A shredded six pack.
The veritable Holy Grail of being in shape.
While I don’t necessarily agree with it being the pinnacle of fitness, I definitely get the appeal. Having a flat stomach or, even better yet, defined abdominal muscles definitely gives people a well-earned sense of accomplishment!
So what can you do to develop those little rolling hills of muscle across your stomach and those v-thingies on your hips?
First and foremost it is vital that you embrace the mantra “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Whether you are shoveling fast food into your face-hole or eating way too much healthy food it doesn’t matter how many crunches, roman chairs or obliques you do.
In fact, if you are really hitting the core workouts hard you might even look like you develop more of a belly!
What happens if you are really trying to pack on muscle without reducing the fat stores around them is that the muscles just push the fat out further as they grow! Definitely not the ideal scenario by any stretch of the imagination, so make sure you are cleaning up your diet first and foremost (if you need some tips you can start here – The Basics of Healthy Eating. Better yet, everything you need to know detailed in “The Heroes’ Transformation Guide“!).
“You walk into a video store, you see 8-Minute Abs sittin’ there, there’s 7-Minute Abs right beside it. Which one are you gonna pick, man?” – Hitchhiker, There’s Something About Mary
7 Minute Abs
Okay, not really.
But if you want to add a simple, ab-centric, workout into your routine I’ve got what you need right here! Let’s upgrade your “Heroes Transformation” with some core strengthening exercises my loyal Jerdlings!
While there are definitely more intense exercises you can do to beat your stomach into superhero shape, here is a solid beginner routine for you to follow.
The great thing about ab exercises is that almost all of them use no equipment and can be done in the privacy of your own home.
Not able to get to the gym to hit the weight? No excuse!
All you need is a small open space and the desire to become more fit and healthy!
As we should understand by now, these beginner workouts are the foundation from which all other workouts evolve. In order to jump into more heroic (and rewarding) workouts you have to get your body acclimated to the rigors of exercise.
Why is this so important?
I will give you a hint, these beginner exercises will soon become nothing more than warmups for more vigorous routines. So get used to them and make sure you are doing them correctly!
Oh, and one last thing before you get started. Make sure you are cleared by your personal physician for physical activity before undertaking these, or any, exercises.
With that said, let’s get to it!
“Bingo, man, bingo. 7-Minute Abs. And we guarantee just as good a workout as the 8-minute folk.” – Hitchhiker, There’s Something About Mary
Step One: Warm up!
Even with abdominal exercises (which have a much lower risk of injury) do yourself a favor and get in the habit of always taking 5 minutes to get your body warm and your heart rate elevated. Do a few jumping jacks, run in place, jog up and down a flight of stairs a few times or whatever (as a martial artist, I do some footwork drills and shadowboxing personally) but no matter what please do not workout cold!
After you are warmed up move on to the workout itself.
Step Two: Ab Exercises!
I think it’s important to remember that your abs are not just vanity muscles!
The role of your core is to provide the foundation for pretty much everything you do… so whether you are spiking a volleyball, swinging a bat, or punching evil in the face, a strong core increases your ability to perform those movements as well as look good in a bathing suit.
Okay, here is what one set of your workout is going to look like!
20x Heel Touch Obliques
20x Flutter Kicks
Once you have finished one set, take a 30 second break and then do it again. We want to be hitting at least 3 sets at a good clip before we move onto harder workouts.
“No! No, no, not 6! I said 7. Nobody’s comin’ up with 6. Who works out in 6 minutes? You won’t even get your heart going, not even a mouse on a wheel.” – Hitchhiker, There’s Something About Mary
If you don’t know these exercises, or need help with form, here are video tutorials from our YouTube channel for each:
After you become acclimated to the exercises, if you want to really push yourself, you can modify them by doing one simple thing – Don’t begin counting until you start to feel the burn.
Step Three: Stretch!
After you workout, your muscles have been slightly traumatized from contracting and they need to be stretched back out to allow for proper healing. It doesn’t have to be anything formal, just make sure to relax your torso and stretch backwards a bit and hold it… elongating your abdominal area.
I find the “cobra pose” from Yoga to be especially effective.
You now have the tools to start developing those killer superhero abs you have always wanted, so clean up that diet if you haven’t already and get started right now! I hope you are as excited about this as I am!
“7’s the key number here. Think about it. 7-Elevens. 7 dwarves. 7, man, that’s the number. 7 chipmunks twirlin’ on a branch, eatin’ lots of sunflowers on my uncle’s ranch. You know that old children’s tale from the sea. It’s like you’re dreamin’ about Gorgonzola cheese when it’s clearly Brie time, baby. Step into my office.” – Hitchhiker, There’s Something About Mary
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