Q “If abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym, do I even need to train them as long as I’m doing compound movements?”
A We all have abs, and with low enough body fat you’ll see them. But you also need well-developed abdominal muscles to maximize definition. The more developed the abs are, the more defined they’ll appear. Compound movements are great for strengthening your core, but like any other body part, the abs need some isolation exercises for maximum development.
Don’t make the common mistake of doing endless repetitions. Train abs as you would other muscles—using moderate to heavy resistance and keeping the reps at 10–15 per set.
One major six pack misconception is that you have to train your abs every day to see them. This is not the case. Train them right, and train them hard, and you’ll need to do it only one to two times per week.
The final factor to consider is cardio. You can only burn so much fat through clean eating and calorie deficits before you start sacrificing nutrients essential to building muscle. You need to perform some sort of fat-burning activity, whether it’s high intensity interval training (HIIT) or steady-state cardio.
SAMPLE SIX-PACK ROUTINE
Ab Wheel Rollout | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
Hanging Leg Raise | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12-15
Cable Rope Crunch | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
Standard Crunch | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12-15