April 01, 2021 4 min read
Often considered the holy grail of fitness, it’s pretty common for gym-goers both new and old to aspire towards a perfect set of washboard abs. It’s a very visual way to see how you’ve improved yourself and get the satisfaction of accomplishment, and we don’t blame you in the slightest for wanting that kind of satisfaction. While hitting the public gym isn’t really an option right now, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to getting abs at home so that you’re equipped with the best abs workouts and the tools to perform them.
Before we go into details, we should first establish the kind of mindset you’ll need going into this from the top. The first key to developing your abdominal muscles is consistency. You need to have the willpower and motivation to stay disciplined and commit to your workout routine. The process of actually developing your abs isn’t complicated in theory, but rather most people fail because they just can’t keep up with the demands necessary to actually reach their goal. Before you start, identify what motivates you and what you can do on days when you’re just not feeling it to push yourself forward and get through your routine. Set realistic goals and milestones for yourself within the journey to your dream abs to prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed or ineffective.
Once you’ve got your discipline sorted, the next key to building abs is your diet and knowing how you fuel your body.
Exercise and diet go hand-in-hand. You need both in order to get the results you want, no matter how hard you work. Picking the right foods can help you increase your metabolism, burn fat faster, and keep you feeling full, energized, and satisfied between meals to prevent you from falling into the temptations of snacks. A general rule of thumb is to avoid processed foods in favor of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and most importantly, protein. Things like fatty fish, in particular, will be very beneficial in that they are rich in healthy fats and protein which you’ll need plenty of to give your body the right fuel for exercise and building muscle. If you ever feel like you need a snack, legumes and nuts like almonds are rich in protein—so you won’t accidentally ruin your progress nor leave yourself going hungry.
A common practice for those trying to develop their abs is that they’ll gear their diet more towards spot reduction than overall fat loss. This hasn’t shown to be any more effective for developing abs, so we recommend that you focus on overall fat loss instead.
Now then, let’s finally get into the meat of this ultimate guide to getting abs at home. To start off easy, we’ll first look at the bodyweight exercises you can perform. These are not only effective but ideal if you aren’t able to invest in home gym equipment. These include isometric exercises like planks, dead bugs, or bird dogs. These exercises are about contracting your muscles and enduring that contraction for a period of time. In the case of bodyweight exercises like planks, holding the position for 20-30 seconds is perfect. When you begin, you’ll find it difficult to properly contract all the muscles in your body—sometimes tensing up one muscle will relax another—but don’t be discouraged. Keep at it until your body adjusts and can tense all of them at the same time.
Bodyweight exercises can even be supplemented with weights like dumbbells. This adds an extra challenge to your routine if you begin to find your exercises to feel too easy. Dumbbells are also a great investment because they’re relatively cheap and very versatile accessories. They are a must for any home gym.
While this piece of equipment requires a bit of room within your home, a functional trainer has the benefit of being as versatile as dumbbells and provides you with the opportunity to provide a variety of exercises. Some of the best uses of a functional trainer to develop abs include exercises like hanging leg raises, cable crunches, or woodchops. Not only does this allow you have an effective routine that works out your core, but also a wide variety of exercises to choose from to avoid monotony and boredom during your routine. Boredom will always be a looming threat that could destroy your motivation and discipline, so giving yourself as many options as possible will help ward off the tedium and keep you stimulated enough to enjoy your hard work.
Rowing machines are truly underrated. WaterRower fitness equipment provides an excellent full-body workout and the motion of rowing is conducive towards sculpting those abdominals into something mighty. Every stroke of the rowing machine engages your core while also involving the rest of your body so that you’re both building muscle and burning off any fat layered over them. Keep this in mind for your abs, especially, because no matter how beefy and sculpted your abs are, they’ll never show through if there’s a layer of fat in the way. Rowing machines have you covered on both fronts.
For the bodybuilders amongst you, perhaps you’re looking for some a bit more intense. That’s when we go back to classics and focus on using barbells and benches. Deadlifting, barbell back squats, and bench pressing are fantastic options for building up those abs and giving you a far greater challenge than simply resisting your own body weight. If you go down this route, ensure you have a workout buddy to spot you as you bench press—barbells are no joke.
The dumbbells also make a return for weightlifting exercises in case a barbell is simply too big for your abode. Some good ways to makes use of your dumbbells include exercises like squat to overhead presses with rotation, low to high dumbbell chops, or dumbbell swings. These exercises seem a bit milder in comparison to something as intense as barbells and bench presses, but we promise these are just as effective at giving your midsection a proper workout.
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