. That’s bullsh*t. OK. Addressed.
You can do sit-ups until you’re unconscious, but if you don’t pay attention to these missteps, you can keep rubbing your baby gut.
So here’s the mistakes guys are making:
Mistake #1: Your diet is crap.
This is the main one. I’m not going to spend a bunch of time telling you all the foods that are bad for you. You know that already. So put the damn cheeseburger down. You want a flat stomach? Cut out the junk food. Processed food, fried food all the shit with a mountain of sugar in it. Toss it.
You need food that’s going to boost your metabolism and keep you from feeling bloated. Peppers, fruits and vegetables, foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts are going to help. Sweet potatoes, blueberries, beans, green tea are all good. And you need protein. Yes, be a bro and pack a week’s worth of grilled chicken in your Spiderman lunchbox.
But if you’re finishing your workout and ordering Chinese takeout… you know exactly where your abs are.
Mistake #2: You think you can crunch away your gut.
Buddy, it doesn’t work like that. All the abs exercises in the world aren’t going to help you if you eat like crap. But is also isn’t going to help if you’re doing the same exercises all the time. Doing thousands of crunches isn’t going to help if you’ve got a giant layer of fat around your midline. So once you’ve taken all the bullshit out of your fridge it’s time to start putting in work.
Yes, you’ll have to do some cardio. Stop your whining. But there are lots of alternatives to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time. You’ll need to incorporate some high intensity interval training and circuit training. Basically, you’ll need to start cutting the rest time in your workouts. So get off the damn group text and wait until your workout is over.
Mistake #3: You’re not lifting heavy.
I don’t have a mission to turn everyone into a barbell pushing bro-stick but if you want abs, you gotta put down the baby weights. This ain’t aerobics class. Put some weight on the bar. Compound movements like back squats and front squats are gainers for your abs. But if you really want to get after it, incorporate Overhead Squats into your program. Don’t waste time doing 1,000 reps of some exercise with little to no weight. Your abs are a muscle. If you want them to grow, you need to challenge them.
Now here’s a few bodyweight moves and a few weighted moves that they’ll help rip your core. And there’s ain’t one damn sit-up in the bunch.
Hollow Hold: Lay flat on your back with your arms above your head, with your shoulders pressed toward your ears. Then lift your shoulder blades and legs while pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold this position while keeping your legs and shoulders elevated.
Tucks: Start by laying flat on your back. Lift your torso while bringing your knees to your chest. Return to the start position in a controlled motion.
Toe Touches: Lift your legs straight with your heels toward the ceiling. Lift your torso and reach your hands to your feet. If that sounds nuts, reach for your ankles, or shins, or knees.
Overhead Squat: Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Using a 25-pound plate, a barbell or two dumbbells, lift the weight overhead. Now initiate this move by pushing your hips back first and sitting straight down until your hips are below your knees. Keep your chest up throughout the move and avoid overarching your back by keeping your core muscles engaged.
Wood Chop: Using a 25-pound plate, start with your feet wider than your shoulders. Bringing the plate down diagonally across your body, start with the weight on the outside of your right knee. Keeping your arms straight, swing the weight up across your body until the weight is slightly behind you with your right foot turned inward. Repeat on the opposite side.
Russian Twists: Start sitting on the floor with your torso and feet elevated and your knees bent. Using a weighted plate, medicine ball or kettlebell bring the weight back and forth from your left hip to your right hip for a complete set.
Tabata Challenge: 3 Rounds. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off.