When you’re looking at shedding the weight hanging around your midsection it might sound like a good idea to start doing heavy ab workouts in the hopes that you’ll get those muscles to pop.
Unfortunately, doing workouts that target only your abs are not going to magically melt those extra pounds.
The way we lose fat from our abs is the same way we’d lose fat on our thighs, hips, arms or anywhere that is covered in that stubborn fat.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you gain weight you tend to gain it in one particular spot before you notice it adding up anywhere else.
The same can be said when you’re losing weight. We lose fat in the order that we gain.
You CAN work– and keep – the fat off by consistently following 4 simple steps:
1. Include Resistance Training (like today’s workout!) in Your Exercise Plan
Resistance (or strength) training helps to sculpt lean muscle, which makes you a more efficient fat burner and will change your body composition and shape.
As you add lean muscle, your body burns more calories at rest – so you’ll be burning extra fat while adding the muscle that gives you a sleek physique.
For today’s workout, you’ll want a few pieces of simple equipment handy so you can get the most out of the moves: dumbells or water bottles to use for resistance, a bench/box/step for elevation, and set yourself near a wall or door to lean against for the wall sits.
If some/all of these things aren’t easily accessible to you, no worries, there are several variations included in this list.
2. Go Hard During Cardio
Adding fast, intense bouts of energy like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) style workouts maximize overall fat loss.
A couple great ways to incorporate this type of workout are to:
- Find a HIIT style workout that works best for you!
- Mix in cardio or plyometric moves into your weight training circuits. Here are a few ways I do that:
- Super-set power resistance/strength moves with explosive cardio intervals – things like jump rope, jump squats, high knees, jumping jacks, etc.
- Add finishing circuits to a weightlifting workout (pick a short HIIT workout and do it after this one)
- Follow workout plan that pairs explosive cardio with resistance training to maximize your strength, tone and shred!
3. Train Your WHOLE Core
The body is super smart and if you only focus on building muscle on one side of your body (like only doing crunches or leg lifts or sit-ups) you will actually only go so far in the amount of muscle you’re able to develop.
This is your body’s natural way of protecting you, since too much muscle on one side will put undue stress on your underlying bones and pull you out of alignment.
So, make sure you’re choosing from a multitude of targeted ab workouts in addition to the workouts that will be shown below.
4. You Are What You Eat
One of the MOST important parts to building up your abdominal muscles (and really any area of your body you want to sculpt) is eating a balanced diet packed full of nutrients.
We all have this tendency to make ourselves stick to our exercise plan more religiously than we stick to our eating, but there is no workout routine in the world that will make up for your lack of healthy eating. For so many reasons, it is essential that you take your diet just as seriously as you take your workouts.
Do yourself a huge favor and get the education and knowledge you deserve about what nutrients your body needs and how to get them in your system in a variety of ways – and MAKE THE TIME to get that good, nourishing food in your body.
“80% of sculpting your body is a direct result of what’s at the end of your fork.”
Every time you eat, you’re creating the foundation and tissue that make up the actual shape and structure of your body – and every time you exercise, you’re simply putting the finishing touches on the physique you’ve created with what you put into your mouth.
We give a lot of focus to the macronutrients (carbs, protein and healthy fats) we need to survive and thrive, but remember you also need the MICROnutrients from greens and plants to create essential body, brain, and hormone functions, too. Don’t pay so much attention to how you treat your physical body that you ignore the rest of your needs.
So many people walk around with nutrient deficiencies masquerading as cravings, that could be resolved by eating real foods and rotating their greens. Just pay attention to how you’re feeling. Your body will tell you what it needs.
Taking a multivitamin isn’t a magic pill that will give your body everything it needs. Supplements aren’t always absorbed as easily as the nutrients in whole foods, but they do help to take care of some of those defeciencies.
Try as we might, we cannot “spot reduce” fat – and I would caution you from supplements, programs, or cleanses that promise to do so; more often than not, those type of short-term strategies can cause far-reaching damage to your body. Slow, steady, and consistent is ALWAYS a better bet for sustainable results that last!
Upper Body and Ab Shred
Format: 2-3 rounds, for the prescribed time. Rest as needed.
Move 1: Squat to Press (0:30)
- Grab your weighted objects, put them up on your shoulders.Feet are hip distance apart, chest up, core engaged.
- Drop your hips back into squat position making sure your knees are tracking in line with your toes, as you come up press theweight overhead, arms parallel and palms facing each other.
- Mod: Use your box, chair, or ottoman to tap your butt down onto to really be sure you are activating the right muscles.
Move 2: Wall Sit to Curl (0:30)
- Grab your weighted objects, set yourself up against the wall, come into a seated position.
- Back is nice and flat against the wall, pull your shoulder blades back so you feel them touching the wall.
- Hold yourself in this seated position and raise and lower the weights, bringing the palms to face your shoulders as you lift.
Move 3: Weighted Leg Lifts (0:30)
- Come to your elevated surface, as an option you can use a weight if you want to add more resistance.
- Position your butt on the side of your elevated surface, if you are using a weight place between your feet and lean your body back so you are in a diagonal position.
- Lift your feet up and down.
- Mod: Take the weight out and drive your knees up to your chest.
Variation: Lie flat on the floor and use ankle weights for resistance.
Move 4: Alternating Reverse Lunge to Fly (0:30)
- Stand with your core engaged, chest up.
- Step your right foot back into a reverse lunge. Be sure the left knee stays lined up with the left toes, and you maintain your upper body form.
- As you step back into lunge position engage between your shoulder blades and smoothly lift your weights toward the ceiling to shoulder height, turning your pinkies up slightly. Return to start and repeat with opposite leg.
Move 5: Renegade Rotating Plank (with or without weight) (0:30)
- Come into tall plank, arms below your shoulders back flat, belly button hugging in and up and legs straight. Holding your weighted objects.
- Stabilize your body and row your left elbow up, keeping it in close to your body. Place your hand or weight back in the starting position and rotate to your right lifting your weight up. stacking your right hand below your right shoulder. You can scissor or stack your feet.
- With control, rotate back to tall plank. Repeat on the left side.
Move 6: Sit Up to Cross Punch (with or without weight) (0:30)
- Holding your weighted objects, lay on your back with your knees bent. Bend your arms, placing soft fists on either side of your chin. Hook your feet under the couch or anything handy to hold your feet down, or if you’re more advanced do this without any support.
- Use your upper abdominals to sit yourself up, driving across your body with 2 punches.
- Lower down with control, making contact with your lower back on the mat and unrolling fully at the top so your head touches down.