Get Ripped and See Those Washboard Abs

Washboard Abs, Six Pack Abs – Are They Possible? by Stew Smith

 

Yes, we all have six packs / eight packs even. They are just usually covered by a layer of fat. Having a flat stomach or washboard abs is not just accomplished by working out daily, it has to become an all-encompassing lifestyle. The key components are healthy and lean diet, cardiovascular / resistance training, and abdominal exercises. If a movie star stomach is your goal, you must realize that to achieve your goal you have to first concentrate on what you eat, not how many situps you do in a day. Of course, as with any fitness and health goal nutrition and exercise are always the main ingredient.

 

#1 Healthy Diet — Feed your body right to build those abs

The most important factor in acquiring washboard abs is eating a healthy diet. Here is a list of recommended healthy ways to help you lose a few inches:  (low carbs = no sugar)

— Drink at least three liters of water per day (100 ounces).

— Eat vegetables and fruits each day for workout energy and lean proteins for recovery / calories.

— Eliminate fried foods and cheese.

— Eliminate processed sugar (for example: sodas, cookies, candy).

— Eliminate fatty red meat – only lean meats (1-2 times weekly).

Diets like the Atkins diet and other high protein diets may help at first. To get rid of that last 10-15 pounds, it is recommended to lower calories to a range of 1500-2000 calories a day and to exercise rigorously both with core exercises and cardio work.

 

#2 Cardiovascular Exercise / Resistance Exercise — Burn off extra calories

Washboard abs, getting lean, and losing weight are all tied into a consistent cardiovascular workout program. You should do 30-45 minutes of activities like walking, running, biking, or swimming daily 4-5 times per week. It takes about four weeks before you start to see the physical benefits or your diet and exercise program. You will see almost immediate results in your energy level, overall mental alertness when exercising daily. Start off slowly if you have not trained with much intensity in the past several years. A good way to get started is to walk or run with the following six weeks program if you have been running / walking regularly.

 

Week #1 – Walk/run  1 mile a day for 5 days a week

Week #2 – Walk/run  1.5 miles a day for 5 days a week

Week #3 – Non-impact week  bike or swim for 20-30 minutes a day

Week #4 – Walk/run  1.5-2 miles a day for 5 days a week

Week #5 – Walk/run  2.5 miles a day for 4-5 days a week

Week #6 – Walk/run  3 miles a day for 3-4 days a week

 

Note: Week #3 is non-impact due to high number of injuries that occur to legs (knees, shins, feet, hips) during the third week of beginning a walking or running program.

Runners who are just starting out can find a 10-week beginner running plan of action here.

 

#3 The Ab Exercises  – You have to build ab muscles to see them!

Even if your ab muscles are still hidden under fat – start now!

The Ten-second Crunch is probably one of the best beginning exercises for firming up the belly. Simply lie on your back and lift your shoulder blades off the floor and hold for ten seconds. Repeat this at least for ten repetitions. Try repeating the 10 seconds crunch for 10 repetitions morning and night for starters. Also, stretch and flex your lower back for a few minutes after each set in order to balance the muscles that support your torso. However, a variety of abdominal exercises will help build the muscles under the fat. Now lose the fat by watching your diet and cardio vascular exercise and you will soon see the muscles!

 

Below are some beginning and intermediate abdominal exercises:

Hanging knee-ups — Bring your knees as high as you can as you hang from a pullup bar.

Advanced Crunch — (Legs up) – Lie on your back with your feet straight in the air. Keep your legs straight up in the air for the advanced crunches. Cross your hands over your chest and bring your elbows to your knees by flexing your stomach. (Do not do if you have previous lower back injury place feet on the floor instead)

Reverse Crunch — In the same position as the regular crunch, lift your knees and butt toward your elbows. Leave your head and upper body flat on the ground. Only move your legs and butt. (Do not do if you have previous lower back injury)

Double Crunch — Add the regular and reverse crunch together in one motion. You will feel this one twice as fast

Right Elbow to Left Knee — Cross your left leg over your right leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee.

Left Elbow to Right Knee —  Same as above just switch sides. Cross your right leg over your leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your left elbow to your right knee.

Hip rollers — This exercise will help you build your abs, back, and hips to help with long ocean swims and balance out the hip flexors exercises. Twist to both sides keeping your shoulders on the floor and stay in the bent knee position when rotating left and right.

 

Note: Anytime you work your abs, you should also exercise your lower back to build balance in your torso. Below are two lower back exercises to incorporate into your ab work:

Lower Back Exercise — Lie on your stomach with your arms extended over your head. Lift your right arm and your left leg off the ground at the same time and repeat for specified number of repetitions. Switch arms/legs and repeat.

Lower Back Exercise (Swimmers) — Lie on your stomach and lift your feet and knees off the floor by flutter kicking repeatedly as if you were swimming freestyle.

 

Here are some advanced abdominal exercises:

Do not attempt to do these ab exercises if you are a beginner! These exercises are not healthy for weak or injured backs. If you cannot do the above swimmer exercises for 1:00 do not attempt these exercises.

Situps — Lie on your back with your arms crossed over your chest, keeping your knees slightly bent. Raise your upper body off the floor by contracting your abdominal muscles. Touch your elbows to your thighs and repeat.

Half Situps — With your hands on your hips, lift your torso off the ground higher than a crunch but not as high as a full situp. Your middle/lower back will be on the floor still at the up position.

Flutterkicks — Place your hands under your hips. Lift your legs 6 inches off the floor and begin walking, raising each leg approximately 36 inches off the ground. Keep your legs straight and moving. This is a four count exercise.

Leg levers — Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor. Raising both legs approximately 36 inches off the ground, keep your legs straight and off the floor until specified number of repetitions are complete.

Scissors —  Lay on your back. Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor. Open and close both legs approximately 36 inches apart, keep your legs straight and off the floor until specified number of repetitions are complete.

Atomic situps — Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor as if you were doing a leg lever. Pull your knees toward your chest while simultaneously lifting your upper body off the floor. This is a mix between the situp and the leg lever.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

 

Swiss Ball Moves for a Strong Core and Killer Abs

Swiss Ball Moves for a Strong Core and Killer Abs by Jo Brielyn

If you have ever used a Swiss ball to perform crunches or other simple moves, you have no doubt noticed the difference in how your muscles are engaged. The Swiss ball is unstable so your core must work harder to maintain the positions. Performing exercises on the Swiss ball takes exercises to next level by challenging your balance, stability and overall coordination while you work the muscles. It also allows you to go deeper into some moves by widening the range of motion backward where you would normally have to stop because of the floor. The ab and core exercises below utilize the Swiss ball to help you use your own body weight as force to get better results from basic moves.The result? Stronger, sexy abs in less time!

 

Swiss Ball Ankle Taps

Lie on the Swiss ball in a basic crunch position — feet flat on the ground, knees bent, and your back conformed to the ball. Pull your abs in toward your spine and lift up, leaning your body slightly to the right as you bring your right hand to your outer right ankle and tap. Then lean to the left and tap your left hand to your left ankle. If you find that you cannot reach your ankle in this position, slide your legs back slightly toward the ball to create a shorter distance for your arms to reach. Return to the start position with your back against the ball again. That is one repetition. Do 15 reps.

To make this move more challenging: Extend your reach to the inside of each ankle for each tap to deepen the movement.

 

Swiss Ball V-Pass

Begin on your back with your arms stretched over your head and your legs straight in the air at 90º. With the Swiss ball gripped in your hands, lift your shoulders off the ground and bend forward to place the ball between your legs.Grip the ball between your feet and lower your arms and legs. Let your arms touch the ground again and hold your legs as close to the floor as possible without allowing them to rest on the floor. Pull your abs into your spine as you do this, to avoid straining your back. Hold that for a few seconds before passing the ball back to your hands. Focus on making it a slow, deliberate move using your abdominals and hip flexors instead of relying on momentum. Return your arms to the floor above your head. That is one repetition. Do 15 to 20 reps.

 

Swiss Ball Bridge

Place the Swiss ball in front of you and kneel with your forearms resting on the ball. Lift off the ground and straighten your legs until only the balls of your feet are touching the ground. Keep your upper arms bent on the top of Swiss ball, your back flat, and your abs and glutes pulled in tight. Your body should form a straight line on top of the ball. Squeeze and hold this position for 30 seconds, gradually building up to 60 seconds. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.

 

Swiss Ball Reverse Crunch

Lay on your back with your arms at your sides and the Swiss ball held firmly between your feet. Keep your head and upper body on the ground and lift your legs straight up until they form a 90º angle with your body. Hold the movement there for a few seconds, squeezing your abdominal muscles in and pressing your ankles to the ceiling. Slowly lower your legs to the start position. This is is one repetition. Repeat 20 times.

 

Swiss Ball Jackknife

Start by positioning your hands shoulder-width apart like you are preparing to do a pushup. Stretch out your legs and rest your shins on the stability ball. With your back still flat, slowly roll the ball forward by bending your knees toward your chest. Pause for a few seconds, squeeze your abs and roll your legs back out to return to the start position. That is one repetition. Do 15 to 20 reps.

To make this move more challenging: Add a pushup as your straighten your knees to return to the start position.

 

To get the full benefit of these gut-busting exercises, remember to contract your abdominal muscles while you perform them. Also, keep in mind that performing the exercises is only a portion of achieving the weight, look, or fitness level you have in mind. What you do in the kitchen is huge, especially when it comes to building abs. Combining these nutrition strategies for optimal fitness results by Stew Smith with your workout will help you reach your goals more effectively.

 

JO BRIELYN is an author and contributing writer for Get Fit Now and has currently completed 16 nonfiction books about health and wellness. Jo is the founder, writer, and editor of Creative Kids Ideas, a resource website that supplies parents, teachers, and family members with the tips and fun ideas to help build stronger, happier, and more creative kids. She is also the writer behind Good-For-Your-Health.com. Jo is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a former youth leader. She resides in Central Florida with her husband and their two daughters. Jo is the co-author of Combat Fat for Kids.

 

WATCH this video presentation on how to do a proper lying leg raise from the authors of The Body Sculpting Bible for Men and The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue.

HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times About.com Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

JAMES VILLEPIGUE is a bestselling fitness author of 23 books and has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. as a nationally certified personal trainer with National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), with their prestigious Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential, The American Council on Exercise and The International Sports Science Association. He has received degrees from Hofstra University, the New York College of Health Professions, and the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching. He now lives in East North Port, New York. He is the author of Combat Fat for Kids and Mind Over Muscle as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

15-Minute Workout from Stew Smith

Here are some ideas for those of you who only have a few minutes a day to exercise. Regardless of the hours you keep, here are some options for you to get in quick workouts that are both affective and will wake you up whether it is done in the AM or PM after dinner.

Wake up with Crunches – Here is an exercise that is JUST a little harder than sleeping and it WILL wake you up by doing simple movements:

Do a complete crunch cycle complete with the following:

Regular Crunch – 10-20 reps – Just lift shoulder blades off the floor

Reverse Crunch – 10-20 reps – Lift hips off the floor

Double Crunch – 10-20 reps – Lift BOTH hips / shoulders off the floor simultaneously

Left Crunches – 10-20 reps – Take right elbow to the left knee

Right Crunches -10-20 reps – Take left elbow to right knee

Bicycle Crunches – 10-20 reps – Take right/left elbow to left/right knee by bicycling the legs

Plank pose – 30-60 seconds

Stomach stretch – 30 seconds

This takes about 3-4 minutes to complete. Refer to this Lower Back Plan PDF provided by Stew Smith for detailed explanations of these exercises.

Jumping jacks / Pushups – Do 10 jumping jacks / 10 pushups and repeat the non-stop cycle 5-10 times, depending on your fitness level.

This takes 3-5 minutes if you push all 10 sets.

Jumping jacks/ Squats – If you want to add in a leg workout, try replacing pushups in option #2 with squats.

Multi-Joint Dumbbells (MJDBs) Exercises – With a set of dumbbells, mix in a few exercises into one movement:

Bicep curl, military press, tricep extensions – do 10-15 reps

Squats, bicep curl, military press, tricep extension – do 10-15 reps

Squat thrust, pushup x 5, stand up, bicep curl military press, tricep extension – 5-10 reps

If you select one of these to do, it only takes about 30 seconds per set. Mix in a few sets of each exercise and you have completed a challenging and effective full-body workout cycle. Visit Stew Smith’s website for detailed photos of how to perform these MJDB exercises.

Cardio option – You can skip all the above and just run, bike, walk, elliptical glide, or row for 15-20 minutes or you can add in a quick burst of cardio for the remaining time you have.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.