Kick Butt Ab Workouts

There seems to be this misconception that powering through our kick butt ab workouts every day is a sure way to bring out our inner six pack. I know that the abdominal area takes the brunt of the punishment during pregnancy and, it also seems to be the area that we, as women, pack on pounds the easiest. Still, hundreds of ab exercises a day is not the answer!

No Spot Reducing!

Now, I know many of you are wondering how you can get rid of that poochy lower belly that seems to be left behind after pregnancy. You may not realize that the abdominal muscles are not divided into upper and lower muscles. The Rectus Abdominis is one long continuous muscle that runs down the middle of you torso. Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce. Relying on ab exercises to shrink that tummy is exactly what you would be trying to do. That’s just not how our bodies work…you must reduce your overall body fat to get rid of that oh so dreaded lower pooch! Yes, ab exercises will increase their strength and size but you will never see them as long as they are hidden under a layer of fat!

Although the best way to bring out those beautiful abs is to reduce your body fat through a combination of a healthy diet, strength training and cardio; this doesn’t mean an ab workout doesn’t deserve a special place in your workout regimen.

The muscles of your core are a critical power source. It’s where your body transfers force between your upper and lower body. A strong midsection is essential for everyday function… from walking, bending, and sitting to carrying around the baby, hulling all the baby equipment and preventing back injury.

Give 'em a Break!

Your abdominal muscles are like any other muscle. Just like your biceps, your abs need time to recover, build and grow. As a general rule, give them 2-3 days of rest…they should never be trained on consecutive days. I like to hit my abs 2-3 times a week. Twice a week I work them into my circuit strength training and, once a week, I dedicate a workout just to them (my fav kick butt ab workouts coming soon!).

How Many Reps…Quality over Quantity!

I can’t stress this enough…your abs are like any other muscles. They should fatigue anywhere between 10-15 reps for long lean muscles and 5-8 reps when focusing on size. Contrary to popular belief, 300 consecutive crunches is just a waste of your precious time. Slow it down, add some weight, watch your form and avoid using momentum…no bouncing!

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The same ab workout routine week-in and week-out will inevitably lead to a plateau…so mix it up! Also, make sure you hit all sections of your core. While all your abdominal muscles will be recruited for each exercise, there are exercises that require more effort from certain sections of your abs. So switch back and forth between different exercises so that your hit all sections.

  • Rectus Abdominis
  • … long muscle that runs down the front of your torso from your lower chest to your torso. AKA your “six pack”.

    Suggested Exercise: Slow-Mo Scissors, Stability Ball Crunches, Heals-2-Heaven, In-n-outs

  • External Obliques
  • …run along your rib cage next to your rectus abdominus. They are responsible for any twisting motion of your torso

    Suggested Exercise: Thread the Needle, Kayak Twist

  • Internal Obliques
  • … pair of deep muscles that lie under your external obliques traveling in the opposite direction of your external obliques. The opposing muscles work in unison to perform twisting motions

    Suggested Exercise: Thread the Needle, Kayak Twist

  • Transverse Abdominis (TVA)
  • …your deepest abdominal muscle. They lie underneath the obliques to protect and stabilize your spine

    Suggested Exercise: Planks, Extended Planks

  • Erector Spinae
  • …a combo of three muscles that run along your neck to your lower back.

    Suggested Exercise: superman, "V" Hold

Related Pages

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Kick Butt Workouts you can do at Home!
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Need more convincing...the benefits of strength training!

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