A question I’m blessed with almost every week.
The truth? I train abs every single day up to two hours.
Sorry, did I just make you spit out your drink everywhere? Yeah I would have too! I’m totally joking by the way.
But, in all seriousness I train my abs once a week (every Wednesday to be specific) for a maximum of 30 minutes whilst incorporating cardio. That’s it. One of the shortest workouts of my week and my least intense one. That answers a little better, isn’t it?
“Do you use train abs with weights?”
Yes I’ve started to recently. At the moment I currently use 5kg-10kg weight as I’m focusing on form and trying to avoid arching my back too much (something many people ignore when they train their abs!). My favourite weighted ab exercises are: Russian twists, jack knives and v sit-ups. Other than that, I don’t incorporate much weight in my ab routine.
“How do you get those two lines?”
You mean my obliques? Haha! Well, this one is gonna bum you all out I’m afraid – i’ve always had quite a strong core since school BUT, since I started strength training (weight lifting) my abs have become further more defined and no, this isn’t just from my weighted ab exercises. When you weight train different muscles throughout the week you’re actually engaging your core more than you think. Next time you hit the weights think about the core through the scope of strength exercises like the squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press. These movements require the spine to hold a rigid position so the hip and shoulder joints can move with force. The core muscles create the rigid spine position.
To make the core stronger, you only need to let it do its job and protect the spine when you put heavy loads in your hands or on your shoulders. So really, when you look at it this way every exercise is kind of a core exercise.
When I first started getting into fitness I admit that I over trained my abs. I was just like any other girl – idolising over the ‘two lines’ and a defined tummy. I cringe to admit this but I probably trained my abs almost every day and finished with a ‘abs before bed’ routine that you embarrassingly find on Pinterest. Yup, I was totally hooked by the idea of abs. Luckily, this phase didn’t last long and once I started Kayla Itsines BBG guides I stopped obsessing over my ab muscles and trusted Kayla’s process.
The results? The abs started to appear. Now, don’t get me wrong this didn’t happen overnight (i’m no magical fairy) but after a few months my core became strong and defined. However, once I started incorporating weights into my schedule and ate a clean diet (this is so important) then my abs became even stronger and furthermore defined.
This is the most important factor when considering core definition. It’s the most important. Oh, wait… Did i mention it’s really important? Well, for me it is. Please remember that not everybody is the same however, I like to think that most people can’t out train a bad diet which is why many people count their macros (I don’t).
My diet is pretty clean throughout the week. Actually no, it is clean. As I previously said I don’t count macro’s but I do make sure I eat healthy and get in my healthy fats, carbs and proteins. I’ve also been experimenting with volume eating recently on my low carb days and this has been working perfectly (you can see a post about that here).
A typical day of clean eating for me:
Breakfast: Protein oats
S1: Peanut butter & carrot
Lunch: Chicken salad with rye crackers or rye bread.
Dinner: Buckwheat, chicken breast, kidney beans, green veg and another side of veg (my portions are pretty big through the means of veg)
s3: Alpro yoghurt and berries
I tend to stay away from refined sugars as much as I can until the weekend when I have my treat meal (Saturdays). I try and keep my weekends fairly clean but I’m no longer as strict as I was because I love to eat out with family and relax a little. Life would be boring if we kept to the rules 24/7!
So, you’ve probably been waiting for this… One of my favourite workouts I like to incorporate into my cardio & ab Wednesdays:
4 x 30 crunches
4 x 40 bicycle crunches (sorry in advance)
4 x 20 jack knives
4 x 30 leg lifts
4 x v sit-ups
I incorporate this workout into my cardio which will always be some form of kickboxing. Kickboxing actually leaves me sore for days and is amazing for those back muscles. FitnessBlender provide great free workouts on their YouTube channel.
Overall, my cardio & ab workouts last for a maximum of 30 minutes and I do it once a week – that’s it! I hope that clears things up for you and answers your questions. I HONESTLY don’t do anything else. It’s possible to achieve anything you put your mind to. Eat clean, lift heavy and the results will come.
Now get up and work those abs!