I am asked all of the time how people can get better, flatter, and more visible abs. It’s the #1 area people want to improve. Go into any gym and you’ll see thousands of crunches, situps, ab machine whatevers, and so on. Do those people have visible abs? Usually not.
Abs classes are prevalent in almost any commercial gym, and members flock in search of the six pack that will never be. You see, getting abs comes from OVERALL reduction in body fat. You already have abs – you just need to lose the fat on top of them to see them! While fun, abs classes are a farce…no matter how much it burns.
So then how do you get great abs? Here are the secrets:
1) Nutrition first. That’s right. You’re thinking wah-wahhhh, but it’s true. Visible abs require a fairly low body fat percentage. Eat unprocessed foods. Minimal sugar, minimal unnecessary starches. Tons of protein, lots of healthy fats, and of course, veggies and fruits. Give your body what it needs and leave out the things that it doesn’t. It’s simple, but not easy.
2) The right exercises. I have found that bodyweight exercises work best. Why? Because they require stability and multi plane movement, and that’s what your abs are for. In Pilates every exercise requires precision, control, coordination and balance while working all the muscles of the body. You may not always feel them but your abs are always there in Pilates to provide you with support through all the movements.
It’s not unusual for our members to request more ab work because they do not realize that the majority of exercises (even things like pushups!) are working their abs way more than a situp ever could. You may not feel the burn as much, but I promise it’s working.
To summarize, to get abs you need to lose overall body fat. You can’t spot-reduce fat, which is why situps will never lead to visible abs if your nutrition isn’t in a place where you are able to drop body fat. Get your nutrition right, keep good form when training, work core stability, and voila! Abs!