How to Get Ripped Abs and a Powerful Core

By on July 10, 2020

So, some of you have noticed that I’ve gotten a bit leaner lately, and I’ve had a ton of questions from people asking how that happened and how they can get more defined abs.

Diet for Six Pack Abs

Well, actually, it happened partly by accident. It happened partly because my wife and I started eating dinner with our daughter (as she’s old enough now). That meant we started eating more healthily, and I couldn’t be bothered much with cooking additional courses and sides for myself.

Lockdown also meant I couldn’t grab snacks while out and if we ran out of things like protein bars, I had to wait until the next weekly shop.

And I kind of went with this just because we were in lockdown. That meant I didn’t have access to heavy bench pressing or squatting, so it made sense for me to focus a bit more on calisthenics. Calisthenics benefit from being a bit lighter.

How to get ripped abs

PLUS, I got injured around this time with a torn muscle in my back, so I was training less intensely anyway.

All that led to me quickly losing a bunch weight. And yeah, I enjoyed the way the leaner physique felt so I leaned into it.

I pretty much ate what my wife ate – a slim, 5’6’’ woman – and added some protein shake on top. That’s going to do it! This is an easy trick: find someone who is carrying less weight than you, and just eat what they eat!

Oh, and try not to snack of course!

In my video titled “Why you aren’t losing weight/building muscle” I described that calculating your Active Metabolic Rate (AMR) is a very inefficient way to work out your calorie burn. This is why counting calories doesn’t work for everyone.

Diet for abs

BUT it remains the best starting point for most people. So, if you want to get leaner, just calculate your current calorie burn and then aim to eat 200-500 calories less than that.

If you want an even easier strategy, if your weight has been roughly consistent over the last few months, simply cut some big things out of your diet: no math necessary! If you aren’t gaining or losing weight, it means you’re roughly meeting your calorie demands. Eat a bit less and problem solved.

As for where to lose these calories, you’d be surprised what cutting butter, some oil, a little milk, etc. can achieve!

Or use the strategy I outline in my eBook, SuperFunctional Training, and eat low-calorie meals for breakfast and lunch, so that you can safely enjoy yourself at dinner. Dinner tends to be the most “social” mean that we like to really enjoy, so this method works really well for me.

Core training for ripped abs

The other key to ripped abs though, is to train your core properly. A lot of people will tell you that getting great abs is ONLY about diet. This isn’t true.

While losing fat will mean your abs look more visible through your mid-section, the truth is that you also need to make them stronger so that they push through more.

Core training for abs

Don’t believe me? Try contracting your abs and looking in the mirror. You’ll see that they look better. That’s because you flattened your stomach by tightening your transverse abdominis, and protruded your six pack by flexing your rectus abdominis. Get stronger and your abs will look closer to this all the time. This will also improve your posture.

That’s tip number one: don’t train just the front muscles. For flat abs, you need to use exercises that challenge you to brace your core. One of the best options is the hollow body hold, but you can also try plank variations, planche variations, front lever, dragon flag, LaLanne push ups, v-ups, ab roll-outs, or ab vacuums.

Lalanne Push Ups for Flat Abs

The other tip is to likewise train in the transverse plain. A great mid-section is comprised of a six pack but also defined obliques on either side. This gives you that look of a shredded, rippling mid-section, rather than just a “stuck on” set of abs. Combined with a low bodyfat percentage, it’s a mean combo.

Some great options for this include: palloff presses, med ball throws, heavy bag work, cable punch outs, one armed push ups, lizard crawls, briefcase carries…

Suitcase carry for ripped obliques

Oh, and when you do train your rectus abdominis, make sure you’re actually targeting the right area. Many people will actually engage their hip flexors rather than their abs when doing sit ups. Remember, your abs are used to pull your upper body towards your lower body. Focus on crunching the core, not folding at the waist.

V-ups hollow body

I’ve been doing a lot more of all this kind of training lately, and that has played a big role in giving me more defined abs. Ultimately, form follows function. Train for performance, and your looks will take care of themselves.

Walking and incidental training

The other thing that has changed about my routine itself, is the amount of walking and incidental training I’ve been doing. One nice thing to come from lockdown, is that my wife, daughter, and I have been going for a daily walk. This takes about an hour and also involves running around on a field for a bit! (And a spot of Pokemon Go.)

Inspiration Walk

Walking is a fantastic form of low intensity cardio, which is an important thing to include in your fitness diet. After all, our bodies aren’t designed to stay still for the vast majority of the day, only to then go all out for an hour! Instead, we should be constantly moving just a little. Walking more is a good way to emulate this to a degree. And seeing as walking aids with recovery and growth (by supplying the muscles with blood through improved circulation), it’s a great accompaniment to any training regime.

Change the environment, change the organism.

Finally, I’ve also been training more throughout the day with “incidental” exercise. That might mean doing calf raises on curbs, or it might mean squeezing my grip trainer while the kettle boils. This has boosted my fitness and metabolism significantly as once again, I’m constantly moving.

The big key to successful training is perhaps not to view it as training at all: but rather as adaptation. Force your body to adapt to a routine, environment, and schedule that keeps it moving. Change the environment, change the organism.

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About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.

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