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Things a trainer wishes you knew about getting abs

Cosmopolitan (UK) logo Cosmopolitan (UK) 4/08/2017 Lauren Smith
5 things a trainer wishes you knew about getting abs © @kaylaitsines/@kelseywells 5 things a trainer wishes you knew about getting abs

Aside from getting stronger, fitter and healthier, a lot of people have aesthetic goals too when they hit the gym - like getting ripped abs.

But there's a lot of BS floating around on the internet about how to actually 'get' abs by working out - so Shannon Jewell, personal trainer, fitness expert and Concept Manager at top gym ONE LDN, busts some of the biggest ab myths people need to stop falling for...

1. Stop doing abdominal workouts (like crunches) every day

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Crunches are a classic ab move - but according to Shannon, they don't target the whole of your mid-section effectively: 

"Abdominal crunches only activate the peripheral abdominal area of your core - and a large volume of crunches will only irritate your back. Avoid this and include extension exercises or ab exercises that focus on eccentric muscle movements which help create little micro fibre tears - this will improve your definition and shape your abdominals"

Also watch: Get flatter abs with these easy core exercises (Provided by Essence)

 
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2. These unexpected exercises work your abs better:

So if you're not doing crunches, what do you do instead? According to Shannon, great exercises to replace crunches with are these:

Deadbugs

Also see: The ultimate abs workout for advanced lifters (Provided by Muscle and Fitness)

Heavy Lifting: <p>An impressive set of <a href="http://www.muscleandfitness.com/28-days-six-pack-abs-workout-program">six-pack abs</a> signifies a commitment to training and <a href="http://muscleandfitness.com/nutrition/meal-plans/beginner-bodybuilder-s-4-week-meal-plan">nutrition</a>—and that’s no small consideration. </p><p>Both <a href="http://muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-routines/ultimate-arnold-training-guide">bodybuilders</a> and <a href="http://muscleandfitness.com/athletes-celebrities/news/lebron-james-crushes-2017-nba-playoffs-workout">sport-specific athletes</a> pursue <a href="http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-and-core-exercises/4-core-moves-stronger-abs">abs</a>, though athletes tend to view abs as a byproduct of their training, not a goal.</p><p>That’s why some guys end up with a washboard without focusing much on the abs. <a href="http://muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-routines/most-uncommon-full-body-workout">A full-body routine</a>, coupled with a solid nutrition plan for more muscle, provides the perfect environment for abs to flourish. On the other hand, a guy who hasn’t dropped below 10% body fat is unlikely to see his abs regardless of how many abs-specific sets he knocks out. (You can read more about the nutrition-for-abs discussion here.) </p><p>It’s worth noting here that <a href="http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-and-core-exercises">producing abs</a> should be an around-the-clock effort that goes beyond training and nutrition. When you’re stuck in a meeting or in traffic, take an opportunity to work your abs by drawing your belly button in away from your belt buckle. This is not the same as sucking in your gut and holding your breath. Simply pull your belly button in. Do a set of 10 every 30 minutes over the course of your day.</p><p>This simple exercise not only works your abs but also promotes better posture. The abs stabilize the spine, after all, and you want to maintain a neutral spine in all lifts, not a rounded one.</p><p>Assuming you’ve dialed in your nutrition and developed an abs mindset, this ultimate workout will produce results. </p>DirectionsYou’ll do this workout as a circuit. Perform 10 reps of the following six exercises (unless otherwise noted), back to back, without resting between exercises.Do three circuits total. You may take a one-minute rest between circuits as needed.<p>Pete Williams is a N.A.S.M.-certified personal trainer, and the author or co-author of a number of books on performance and training.</p> The Ultimate Abs Workout for Advanced Lifters

Barbell Roll Outs

The key with these moves is make sure you're doing them slowly, and with enough weight:

"Make sure you focus moving really slow on the down movement working against gravity, and think about hitting 10-30 reps, then increasing the weight you lift", she says.

3. Feel the burn

And you should really feel it the next day if you've worked them hard enough:

"If your abs aren't sore the next day you've not adapted them - I think that (mild) soreness 24-72 hours later is a good sign you're working at the right levels."

4. Abs really are made in the kitchen

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Remember, you can do all the abdominal exercises in the world, but Shannon says you're unlikely to see any definition (if a defined mid-section is your goal) unless you tailor your diet to reduce your body fat percentage.

While there's absolutely nothing wrong with having body fat over your abdominals (in fact, most women do need need a certain body fat percentage for healthy hormone levels), if definition is what you're after, 100 crunches alone won't get you there. 

5. Make sure you're progressing with the weights

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