Want to get a stronger core? Want a toned midsection? Or maybe a shredded 6-pack for summer? Then keep reading.
One of the most popular questions we get from our clients is “how do I train abs?” or “I want to do more abs in my workouts.”
So, why don’t we do 30 minutes of abs with every workout?
Because it’s a waste of time.
Here’s the thing, you’re not going to see any of your abs until you get to a low body fat percentage. As a general rule of thumb, a “toned” midsection isn’t going to appear for women until they’re around 20% bodyfat and for men around 15% bodyfat.
So if your bodyfat is over that level (you can get it tested at local gyms in your area. Click here to find a local InBody Scan) or you have some excess skin from weight loss or kids, then it’s going to be really tough to actually see your abs.
Notice how I haven’t mentioned ab training yet?
You can do as many sit ups and crunches as you want, if you haven’t gotten to low body fat levels yet, you won’t see your abs.
And doing more core work won’t speed up burning body fat from your midsection, that’s called spot reducing and it’s a myth. Abs are made in the kitchen AKA your diet is important.
Okay, so what about getting stronger abs? How much ab training do I really need?
If you use free weights, like we do with most of our workouts at Protect & Provide, then every single exercise actually works your abs. Doing something like a push up is actually a moving plank, doing a goblet squat also works your abs similar to a plank.
What happens when you do both those exercises together? Now you’re working your core without 1) wasting time doing it separate and 2) your working more muscles than a regular plank so you’re going to build more muscle and burn fat faster!
Now, let’s break down core training so you can understand it a little bit better. Without getting too much into the science, you can break down core training into 3 types:
- Anti- Rotation
- Anti- Lateral Flexion
Anti-flexion movements are things like planks, deadbugs, and ab wheels. But also push ups, goblet carries, goblet squats and lunges.
Anti-rotation movements are things like band belly presses/Pallof presses and birddogs. But also single arm floor or bench press, landmine press, single arm rows, and single leg RDLs.
And the last one, anti-lateral flexion, includes side planks, but also farmer carries, suitcase carries, suitcase deadlifts, single arm overhead presses.
If you’re a Protect & Provide client and you recognize a lot of those exercises in your program, that’s not by mistake.
Before I get the hate email, there can be benefits to adding some (key word is some) traditional core work in your program.
So, if you enjoy doing sit ups, leg raises, and other core work, 5-10 minutes once or twice a week will be fine, but you don’t need more than that. Your abs are muscles just like in your legs or arms, and need time to recover.
To wrap this up, no amount of extra core workouts will get you abs any faster. You need a solid diet and workout routine to get a toned or ripped midsection. Free weights are the way to go if you want to get a stronger core with 1-2 other core-specific exercises mixed in.
If you want to get your midsection stronger or get leaner for summer, click here to grab the free 30 Days to Mountain Ready program or set up a free 1o-minute phone call to get you started.