The best ab exercises for January

While people often deem the abs as their core, this is not always the case. The core represents all the muscles in the abdominal area that are responsible for functional strength and stability. The abs, however, generally refer to superficial front muscles that make up the outer core. These include;

  • Rectus abdominis – A paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the abdomen.
  • Inner obliques – A broad thin muscular sheet found on the lateral side of the abdomen.
  • External obliques – Found on either side not only help rotate the trunk, but they perform a few other vital functions. These muscles help pull the chest, as a whole, downwards, which compresses the abdominal cavity.
  • Transversus abdominis – The deepest muscle layer, its main roles are to stabilise the trunk and maintain internal abdominal pressure.

How Do You Get Visible Abs?

The journey to getting visible abs is not an easy one; it will require a vast amount of time and a level of dedication far exceeding any other muscle group in your body. “The biggest misconception is that it’s all about the ab-workout,” Sam Wood, personal trainer and founder of online training and nutrition program 28 By Sam Wood says. “The reality is that the nutrition side of things is equally as important as you’ll never get your body fat percentage low enough to see those muscles if you don’t nail your nutrition.”

Wood is bang on the money. The general consensus around having visible abs involves an incredibly low body fat percentage. For most men, your abs start to become visible when your body fat percentage dips below 10 per cent, however, your fat distribution can play a significant role in this. Some men carry fat around their trunk, making it harder to show visible abs even at 10 per cent body fat, whereas other guys hold their weight in their legs or arms, and may potentially see abs at a higher fat percentage. Irrespective of your physical limitations, the simple fact is that without training your midsection, through ab workouts and exercises, it won’t much matter if you are lean or not. Sitting at a low body fat percentage will reveal the muscle that lies beneath, so it certainly pays to build some before you get shredded.

“Work your abs with good core training (flex, twist and raise) and then burn that layer of fat by training hard and eating clean,” Wood says.

Best ab workouts for men - Sam Woods

Why Should You Do Ab Workouts?

Aside from giving you the confidence to hit the beach shirtless this summer, ab workouts provide some significant health benefits. Understanding that the abs are essential to your movement and trunk rotation will help you to better craft ab workouts that expand upon your abilities and internal strength.

“It’s important for everyone to train abs. Our core (I include legs in this) are the most important muscles in the body,” Wood says. “They help us move well, protect our vital organs and are the ‘trunk’ in which all our other muscles branch from.”

How Often Should You Do Ab Workouts?

While you might be a fan of chucking a few sit-ups into your routine as an ab finisher, the addition probably isn’t serving you well. Unlike most muscle groups, your abs are readily improving and adapting. Unless you are adding significant resistance to your ab workouts, you should be fine to complete ab exercises every day, and it would be wise to do so.

“The abs are one of those muscles that are designed to train often and typically have high endurance so need high reps,” Wood says. “A strong core is a must for a strong body, good posture, reduced risk of injury and good balance and stability so training your abs at the start of every workout or at least every second day definitely isn’t too much.”

While adding ab workouts to every gym session might sound excessive, Wood says a continuous and dedicated approach to training your abs will serve you well in the long-run.

Best ab workouts for men - Sam Woods

Best Ab Workout for Men

Once you’ve got a firm grip on how often you should be doing ab workouts and why they are important, it’s time to delve deep into the process. We asked the 28 by Sam Wood founder what ab exercises you should focus on in order to get the best ab workout possible

Here is a list of 11 ab exercises to add to your best ab workouts.

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