One of the most common questions that my personal training clients ask me is, “How many crunches do I need to do until I get a six-pack?” While there is no magic number of crunches you need to do, here are some steps you can take to help you get the abs you’ve always wanted.
Tips on Sculpting your Body for Six-Pack Abs
- Focus on quality over quantity. It is very enticing to want to do more crunches and one would believe that more is better. However, the more you work one particular muscle group, the more fatigue, rest, and recovery you experience and need. Many individuals used to do the everyday crunch program in an effort to “do more and lose more off the waist area,” but you can save yourself the time and effort and focus on efficiency instead. Focus on using proper form with your crunches and try to maintain a proper pace. Your pace should consist of crunching up over two seconds, holding your shoulders off the floor for one second, then descending slowly over about two seconds.
- Do shoulder lifts. Crunches are a staple exercise, but the more suitable name should be shoulder lifts because of the movement in the anatomical skeleton. When you properly do a crunch, you should notice that you are not pulling on your head, neck, or forcing yourself up with your hands. When you force your spine, you risk hurting your back and neck. Follow good mechanics by simply elevating your shoulders off the floor and slowly lowering down. It may not feel like you are doing much, but the results will come faster than doing more. Use the two-second rule and remember that steady is better than fast.
- Use the proper tools. Avoid purchasing special equipment for your six-pack abs. Rather, use a stability ball to get more effectiveness with your crunches. Your Phoenix personal training program will highly benefit from using a stability ball for crunches and there’s research to support its effectiveness for six-pack abs. Studies show that crunches performed on a stability ball can induce higher rectus abdominis muscle activity than standard crunches or by using a machine like an inversion table, which means your abs gain the most benefit from this kind of crunch. Ask your personal trainer how to do these crunches on a stability ball correctly and effectively.
- Supplement your crunches. In order to get those six-pack abs effectively, it is necessary to reduce your overall body fat. After all, the fat on your body is the outer layer under your skin that prevents your six-pack from showing (also known as subcutaneous fat). Since fat is a big player in gaining six-pack abs, consider losing some body fat by performing cardio and resistance training.
- Incorporate proper programming. When working your abs, start with three to five sets every other day for best results. You should struggle with the last two or three reps with each set in order to see results and hit those gains, so make sure to push yourself.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Last but certainly not least on the to-do list is your diet. If you want six-pack abs, you will need to eat more protein, veggies, and fruit and much less of harmful carbs like pastas, rice, and bread. In addition, lay off foods that are high in sodium because this will cause you to retain water and prevent your six-pack abs from showing. Remember, a proper diet is just as important as exercise and will make your workouts much more successful and effective.