Trying to get a six-pack while stuck at home? Perhaps you want to achieve a more toned, flatter stomach, or maybe your goals are loftier, with sights set on the sort of washboard stomach that grants instant access to the next series of Love Island. Whatever the mission, it's important to first understand what's going on underneath the inevitable wobbly paunch that resides under the comfortable winter jumper. That's where you need tips on how to get a six pack from someone who is absolutely ripped. Can you achieve the same highly shredded look from the confines of your home gym? We have no idea, but it gives you something to do, right?
"Your abs are made up of many different muscles, so in order for them to develop properly, it’s recommended that you incorporate a number of different exercises into your core workout routine. This will allow you to exercise at a variety of different angles so you’re able to target each part of your abs effectively," says Nathan Williams, a Grenade ambassador, Body Building World Champion and top personal trainer.
- Get fit at home with the best weights, running machines and more
- Try this 3-exercise abs workout
- Or this 15-minute six-pack home workout
How to train your abs like a pro athlete
Just like any other muscle, your abs and the many complex muscles involved need to be trained with progressive overload, which usually means gradually adding weight over time.
But many exercises involving the abdominal region are hard to target with weight plates, dumbbells and the like. So here, simply adding more reps, holding a position longer or introducing a slower tempo could be the key to successfully beefing up those abs.
"To begin with, I’d recommend starting with the exercises you find the most challenging, then work your way down to the easiest movements as the workout progresses," says Nathan.
This will allow you to focus on those tough exercises at first, concentrating on form in the first instance and ensuring you get a good squeeze on the muscles.
An easy abs routine
Hanging Knee Tucks
3 x 12-15 reps
Head for a fixed pull-up bar, rack or even a branch in your local park that can support your weight. Grab it with an over hand grip and let your legs hang, so they are off the floor.
Pull the knees up to your chest using your abdominal muscles. This will activate front abs, hip flexors and some obliques if you pull the knees up at an angle.
Lower slowly to the start position and repeat.
3x 12-15 reps
This move may look a little bit like you're praying to some god of the abdominal muscles, but it's a solid workout for the abs. Attach a rope to a cable pull-down machine, lay a soft mat on the floor to protect the knees and adopt a kneeling position facing the cable machine.
With a rope in each hand, grip the handles near your temple and pull the weight down using just your abs. Squeeze the stomach muscles hard, tuck your chin into your chest and round the back as you reach the end of the movement, which should have you looking like you've rolled into a ball. Pause at the bottom and return.
This is probably one of the only exercises that encourages you to curve your upper back (rather than keeping it flat), so start off on a very light weight and only start to increase load once form is perfected to avoid back injury.
Cable Horizontal Chops
3x 10 reps each side
Use the same cable machine but attach a suitable handle grip that you can comfortably grab and hold on to. Stand next the cable machine, feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in the knee.
Grab the handle with your left hand to start with and rest the right on top for balance, now rotate the torso and pull the cable across the body until it is fully extended out to your side. Start with a light weight that will gently pull you back to the start position of this move. Repeat for ten reps and swap sides.
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Top tips for obtaining the perfect stomach
Nathan believes that working the abs takes slightly more than just squeezing as many crunches as you can into a workout.
"Form is key here. Make sure you’re performing each exercise correctly to avoid injury and for best results. Controlled movement is also essential – slow things down and you’re sure to feel the burn".
"Make sure you exhale on each rep to ensure your mid-section doesn’t fill with air".
"Remember, body fat is a huge factor when working on your abs. We all have abs but, the more body fat you have, the less visible your abs will be. If you’re cramming in a core workout into every session and still not seeing results, you may need to address your diet or increase your activity level to reduce body fat".