Clearly defined six pack abs, 8-pack, or 4-pack, and a flat stomach gives you that coveted sexy and confident appearance. Other than enhancing your looks and giving you a great sense of achievement, this transformation comes with several other health benefits. If you are having trouble bringing your six packs to the surface, do not worry because this 28-day abs challenge might just help you fast-track your transformation.
Most men and women want to know how to get abs fast, and sometimes may end up following extreme routines that they cannot manage in the long run. This 28-day abs challenge will help you define your body and if you continue with the routine, the results will be visible in the long run. It outlines the necessary steps on how to get a 6 pack, 4-pack, or 8-pack in less than a month using simple, affordable equipment.
What Are Abs And What Determines The Number Of Abs?
Abs are scientifically referred to as rectus abdominis. They belong to one of the four muscle groups in the abdomen. You may get a 4-pack, a 6-pack, or an 8-pack depending on the number of bands of connective tissue running across your abdomen, which is determined by your genes and hormones. Sadly, not everyone can get an 8-pack, even with the most intensive training, but the good news is that anyone can get abs as long as they work hard and smart.
A 28-Day Abs Challenge For A Desirable Body
Did you know that the higher your body fat percentage (BFB) is, the less likely your abs will show? BFB is a measure of the total mass of fat in your body, divided by your total body mass, multiplied by 100 i.e.
The total mass of fat × 100
Total body mass
A person’s fitness may be measured by the body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI). Of the two, BFB is considered more accurate because it distinguishes fat from muscle. Abs become visible when one cuts their body fat to the lowest percentage possible.
Although there have been disagreements on how much percentage of body fat you need for abs, some experts like Ryan Hosler (owner of Movement Upgraded, & NSCA-certified personal trainer) says that 6-17% body fat for men and 14-24% for women should make your abs noticeably visible. According to Virginia Kinkel, a certified personal trainer with years of experience in analyzing DEXA scans, the visibility of your abs depends on how much body fat you have, where it is stored, and the quantity of your muscles.
The 28-Day Abs Workout Routine
What are the best workouts for abs? Getting visible abs while learning how to get a flat stomach in a week or so comes with its set of controversies and perceptions on what works and what does not. People often spend too much time doing exercises that do not work because they seem relatively easy. For instance, did you know that a sit-up challenge alone does not help much in gaining abs? However, a combination of sit-ups, crunches, and planks should help melt that fat away. The best workouts for abs include:
Support yourself on your forearms and the balls of the feet. Bridge up and align your body in a straight line, then pull abs in tightly and hold for 30-60 seconds. You can then kick it up a notch, while in plank position, by reaching forward with the right hand, maintain for a few seconds and slowly return to the plank position, before switching hands. This works the back muscles, other than the abs, and triggers more abdominal activity than basic crunch (3).
Lie on your back, knees bent and hands tucked under your bum. Lift your legs to a 90-degree angle from the torso. Do a pelvic tilt and pull your knees in towards your chest, then squeeze and slowly lower to starting position. Repeat 15-20 times. You may hold a weight over your head to level up the intensity. This exercise works the lower abdomen and obliques (1).
Vertical Leg Crunch
Lie on your back. Raise your legs, and slightly bend your knees. Aim to touch your ankles with your hands by contracting just your abs. Your chin should be off your chest. Do 12-16 reps,and to make it more engaging, reach towards your toes and hold the position for 15 seconds for a V-sit (1).
Lie on your back. Hands placed by your temples, bring your knees up to form a 90-degree angle. Crunch up and twist across the body. At the same time, perform a bicycle motion with your legs. Repeat 20-3- times. This strengthens the obliques and stimulates more abdominal activity (1).
Side planks are also great for the abs. When going for abs, you want an exercise routine that works as many abdominal muscles as possible. Planks and crunches stimulate your obliques, hamstrings, glutes, quads, and back muscles, giving you an overall physique to go with your abs. However, according to Chatelaine, you should avoid basic crunches, ab rockers, straight-leg sit-ups, standing dumbbell side bend, and seated twist (1).
Examples Of Effective Ab Workouts
Many people mistake jumping right into a strict exercise routine to see quick results, but that may not be beneficial in the long run. You should not rush the 28-day abs challenge if you want to save yourself from too much struggle and frustration. Here is a doable sample workout plan for your 28 days abs challenge borrowed from Muscle and Fitness.
Week 1 And 2
To work the Abs/cardio, do:
- Planks -2 sets for 60-75 seconds
- Bicycle crunch- 3 sets, (10-12 reps)
- Rotational crunch- 4 sets (12-15 reps)
- Sprint- 15-20 seconds, 30-60 seconds walking
Chest exercises to be done include:
- Dumbbell bench press- 4 sets (10-12 reps)
- Cable crossover- 4 sets (12 reps)
- Wide grip barbell bench press – 4 sets (10-12 reps)
- Incline dumbbell flye- 4 sets (12 reps)
For abs/cardio, do:
- Bent knee hip raises- 4 sets (12-15 reps)
- Sprint- 15-20 seconds, rest 30-40 seconds
- General plank- 4 sets, 60 seconds
- Hanging leg raise- 4 sets (10-12 reps)
- V-ups- 4 sets (12 reps)
Back workouts include:
- Machine low row- 4 sets (12 reps)
- Wide grip chin-up- 4 sets (12-15 reps)
- Dumbbell shrug- 4 sets (10-12 reps)
- Dumbbell bent-over row- 4 sets (12-15 reps)
Abs/cardio exercises include:
- Plank pikes- 3 sets, 75 seconds
- Decline weighted sit-ups- 4 sets (12-15 reps)
- Rope crunch- 4 sets (12-15 reps)
Arms and shoulders workouts:
- Dumbbell front raise- 4 sets (10-12 reps)
- Dumbbell lateral raise- 4 sets (10-15 reps)
- Alternating dumbbell bicep curls – 4 sets (12-15 reps)
- Barbell bicep curls- 4 sets (10-12 reps)
- Military press- 4 sets (12 reps)
Week 3 And 4
- Half-bridge and side abductions- 3 sets (10 reps)
- Planks- 4 sets (12 reps)
- Side planks- 3 sets (10-12 reps)
- L-sit – 3-5 sets, hold 30 seconds
- Back squats- 3 sets (6-10 reps)
- Deadlifts – 3-4 sets (10 reps)
- Add pull-ups and push-ups
- Cardio: Run/jog for 60 minutes
- 15-20 Russian twists with kettlebell
- 10 Kettlebell swings
- 20 sit-ups
- Front squat- 10 sets (3 reps)
- Shoulder press- 4 sets (10-12 reps)
- Knee to elbow, handstand hold superset -4 sets (12-15 reps)
- Back squats- 3 sets (10-15 reps)
- Skull crusher- 4 sets (12 reps)
- Cardio: 3 hours walking
Throwing in a few more exercises such as arm and leg training, glutes, hamstring, calf training exercises would help tone other muscle groups for a better overall physique. The goal is to build the upper body with a more defined midsection.
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Dieting For Abs
Like many other fitness plans, the 28 days abs challenge will be heavily influenced by your diet. According to Sam Leahey, director of sports science at Precision Sport Science, nutrition plays a significant role in one’s pursuit of abs. This means that your much-anticipated six pack abs or 8-pack will not come from exercise alone.
One mistake people often make is cutting their carb intake abruptly. It would be best if you kept your carb intake low but steady to obtain sufficient energy for your workouts. Once your abs start showing, a quick calorie cut may bring them out.
You should also increase your protein and vegetable intake while keeping the calories where they ought to be. Avoid junk food with excess fat and stay away from sugary drinks, which often come as a temptation during a caloric deficit. Basically, follow a healthy weight loss diet to shed unwanted pounds.
Common Misconceptions People Have About Abs
Before diving headfirst into the 28-day abs challenge, you need to keep realistic expectations if you do not want to feel wasted or even drop out before the real challenge begins. Today, people have different opinions about what one should do to get visible abs. Although some of the views are true, others are mere beliefs with no evidence to back them up.
1. Your Abs Are A Way To Measure Fitness Progress
Many people obsess over abs, thanks to the common thought that abs are a way to measure wellness and fitness. According to Sam Leahey in Muscle and Fitness, there are other ways to measure fitness and health, such as relative strength and aerobic fitness.
2. Abs Are Not The Same As Other Body Muscles
This is not true. Ab muscles are just like other body muscles, and they should be treated the same way as your biceps, triceps, glutes, etc. Instead of doing exercises that target abs only, incorporate ab exercises into your workout plan and see how it goes. Remember, spot reduction is a myth, so doing ab exercises does not get rid of abdominal fat (2). The workouts reduce overall body fat.
3. You Need Gym Equipment To Get Abs
With or without special gym equipment, you can get abs by doing simple abs workouts at home using your body weight and low-cost tools such as exercise balls. If you must buy exercise tools, seek ones with multiple uses, for example, resistance bands and dumbbells.
Getting into the 28 days abs challenge requires commitment and hard work. It is about making sacrifices now to reap future benefits. Sadly, many start with a lot of energy and expectations but along the way, they give up. Remember to consult your doctor and relevant experts before trying any diet or fitness routine.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Short-term effect of crunch exercise frequency on abdominal muscle endurance (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Which trunk exercise most effectively activates abdominal muscles? A comparative study of plank and isometric bilateral leg raise exercises (2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)