How to Get Abs at Any Age (do these 5 exercises)
One of the most elusive things you can get is the coveted six-pack “abs.” But, how to get abs is the real question. And, as you get older, it seems the dream of revealing that six-pack gets further and further away. So, what can be done to get those abs to show themselves, no matter your age?
What are the “Abs,” Exactly?
Yes, you know the general vicinity of the so-called “abs,” but what does that mean exactly? Where are they, what do they do, and how to get abs?
If you start by thinking about your core or midsection, you’re in the right area. Your midsection is comprised of a lot of musculature that holds your insides in and supports your skeletal structure. Your abdominals work to protect your internal organs and anatomy by wrapping around the sides and front of your body—running from just under the ribcage all the way to the pelvic area.
- The Six-Pack Muscles—these are called the rectus abdominis and are the focal point of most ab programs since, when revealed, they constitute the washboard abs look. They help you bend forward.
- External Obliques—these muscles help you make twisting motions and connect to the ribs on your sides and run diagonally across and down the front of your midsection.
- Internal Obliques—these muscles are located underneath the external obliques. They attach in the hip area and run diagonally, connecting your hips to your midsection.
- Traverse Abdominals—these muscles work as somewhat of an internal girdle, wrapping around your middle and protecting your internal organs.
Factors Affecting the Visibility of Your Abs
Okay, so now you know in technical terms what abs are, but surely there are some closely guarded secrets that can be spilled on how to reveal those elusive abs.
Well, it turns out there may be a few things that can help, especially as you get older and naturally carry less muscle mass compared to body fat.
1. Body fat—yes, body fat plays a huge role in your ability to see your abs. In fact, it’s the biggest role of all. If layers of body fat hide your abdominal muscles, you’ll never see any type of definition in your middle. So, getting your body fat down into lower numbers that can allow some lines and tone to show through should be goal number one.
2. Your diet—yes, you need to get your body fat down into low numbers if you want to reveal that toned midsection. But, it’s important to also get your nutrition from healthy natural sources. Eating mostly whole, unprocessed foods will go a long way toward helping you chisel out that midsection while releasing toxins and promoting proper digestion.
3. Your hormones—as you age, your hormonal levels change, and this can be a huge component in the shape of your body, your overall body fat levels, and where you deposit fat. In fact, studies show that menopause, for example, can cause your body to move fat distribution to your middle.
So, if you used to store excess fat around your hips and thighs, you may notice it’s now deposited around your belly instead. Get your hormones checked and see if they need a slight tweak to get you going in the right direction.
4. Your stress level—and speaking of hormones, stress is known to be a big factor when it comes to depositing extra body fat around your middle. Keeping stress levels at bay is good for your overall health, but decreased cortisol levels (the stress hormones) will also help you keep body fat at bay.
5. Your sleep patterns—your sleep patterns go hand in hand with your stress levels and can make or break your six-pack reveal party. Make sure to get plenty of restful sleep each night to keep those cortisone levels low and your body running at optimal levels.
How to Get Abs: 5 Steps
Most exercises will help you bring out your abs simply because your abs act as stabilizers in so many movements. But, if you’d like to specifically target your core in order to answer the question “how to get abs”, you can use these exercises two to three times per week.
These are fun and relatively easy, just like they sound. Start by lying on your back with your hands behind your head. Don’t pull on your neck; keep your hands light. Bend your right leg to bring your knee upward in a pedaling motion while simultaneously bringing your left elbow to your right knee. Repeat on the opposite side and continue alternating these motions as if you were riding a bike.
2. Stability Ball Pikes
You’ll need a stability ball for this exercise. Get down on the floor with your arms straight, palms down. Place your tiptoes on a stability ball. (You’ll basically be in a push-up position but with your feet elevated.) Next, bend your legs and roll the ball in toward your chest. Once your knees are at your chest, roll the ball back out to the start. Repeat for ten repetitions.
This may be one of the most well-known ab exercises of all time. Not only will it help you carve out those abs, but it will help strengthen your entire core. Start in a push-up position and lower yourself onto your forearms. Keeping your back straight and your hips in line with your back, hold this position as long as you can or for up to two minutes. Repeat.
4. Hanging Knee-Ups or Leg-Ups
These can be performed either by bringing your knees up to your chest or, for those of you who are advanced, bringing your straight legs up as high as you can.
Start on a “Captain’s Chair,” which is a piece of equipment that has a back support and armrests but no seat. It will be high enough so that your legs can hang down straight without touching the floor. Next, bend your knees (or do this straight-legged) and bring them up to chest level. Pause and slowly lower your legs to the starting position. Repeat.
5. Twists on Stability Ball
These will help you strengthen your core and work the sides of your abs at the same time. Start by sitting on a stability ball and lean back until the small of your back is on the ball. Keep your feet flat on the floor. You can hold a medicine ball or a small weight in front of you. Or, if the weight is too much, simply clasp your hands together.
Begin with your arms straightened above you and centered. Next, move your arms to the right as you twist only your upper body and torso to the right. Drop your arms all the way to the right until they are parallel with the floor. Pause and then bring them back up to the center above your head. Repeat on the opposite side.