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How To Get Nice Abs!

Frequently I get asked the question 'How can I get a nice set of abs?' I also get 'I do a thousand sit-ups a day but I still cannot see my abs. What's wrong with me?' Find out how to get nice abs!

By: Hugo Rivera

Frequently I get asked the question "How can I get a nice set of abs?" I also get "I do a thousand sit-ups a day but I still cannot see my abs. What's wrong with me?"

Before I answer the two questions above, lets examine the conditions that enable us to see our abdominal muscles.

  1. In girls a percentage of body fat of 12-13% and in guys a percentage in the 6-8% range enables the visibility of such muscles. Therefore, visible abdominal muscles come as a result of low body fat levels.

  2. Shapely abdominal muscles come as a result of abdominal exercises.

How do we get to attain the two conditions above in order to be able to show off our abs? By ensuring that the following rules are followed:


#1 - You Need To Lose Body Fat

You lose body fat by:

Nutrition

Following a good nutrition program that consists of 40-45% Carbs, 40-35% Protein, 20% Good Fats. (Visit my web site at http://www.physique-engineering.com/ and click on the nutrition link at the navigation bar in order to get information on nutrition basics).

You can do all of the sit-ups in the world and you will not be able to get nice abs if your abdomen is covered by a thick layer of fat. (Note: The percentages I gave above are the ones that I have found that work best for people that tend to be overweight. These may not be the best percentages for people that tend to be skinny but then again this article is not about bulking up).

Weight Training

Depending on your experience level and goals, this may mean three full body sessions of dumbbell work at home (for beginner or somebody that just wants to be toned) or six training sessions of heavy bodybuilding training with supersets and the whole nine yards (for an advanced bodybuilder).

"Why weight training?", some may ask. There are many reasons for this. First of all, why have great abdominal muscles and carry them with a less than shapely and toned frame? It's like having really expensive and beautiful art works in the leaving room framed with a torn and old frame.

Regardless of what infomercials claim, the only way to tone and shape your body is weight training. No aerobic machine is capable of doing that no matter how many muscles it involves and exercises.

Also, by allowing you to get extra muscle mass, weight training permanently increases your metabolism. (Don't worry ladies, you will not get like Dave Draper or Arnold Schwarzenegger if you don't want to by accident. It takes a lot of food and HEAVY training to get that to happen. Besides, women do not have the testosterone levels necessary to be able to attain such a high degree of muscle mass e.g. 20 inch arms).

Cardiovascular Exercise

In addition, cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach first thing in the morning performed in your fat burning zone also aids in the battle against fat. The fat burning zone is the zone at which you are doing enough work to burn fat.

Your pulse (how fast your heart is beating per minute) determines this zone. The fat burning zone formula is the following:

Enter Your Age - Then press Calculate.
Maximum
Heart Rate
Target
Heart Rate per minute
(75% - 85% of Max)
Target
Heart Rate
15 sec count

Why exercise first thing in the morning? You burn 300% more body fat if you exercise (this applies to both cardio and weight training) first thing in the morning than opposed to exercising at any other time.

Drink only water before, during and after the training sessions. If you want to burn more fat, do not eat anything until an hour after the training session has ended.


#2 - You Need To Shape Up Your Abdominal Muscles

You shape up your abdominals by doing abdominal exercises such as crunches (for the upper abdomen) and leg raises (for the lower abdomen).

Now that we know what the rules to getting nice abs are, lets see how to put all of the information above together in a plan that would suit well for a beginner and a person whose goal is to be toned and in shape.


The Workouts

Weeks 1-4

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Weight Training

Equipment Needed: A pair of dumbbells and a lot of determination

  1. Pushups (Against the wall if cannot be performed yet on the floor) 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  2. Two Arm Dumbbell Rows 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  3. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press on the Floor 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  4. One Arm Row 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  5. Shoulder Overhead Press 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  6. Bent Over Laterals 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  7. Dumbbell Curls 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  8. Overhead Triceps Extensions 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  9. Dumbbell Squats 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  10. Stiff Legged Dead lifts 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest) (Skip if you have lower back problems)

  11. Lunges 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  12. Calf Raises 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

Click here for printable workout log!

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Abs

  1. Crunches 3 sets of Maximum amount of reps that you can perform in good form (30 seconds)

  2. Leg Raises 3 sets of Maximum amount of reps that you can perform in good form (30 seconds)

Click here for printable workout log!

Cardio

  1. 10 minutes of cardio in the fat burning zone (fast walking, bike riding, stair stepper etc..)

Weeks 5-8

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Weight Training

Equipment Needed: A pair of dumbbells and a lot of determination

  • Superset:
    1. Pushups (Against the wall if cannot be performed yet on the floor) 2 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Two Arm Dumbbell Rows 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Superset:
    1. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press on the Floor 2 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. One Arm Row 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Superset:
    1. Shoulder Overhead Press 2 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Bent Over Laterals 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Superset:
    1. Dumbbell Curls 2 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Overhead Triceps Extensions 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Triset:
    1. Dumbbell Squats 2 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Stiff Legged Dead lifts 2 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest) (Skip if you have lower back problems)

    3. Lunges 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest) (Single Set)

    4. Calf Raises 2 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

Click here for printable workout log!

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Abs

  • Superset:
    1. Crunches 3 sets of Maximum amount of reps that you can perform in good form (30 second rest)

    2. Leg Raises 3 sets of Maximum amount of reps that you can perform in good form (30 second rest)

Click here for printable workout log!

Cardio

  1. 15 minutes of cardio in the fat burning zone (fast walking, bike riding, cardio video, etc..)

Weeks 9-12

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Weight Training

Equipment Needed: A pair of dumbbells and a lot of determination

  • Superset:
    1. Pushups (Against the wall if cannot be performed yet on the floor) 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Two Arm Dumbbell Rows 3 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Superset:
    1. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press on the Floor 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. One Arm Row 3 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Superset:
    1. Shoulder Overhead Press 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Bent Over Laterals 3 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Superset:
    1. Dumbbell Curls 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Overhead Triceps Extensions 3 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Giant set:
    1. Dumbbell Squats 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Stiff Legged Dead lifts 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest) (Skip if you have lower back problems)

    3. Lunges 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    4. Calf Raises 3 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

Click here for printable workout log!

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Abs

  • Superset:
    1. Crunches 4 sets of Maximum amount of reps that you can perform in good form (no rest)

    2. Leg Raises 4 sets of Maximum amount of reps that you can perform in good form (30 second rest)

Click here for printable workout log!

Cardio

  1. 20 minutes of cardio in the fat burning zone (fast walking, bike riding, cardio video, etc..)

The routine above will improve the shape of your body and your abdominal muscles dramatically. If you notice, all routines are very fast paced which is something that saves time, improves cardiovascular conditioning, increases the metabolism and burns fat.

It also assumes that you have never exercised before in your life and that is why it starts out at a lower intensity in the first four weeks and then it starts to build up from there.

What if you are an intermediate trainer and want to use this program. If this is your case you can adapt the program to your fitness level by using the routine from weeks 9-12 for your first 4 weeks, Weeks 1-4.

For weeks 5-8 you can do everything as giant sets. For instance

Weeks 5-8

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Weight Training

Equipment Needed: A pair of dumbbells and a lot of determination

  • Giant set:
    1. Pushups (Against the wall if cannot be performed yet on the floor) 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Two Arm Dumbbell Rows 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    3. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press on the Floor 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    4. One Arm Row 3 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Giant set:
    1. Shoulder Overhead Press 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Bent Over Laterals 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    3. Dumbbell Curls 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    4. Overhead Triceps Extensions 3 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

  • Giant set:
    1. Dumbbell Squats 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    2. Stiff Legged Dead lifts 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest) (Skip if you have lower back problems)

    3. Lunges 3 sets of 10-15 reps (no rest)

    4. Calf Raises 3 sets of 10-15 reps (30 second rest)

Click here for printable workout log!

For Cardio and Abs day, just add 5 more minutes to the Cardio (making it 25 minutes long now) and for Abs add a third exercise (your favorite ab exercise; other than crunches and leg raises).

For example:

Frock Kicks 2 sets of Maximum amount of reps that you can perform in good form (30 second rest)

Superset:

Crunches 4 sets of Maximum amount of reps that you can perform in good form (no rest)

Leg Raises 4 sets of Maximum amount of reps that you can perform in good form (30 second rest)

Click here for printable workout log!

Finally for weeks 9-12, you can add 1 more set to each exercise of your weight training routine. Also 5 more minutes of cardio and finally 2 more sets to the new abdominal exercise (and optionally do all ab exercises as a triset).


Questions And Answers On The Routines Above

Will I get my Abs in 12 weeks?

    That depends on the amount of body fat that you need to lose. If you need to lose an appreciable amount it may take longer than that. Shoot for a 2 pound fat loss per week. Don't be disappointed is this is your case.

    Think about it, you will look the same or worse in 12 weeks if you don't do anything about it. By following the programs above you are guaranteed to look better (provided you also follow the nutrition portion; Visit http://www.physique-engineering.com/ for nutrition advice)

Can I discontinue the program after 12 weeks and go back to my old habit?

    Sorry. It does not work that way. Do that and you will go back to your old looks.

What should I do after 12 weeks?

    If you performed the beginner program then jump onto the Intermediate one. If you performed the Intermediate one, you may go back to weeks 1-4 and start again. You have the option of substituting exercises if you have the equipment available.

The routine above is for people that just want to tone up. I am an advanced bodybuilder. What should I do?

    Basically adapt the principles presented above to your own training scheme. Introduce supersets and Giant sets in a gradual manner to your own routine, increase the repetitions to a 10-12 rep range, introduce cardiovascular exercise to your routine (no more than 30 minutes 3 times a week as in my opinion, any more than this and you risk losing muscle), and of course, train your abs hard and follow your diet.

Well, I hope this answers the "how do I get nice abs" question once and for all. Remember, don't let anybody fool you. Nice abs are a result of diet, weight training and cardiovascular exercise all put together in a sensible and practical program. Now that you have such program go ahead and get your Abs.

Be sure to also check out:
The Magnificent 7 Ab Routine!

Take Care and Train Hard!

How To Get Nice Abs!
hugo@hrfit.net

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bazmeister1

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bazmeister1

I've been following this workout for the last 4 weeks and have started to really see some upper body changes. Shoulders, biceps and pecs are getting bigger for sure. Cant seem to loose the belly fat though but not expecting too much after such a short time. Great workout and well worth trying out. Cheers guys

Jun 20, 2012 10:40am | report
 
chrispatty01

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chrispatty01

iwantabs.webs . com is the absolute best site with ab workouts and techniques! That site has tips, tricks, & more for fast ripped abs with results in less than a week!

Jul 14, 2013 12:04am | report
 
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