How to Stretch Abs: Relief, Rules, and Recommendations

Many athletes, regardless of the load and type of physical activity, can boast of strong and resilient abs, but not everyone has prominent muscles. Muscle strength, regularity of training, and degree of load do not guarantee that your six-pack will be visible. Let’s figure out what it depends on and how to get sculpted abs?

What affects the relief?

What is relief? This is, first of all, a low content of subcutaneous fat in the body, which makes it possible to view the outline of the muscles and their structure. Thus, it is the owner of a sculpted body who will have protruding abs or oblique abdominal muscles. Such people are also called lean or athletic.

Relief and muscle thickness are very interconnected. And although the muscles may be worked out and hypertrophied, the abs may still not be visible. While it will not be possible to achieve relief without having dense and trained abdominal muscles. Without the presence of hypertrophied muscle mass and high-quality muscle development, it is not even worth working on the relief, because by removing excess fat, the muscles will not become more prominent or better.

But not only training is important in this process, it is more important to create certain conditions under which the muscle relief will be more distinct. Therefore, in order to remove excess fat, you must adhere to a diet. This is something without which not a single bodybuilder will go on stage fully prepared, and it will not be possible to achieve decent relief. Therefore, proper nutrition comes to the fore after sufficient strength training of the abdominal muscles.

Nutrition and training rules for relief

  1. Let’s start with muscle hypertrophy. If an athlete is a beginner, his first stage of creating relief will be strength training or mass work. Naturally, during this period all the muscles of the body are worked symmetrically, but we will talk specifically about the ab. In this case, it may take 3-6 months for the cubes to grow. During this period, the muscles should be loaded with sufficient weight, performing 8 to 12 repetitions of 3-4 sets.
  2. If you can feel those same cubes under the layer of subcutaneous fat, it’s time to work on relief, or more precisely, on endurance. This is the opposite of the previous training regimen. To gain definition, perform high repetitions with low to moderate loads. The number of repetitions will be from 15 to 30, the number of approaches: 3-4.
  3. Once you start working on relief, you need to immediately reconsider your diet. To do this, you need to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet and start counting them. To obtain relief, the approximate daily requirement for carbohydrates will be 2 g per kilogram of body weight. Over time (3-4 weeks), if the results are unsatisfactory, you can reduce the substance to 1.5 g per 1 kg of body weight.
  4. Train 3 times a week during the period of mass gain, since the muscles must have time to recover for anabolism. But it’s the same with terrain, there’s no point in overtraining. Exercise at least every other day. Instead of the fourth workout, do cardio exercises, which will additionally burn fat. The optimal time for cardio exercise is 40-60 minutes.
  5. The moment you see satisfactory results, do not immediately return to your usual diet and do not indulge in sweets. Otherwise, you will return to the original result, accumulating new fat and swelling in addition. Add foods to your diet gradually, or better yet, maintain a balanced diet and give up sugar. Read more about proper nutrition →

The best exercises for a sculpted belly

It should be noted here that there is no specific magical exercise, nor is it absolutely hopeless. The effectiveness of each exercise is determined by the degree of load you select and the quality of the technique. An important condition when performing any exercise is a burning sensation in the muscles at the end of the approach.

Straight crunches

The easiest and safest option for getting excellent relief. The exercise is great for high repetitions and does not increase the load on the spine. Its advantage is that the rectus ab muscle is effectively worked with a small amplitude since the lower back does not come off the floor when performing straight crunches. For complete safety, avoid sudden falls to the floor.

Classic crunches

Reverse crunches

This option is also safe if you follow the technique and effectively work the rectus ab muscle. But if in the previous version, the upper part of the rectus muscle predominantly works, then in this version the lower part is loaded more. The exercise can be performed either lying on the floor or an inclined bench, holding onto the bolsters or the back of the bench. When pushing the pelvis up, it is necessary to lift the lower back off the floor, but the shoulder blades should remain on the floor. It is important to lower your pelvis to the floor carefully and slowly.
Reverse crunch technique

Incline crunches

This exercise requires higher preparation of the abdominal muscles, as the risk of injury increases. When performing crunches at an angle, the torso should remain rounded, and under no circumstances should you bend backward. The deflection angle at the bottom point is approximately 45 degrees. If the exercise is easy, you can add weights in the form of small plates, holding them above the chest or behind the back.

Incline crunches for girls

Leg raises

A highly effective exercise, the correct technique of which should not be neglected. When placing emphasis on your forearms and back, it is important not to lift your lower back from the machine or bend it. At the top point, the knees should, but not necessarily, remain bent at the knees, and at the bottom point, they should not swing, allowing you to keep the abdominal muscles tense.

Leg raises on parallel bars

Oblique crunches

This exercise develops the oblique abdominal muscles in a more isolated manner; in previous exercises, they worked indirectly. When turning your torso diagonally, you do not need to lift your lower back off the floor and bring your chin to your collarbones. It is important to reach for the knee not with your head, but with your shoulder, tensing your oblique muscles. Crunches are performed on each side for the same number of repetitions.

Oblique crunches

These exercises, even two from the complex, will be enough to make your abs sculpted. The main thing is to follow all the recommendations and follow the training rules depending on the goal. Each exercise is effective in its own way, the main thing is to feel its effect and the response of the muscles to the load. But in order to get sculpted abs, you cannot neglect loads on other, larger muscle groups and cardio. The combination of all methods will allow you to quickly get the desired result.

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