We all dream of having a six-pack, defined abs or a flat stomach. But despite our desire, life often gets in the way. If you are struggling to find the time to get outdoors for exercise or get to a gym, this article will help you find out how to get abs at home.
The truth is, getting a great set of abs is not actually that difficult, you just have to be committed and implement the correct training strategy. In this guide, we give you ideas on training from your own home and without any additional equipment.
The training strategy on how to get abs at home contains a series of steps that combine diet with a series of exercises, which will tone and strengthen the entire abdomen area, making it look harder and more defined.
Body fat percentage for abs
In order to have visible abdominal muscles you need to have a low body fat percentage. Your body fat percentage represents the total amount of fat mass you have. This is made up of two different types of fat: essential body fat and storage fat. Essential fat is needed to protect your organs and joints, and to keep you warm. Storage fat is the excess fat that people tend to see on their bodies.
Whilst there is not one specific body fat percentage to guarantee a visible six-pack, as everyone’s body is different, there is a general range that applies;
Men – 6-17%
Women – 14-24%
At the higher end, you will start to see definition, becoming more defined and sculpted as the body fat decreases.
It is important to note that you cannot target a single area of the body when trying to lose weight, you have to reduce you overall body fat percentage.
The first step of the strategy to tone the abs, without a doubt, is to reduce the fat in the abdominal area. The abdominal muscles are under a layer of body fat that must be burned so that we can see our abs.
To burn fat from the abdominal area, we must first reduce the intake of carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods and maintain a good diet.
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated will help you burn calories faster because it attributes up to a 30% increase in metabolic rates.
Eating breakfast every day is also a good way to lose weight, having breakfast will keep us full of energy for hours. If we skip this meal we will be increasing the chances that we will eat more during the course of the day.
We need to manage our sleep and stress levels, otherwise it will cause our body to produce excess cortisol, which consequently accumulates fat around the torso. Sleeping well and taking the necessary measures to relax will greatly help us lose those kilos that hide our abs.
The recommended sleep for an adult is between 6 and 9 hours a night.
It is also necessary to perform cardiovascular exercises (cardio), which keep us in shape and helps us burn fat and lose weight, such as walking, running or doing sports.
Go on a diet
The impact that food has on our abs is huge. As the saying goes: ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’. The abs depend on 80% of what you eat and 20% of the exercise. Although we train many times a week, if we do not eat healthy, our goal of getting toned abs will become much more difficult. For this reason, it is of utmost importance to combine our workouts with a good diet that is rich in whole foods, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and protein.
That being said, around 90% of diets fail, and if you have read some of my other posts you will know that I hate the word ‘diet’ anyway. You need to find a new regime that you can stick to, by making small, progressive changes to your lifestyle to include your eating and exercise habits.
What to eat
Rather than restricting yourself, choose better, healthier foods with lower calorie content:
- Vegetables – You can’t really go wrong with vegetables. Get them in every meal if you can, there is so much to choose from so mix it up.
- Meat – If you eat meat, keep it fresh and avoid anything processed. Chicken, Turkey, Steak and Tuna are good, high-protein meats.
- Whole Grains – Brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal. Avoid anything white flour based.
- Soup – Soup is a really good way to eat healthy, just make sure you’re using healthy ingredients. Make up a batch at the beginning of the week then you have lunch or dinner sorted every day.
- Healthy Fats – Yes, there are such things as healthy fats: Olive oil, avocados, nuts and fish oils.
Try to eat regularly to keep you full throughout the day, do not skip meals. Skipping meals actually slows down your metabolism, meaning you will not burn that excess fat.
The best form of exercise you can do to achieve a full-body workout it High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. A HIIT workout usually consists of a high level of exercise for 20 – 90 seconds followed by either low-intensity training or complete rest for 20 to 210 seconds. This is repeated until you have exercised for a total of 10 – 20 minutes.
You can do a HIIT workout on any piece of equipment, such as a spin bike, treadmill, hill sprints and more. You could set up a circuit of exercises, and perform one for 60 seconds, for example, then rest for 20 seconds as you move to the next station.
Despite popular belief, sit-ups are one of the most overrated exercises you can do for your abs.
A better alternative to the sit-up is the plank, which has 20% better muscle activation than sit-ups.
How to Plank
- Get onto a comfortable surface like a carpet or yoga mat
- Start in a press up position
- Bend your elbows and rest on your forearms
- You should be in a straight line – from your shoulders to your feet
- Pull in your core
- Hold for 30, 60, 90 seconds or as long as you can
You can do the plank for a certain time period, rest and repeat, or you can combine it with other exercises such as the following to work the upper, lower and oblique abs;
To perform this exercise lie down on your back and raise your legs at an angle of 45 to 90 degrees. Put your hands at your sides and slowly lower your right leg until it is just a few inches off the ground. Then return to the original position to repeat the movement with the left leg. Always putting pressure on the lower abs.
To do the classic abs we will have to put our feet flat on the floor and our knees at a 45-degree angle. Then we will cross our arms towards our chest, and we will raise our head and shoulders towards our knees. Finally, we will go down slowly and repeat.
Straight leg raises
In this exercise we will have to lie on our backs with our hands on our sides, we will keep our legs straight and our feet together, we will bring them as high as possible, then we will lower our legs keeping the tension in the lower abdominals to return to the initial position and perform the next repetition.
To carry out this exercise we will have to start in a press-up position. Put both arms on the ground and raise our hips, then we will raise one knee taking it towards its opposite elbow. Finally, we will return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
It is important that we do not forget cardio, which in addition to helping us burn fat quickly, helps us to increase resistance and flexibility of muscles, making it a perfect complement and a good option to change routines.
There are some great cardio exercises that will help to burn fat, in turn getting you closer to achieving a six-pack;
- Sprints – Sprint for 100 metres, rest for 1 minute, repeat 10 times
- Walking Lunges – Find some space and perform walking lunges for 5 – 10 minutes
- Swimming – Try the same as the sprint, but in the pool
- Boxing – Sparring with a friend or on a punch bag
- Stair Runs – Sprint up the stairs, then walk down. Repeat for 5 minutes
- Indoor Rowing – Row 1 min, rest 1 min, then 2:2, 3:3, 4:4, 3:3, 2:2, and finish with a 1 min row
- Burpees – Perform 10 burpees, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat for 5-10 minutes
- Jumping Rope – Skip with a jump rope for 10 minutes
How To Get Abs At Home - Final Thoughts
It should be noted that training abs every day can be a bad thing. Remember that the abs like any other muscle need some rest in order to recover.
If we implement this training strategy and commit ourselves to our diet and exercise routine, we will achieve results in our abs very quickly and from our own home, do not wait any longer and start your training right now, your abs are waiting only for you.