ABS… they seem to be one of the most coveted muscle groups to sculpt. Today, I’m sharing my top 2 tips on how I train abs to help you see great ab progress for yourself.
MY SILLY AB STORY
I’ve shared this story before, so if you’ve heard it, feel free to scroll down to the next section. Abs were my very first fitness goal. I seriously remember googling “how to get abs” on the family computer and printing all sorts of information and ab exercises.
I trained my abs every single day. At first, I followed google images that I printed with various ab exercises in my pink bedroom when I would get home from high school. Eventually, I made my way to the gym where I would do my 30 mins of cardio followed by 30 mins of abs. One would think I finally saw my abdominal muscles, right?! Wrong.
Fast forward several years, I was in college (still working for those abs lol). My then boyfriend (now husband) was working for a supplement company. He had an upcoming work trip for a trade show type of thing and they asked if I wanted to join to help work the booth. The thought of being around real fitness models and competitors terrified me, but I committed.
To prepare, I decided to change some things about how I trained and ate. I took progress pictures to document it and finally, I had a picture that showed the tiniest, baby ab seen at only a certain angle in just the right lighting (LOL!). I probably couldn’t see it now if I tried, but it was all the motivation I needed to continue.
Eventually, visible ab definition was something I had regularly. And most importantly, I was able to maintain it! I learned (the hard way haha), it’s about training smarter not harder, so that’s what I want to share with you today.
THE TRUTH ABOUT ABS
I have 2 truths I want to add in about abs: 1) abs aren’t everything (really!) and 2) the best ab work is done in the kitchen.
First off, abs certainly aren’t everything. That seems silly to even have to say, but sometimes, we set a goal, such as visible abdominal defintion and become so intent on reaching it that we lose perspective. We are already amazing. Abs aren’t going to make us any better or happier. And, we have got to know that!
I share tips on abs because if that’s one of your goals, there are certainly things that will help get you there. I don’t want to keep useful information from you. Yet, I never want you to think you need abs to be fit or feel good. Because, you don’t! You’re perfect just as you are.
Secondly, the best ab work is done in the kitchen. End of story. I am okay with sounding like a broken record repeating that because I know once you put that into action, you’ll be preaching it too! That’s what held me back all those years and it’s why I created my Eat Your Way Lean Meal Plan; when I found what really worked, I became overly passionate about it.
Yet, there are things we can do in the gym to help achieve that ab goal too! That’s what I’m going to share below. Tomorrow, I’ll post a bit more on how I slightly tweak what I eat in order to stay lean and hit those abs goals.
MY TOP 2 AB SCULPTING TIPS
1) TIME UNDER TENSION
Time under tension also known as TUT refers to the amount of time a muscle is spent under strain. To use a non example, let’s say you’re doing body weight squats and it takes you 35 seconds to complete 10 reps (TUT = 35 seconds). The reason I am brining this up in relation to abs is because increasing the time under tension can lead to greater muscle breakdown.
Remember… muscle breakdown is a good thing. We see “results” and “progress” when we breakdown our muscle cells during exercise; it’s easier said than done because muscle breakdown doesn’t just happen. We have to work pretty hard and strategically for the processes of muscle breakdown and muscle protein synthesis (through recovery) to occur. This is especially the case with our abdominal muscles!
When I train abs, I focus on time under tension as the main goal. With the new Weight Training 2.0 plans, I wanted to include a Cardio + Ab Add On Plan for this reason. I designed ab workouts with a lot of supersets and circuits to increase the time under tension your ab muscles would be working for. Keeping the abs actively engaged without rest for an extended period of time helped my ab progress so much! I highly suggest you try this training tip and follow that Add On Plan.
I’ve always included planks in my ab workouts just never as a staple. If I had a rotation of 25 of my favorite ab exercises, planks were just 1 of the 25 I rotated in. Only within the past year or two have I noticed planks making a major difference in my ab training and results.
First off, planks are a great way to increase the time under tension. Just think… if you are to complete 30 crunches that may take you as quickly as 30 seconds of less. If you are to complete a plank and hold it as long as you can, you could be working your entire core for much longer than 30 seconds!
Speaking of working your entire core, that’s the greatest benefit of a plank. Now, we can get into the science and the nitty gritty of all the core muscle (muscles on the front side of your stomach, either side as well as your lower back muscles) being worked through a plank. However, that’s boring by now and if you’re interested just google image it.
The non-scientific benefit I’ve noticed from adding planking in more regularly is that I feel “sucked in.” Haha… I told you it wan’t going to be scientific. Seriously though… even just ensuring I have one good plank workout each week lead for me to feel so tight in my mid section.
The Cardio + Ab Add On Plan will take care of every step of this for you, so if you have ab goals this summer, be sure to add that plan onto your weighted workouts. Also, be sure to swing by tomorrow because I’m doing a blog post all about the science behind my food tweaks that help me see physical results through food alone. And that’s really what made the greatest difference for me!
WEIGHT TRAINING PLAN 2.0 + BONUS ADD ON PLAN:
The new Weight Training Plan 2.0 is the official fitness plan for the summer challenge.
It contains an all new training split and brand new workouts with both home and gym workout versions (workouts are different than the original plan!). Plus, a bonus Cardio + Ab Add on Plan to use with the weighted workout for further muscle fatigue, fat loss and sculpting.
These workouts contain my very best to help you get fit and lean and feel amazing. I created an extension to the super popular original plan to provide you with more weeks… more workouts… more opportunities to hit your goals.
You do not need to complete the 1.0 plan prior to the 2.0, so start with this plan if you’re brand new to the LG challenges and guides
Both the home and gym plans follow the same schedule, so YOU choose to workout at home, in the gym or both!
SUMMER FITCATION BUNDLES (Weight + Meal Plans)
The best results come through both fitness and nutrition. Bundle the new Weight Training Plan 2.0 with the Eat Your Way Lean Meal Plan to bring your best (Summer Weekly Meal Menus Included!!)
With this bundle, you’ll be a meal plan member for life and enjoy all the free installments like the new Weekly Summer Meal Menus coming this week!