First of all I want to point out that the majority of people who try to get ripped abs or a flat stomach only get as far as trying. It is not impossible however and I will give it to you plain and simple.
First I will start with body fat, as it is what is covering your abs. You can do sit ups and crunches all day long and your abbs will get bigger, but you will not get a 6 pack or flatten your stomach. This is because your fat layer is on top of your muscles and no matter how big your abs may be the fat will always be on top. An average person has around the 20% region of total body fat, for your stomach to be all muscle and minimal fat you need to get down to 15%-8% no lower or your pushing your luck. Below is a link for calculating your body fat percentage, just plug in your dimensions and so on and it will throw out a percentage which will be roughly accurate.
The only way you're going to remove that excess fat percentage that you don't want is to DIET. Read my other post on effective dieting for guidelines on this. As well as this you want to hit the cardio exorcises as these are the most effective for stripping away belly fat.
Now that we've sorted out the main overlooked issue on achieving the 6 pack or flat stomach I'm going to move onto your abs and how you can make them bigger and stronger.
Important note: When building abs it's very important you know what shape you want, you will be surprised how many people mess up their abs from training wrong. There must be an even build over the whole abdominal area the most common defect is when the upper abs are oversize compared to the lower abs or one side is bigger and looks completely messed up.
|defined even abdominal muscles|
As with most weight lifting exorcises form is very important, bad form leads to slow muscle building, exhaustion and even injury. I will give quick guides on correct form for each abb exorcise below.
For all the provided exorcises pick one for each part of the abdominal area, start at around 20 repetitions for each exorcises and do them one after the other no break so you achieve a good cardio work out at the same time. The main abdominal muscles are divided into Upper, Lower and Obliques.
Upper Abdominal Muscles
These are your easiest and in my opinion most effective exorcise for your upper abs.
Form: In this exorcise you want to keep your elbows out horizontally with your hands over your ears. Next when you raise your chest to the crunch spot keep your eyes focused on the roof and imagine moving your chest towards the ceiling not towards your knees you should only attain a small amount of lift as this is all it takes for the crunch.
Instructions on how to perform Abdominal Crunches can be viewed through the link
Lower Abdominal Muscles
Hanging Leg Raise
This exorcise does require a power tower of some sort. (http://advancedfitcomau.melbourneitwebsites.com/cat/index.cgi/shopfront/view_product_details?category_id=8738&product_id=286380) This is a great exorcise for your lower abs which are generally the weakest of your abs.
Form: In this exorcise you want to keep your body from the waist up stationary and straight. When raising the legs do so in a fluid straight manor and avoid favouring any particular side.
Instructions on how to perform the Hanging Leg Raise can be viewed through the link
Leg Pull Ins
Another great lower abdominal exorcise, this one will leave you burning for sure.
Form: With this exorcise lay your hand flat on the ground perpendicular to your body in the direction of your feet, this will give you stabilization. Make sure your legs don't flail around keep them tight together. When raising your knees to your chest keep the movement in a straight direction avoid any leaning.
Instructions on how to perform the Leg Pull Ins can be viewed through the link
Obliques (Side of your abs)
Barbell Side Bend
This exorcise requires a barbell to perform although I'm sure dumbbells can be improvised and do the same trick. This exorcise is a very easy one, all you have to do is lean side to side.
Form: With this exorcise you want to start standing straight with the barbell evenly distributed across your shoulders. When you lean keep your body from the waist down as stationary and vertical as possible. As you lean only go to a 45 degree angle with the barbell max, if you go too far you could pull a muscle or lose balance.
Instructions on how to perform Barbell Side Bends can be viewed through the link
A great exorcise that involves the whole body to perform, this will target both your obliques and also the rest of your abs.
Form: In this exorcise you want to bring your elbows to your knees meeting half way, make sure you keep your weight pivoted on your pelvis area, finding the balance point will help you with this exorcise.
Instructions on how to perform Cross-Body Crunches can be viewed through the link
A version of the normal crunch only on your side, targets the obliques mainly and when done right burns great.
Form: In this exorcise you want to be laying on your side with your knees bent in. Effectively using the same form technique as a normal crunch, raise your body upwards towards the ceiling. To get an even build make sure you mirror your position when changing to the other side.
Instructions on how to perform Oblique Crunches can be viewed through the link
To finish up I would just like to add that getting a 6 pack is a challenge you shouldn't take lightly, when and if you do get your desired abs you will have to continue to nurture them and watch your diet or they will disappear before you know it. Although having a 6 pack is the ultimate ego boost for any guy, and for females there's nothing sexier than a flat stomach.
Easy Muscle Building Tips by Phil.
Easy Muscle Building Tips by Phil.