Abs seem to be the thing most people are fixated on when it comes to getting into shape. No matter how muscular the rest of your body is, abs seem to be the visually defining trait that shows off a person’s discipline and level of fitness. The elusive six-pack is a prize many people dream of, but abdominal training is so much more than that. While a six-pack, or even a four-pack or two-pack is certainly something to show off, what you want to focus on is not just looks but actually maintaining your core strength.

What to expect when you do an ab workout

Abs are just like any other muscle group. You must do a variety of exercises to see results - only doing crunches every day or only changing your diet alone will not do the trick. With ab exercises and cardio training combined with a healthy diet, you will quickly begin to see improvement. You will have to keep changing up your workouts, because the abs are very adaptable - once they are familiar with a certain number and style of crunches, they will recognize the movement and you will get less from it.

How to prepare for an abdominal workout

If you are serious about toning your abdominal muscles, you will have to set time aside in your schedule for it. Also, make sure you know what your goals are. If you are exercising for strength, then you can incorporate heavy weights into your ab training, and should only set aside 2-3 days a week for those workouts. If you want to work on your core, set aside 3-4 days a week to work on your stability and agility exercises - you also won’t need the heavy weights. You can also adapt your routine for other goals, such as preventing injuries.

Muscles you'll engage during an ab workout

LWhen you work out your abs, you are also exercising your core. You core is what stabilizes your back and torso, whose strength is vital for almost every part of movement as well as reducing injuries and aches. A strong core can also affect your posture, and good posture helps keep all of your muscles from being strained - and it keeps your back flexible. For your lower abdominal muscles you should do reverse crunches, while crunches with a twist strengthen your obliques and lateral flexor muscles. Upper ab crunches work on your upper abdominals and so on, which means that you get to choose what area of your stomach you want to improve and make an exercise plan for yourself. A regular exercise routine will also help your digestion, as well as stimulate your mind and leave you more motivated.

Tips to get rock hard abs

Do not work on your abs every day. You should be working them hard enough that you are too sore to do anything but rest the next day. Resting is what helps the muscles grow: as you exercise you create tiny tears that grow back stronger than ever. Giving them time to recover will actually help your progress greatly. You abs are no chemically different than any other muscle, so don’t expect them to magically bounce back any quicker and be ready for a workout.

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