A Complete Guide to Define Your Abs: Diet, Exercises, and Tips
There's no perfect time to start defining perfect abs; the best way is simply to start. Today, we will share a complete guide with you to defining abs that will help you perform the right exercises, and to follow a healthy low-fat diet that will allow you to speed up the process.
Interested in learning more? Then read on because we're getting started.
Why is it so hard to define abs?
No matter if you are a runner or if you consider yourself an athlete, it is not always easy to define abs, and no matter how much you manage to define biceps, triceps, quadriceps, and other areas of the body, the abdominal area can remain the most complicated area.
One of the reasons that prevents the proper definition of abs is the accumulation of body fat in the abdominal area. In fact, many people have good abdominal muscles, but fat deposits in the area prevent them from showing correctly.
But the impetus that some athletes put into defining their abs is not just for aesthetic reasons. A defined abdominal area reduces the likelihood of injury and excess load on the spine, as well as back pain.
It is essential to have good lumbar and abdominal musculature to prevent serious balance and back problems. That's one of the reasons why we want to define our abs, no matter how difficult it is, isn't it?
And now that we know why it is so difficult to get abs 10 (or six) and why it is necessary to achieve it, let's move on to learning the different techniques and exercises to define abs and the most appropriate diet to complement the process.
How to define abs quickly and at home?
Defining abs at home is easy, but it takes the usual: will and perseverance.
With a state of mind focused on the goal, you have to be clear that to achieve the definition of abs, you will need:
Reduce accumulated abdominal fat
Perform specific abdominal definition exercises
Eat a proper, balanced, and fat-free diet
How to Lose Belly Fat and Burn Calories
Engrave the following sentence in your heart:
To define abs, your body fat percentage should be around 18% if you are a woman and 10% if you are a man. (If you don't know this figure you can resort to body fat % calculators available online with approximate results).
If your fat percentage is higher than these figures, you need to lose abdominal fat and this can only be achieved by:
Reducing calorie intake until caloric expenditure exceeds intake.
Maintain calories consumed and increase caloric expenditure. An increase in your daily NEAT will be of great help.
Reduce calorie intake and increase caloric expenditure. This is the most recommended option.
Activities such as running, cycling, spinning, elliptical, or even going up and down stairs are valid as aerobic exercise.
But what does all this have to do with defining abs?
Well, the mixture of aerobic activity with abdominal exercises will be the key to getting defined abs.
High-intensity exercises, known as HIIT training, are a great way to burn a lot of calories in a short time. Slimming and defining abs in a short time is possible. You just need to know how and when to do it.
Can you define your abs in a week?
You will probably come across many articles and products that try to sell you the phrase "exercises to define the abdomen in 15 days". We're not going to fool you, it's not easy to show off abs in a week or 15 days, it's a long-term task.
This statement does not mean that a person who is used to the gym and already has a certain base can achieve it, but it is necessary to spend many hours to get marked and perfect abs in such a short period.
If you are one of those who want to get perfect abs we encourage you to read the following exercises to define abs and to start the diet that we expose below.
Exercises to define abs
We leave aside the myths, such as plasticizing the abdominal contour, and the use of electro-stimulators and vibrating platforms, as if they were a magic product, and we move to action.
First of all, it is not necessary to starve yourself to the extreme. Consistency, a technique in execution, a proper rhythm of breathing during the concentric and eccentric phase of the movement, always having full awareness of the muscle we are exercising, coupled with large doses of variety (look for the surprise effect, break the routine with new stimuli) and intensity will be key in achieving the goal.
In case you didn't know, the abdominal musculature holds and facilitates movements of the spine, as well as the lower body. Therefore, due to its importance, it is recommended to perform three types of abdominal training exercises:
Trunk flexion exercises
Rotation and lateral flexion exercises
Spinal stabilization exercises
Whichever abdominal exercise you do, keep in mind that it can be static or dynamic, both being equally effective. However, make sure that you perform them at a moderate speed to prevent damage to spinal structures.
Let's explain which exercises of the three groups mentioned above you can start performing today to tone your abs:
Trunk flexion exercises
With these exercises, we will develop the rectus abdominis muscle, which is the main flexor of the abdominal area. You can:
Bow the trunk.
Depress the lower extremities with the corresponding elevation of the buttocks. This is done by bringing the legs back and lifting the buttocks at the same time. All this with the abdomen contracted. Do not forget to exhale during the exercise.
CRUNCH: Lying with your face up, with feet in the air and knees bent at 90 degrees, perform a trunk flexion by tightening the abdomen keeping the head in prolongation of the trunk. It is important to keep the lumbar area supported.
LEG EXTENSION: Lying with your face up, with feet in the air and knees bent at 90º, stretch your legs horizontally alternately. Again, keep the lumbar area supported.
COMBINED CRUNCH: Lying with your face up, with feet on the floor and bent knees, perform a coordinated trunk flexion with an elevation of the feet bringing the knees to the chest.
Rotation and lateral flexion exercises
With this group of exercises, you will develop the oblique muscles of the abdomen:
Bowing the trunk with rotation.
Isometric lateral support. You can do it without movement (static) or with movement (dynamic).
SIDE PLAT: Resting one forearm on the floor with the elbow bent at 90 degrees and the body in a lateral position, keep the feet on the floor and the hips in line with the rest of the body to perform lateral trunk flexors squeezing the side closest to the floor.
LATERAL CRUNCH: Lying with your face up, with feet in the air and knees bent at 90 degrees, perform a trunk flexion by squeezing the abdomen keeping the head in the extension of the trunk while rotating the trunk to one side and performing a coordinated extension with the opposite leg.
LATERAL BENDING: With hands resting on the floor and arms extended, keep the body in a horizontal position while bringing one knee towards the elbow on the same side, bending the leg. We do this alternately, changing legs.
Spinal Stabilization Exercises
Lie on your stomach supporting your elbows at right angles to the floor and the pads of your feet. Lift the body and keep the abdominal area contracted.
FRONTAL PLANK: With hands flat on the floor and arms extended, keep the body horizontal while bringing one knee to the chest and bending the leg. We do this alternately, changing legs.
FLAT PLANK: Supporting the forearms on the floor with a 90º elbow flexion, keeping the body horizontal with the feet supported and the hips in line with the shoulders, we perform ankle extensions.
If you want to define abs, this type of exercise, contrary to what many people think, is not the most appropriate. Basically, with this routine, you will gain body functionality, but you will not be working specifically on the muscle mass of your abs.
We call Crossfit crunches all those that are performed lying on the floor, face up and involving the lifting of the trunk and arms. Like other exercises that result in abdominal work (such as squats), it is not wrong to include them in your training and complement them with abdominal toning exercises, but they are not indicated for this specific objective.
You can also combine all these exercises with CORE strengthening exercises or bench abdominal exercises.
Defining the V abdomen
Among the top requests from men who flock to gyms is the idea of defining the V abdomen. The lower part of the abdomen emerges in a V-shape slightly above the pelvis.
The V abdomen is very popular among men and is considered one of the most sensual parts of the male body. Defining the V abdomen also requires practice and dedication. Exercises for lower abs are the most effective, and although, once again, the percentage of fat has a lot to say, it will be very difficult to define the V abdomen if you exercise once a week.
Diet to help you define your abs
Last but not least, we have to talk about the recommended varied diet to achieve those ten abs you've been dreaming about for so long.
As a general rule, this diet should contain:
60-70% of calories are from carbohydrates
Think about including foods with a low glycemic index, such as rice and whole wheat pasta, vegetables, potatoes, oatmeal, cereals, or citrus fruits. In this way, you will induce the body to burn fat, both from the diet and that which accumulates in the abdomen and hips.
As an athlete, you always have the option of using stimulants and body fat reducers such as L-Carnitine. A molecule from which our body can burn fat.
In addition, your diet should be low in fat and high in protein.
Drink plenty of water.
Avoid alcohol consumption.
Concerning proteins, give priority to eggs and fish. Eat lean meats and, if possible, without skin.
Eat 5 or 6 meals a day.
Avoid foods such as industrial pastries, white bread, sugary juices, and processed foods.
Now you know how to define abs effectively, what are you waiting to start?