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The Summer body can be prepared in winter! Despite what the glossy magazines would have you believe, you don’t need to start working on your abs two weeks before the beach.
In fact, for a flat stomach and prominent abs, there’s no need to do long sets of crunches all day long. It’s all in the plate and in the regular exercises of gainage that everything happens. Here’s how to get a flat stomach and firm abs by working on your core.
Everyone has abs !
Abs are the muscles that make up the abdominal wall. In particular, the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis. These are the muscles that, once toned and freed of the fat that covers them, give you a flat stomach and the famous chocolate bars.
Being used all day long, the abs are the most worked muscle group. They are used to keep the body upright and to protect the internal organs. Everyone has abs. But for some people they are less apparent, the fault of an unsuitable diet and a lack of sheathing.
Yes, it is indeed the gainage that makes the stomach flat and the abs firm. The goal of abdominal work in the gym is not to tone, but to hypertrophy these muscles. To make them visible, an adequate diet will be a prerequisite, in addition to regular abdominal exercises, which will be the object of several core trainings per week.
What is the gainage ?
We understand by exercises of gainage all the exercises in isometry (mainly) intended to reinforce the abdominal strap. These are long contraction exercises, which aim to increase the resistance and endurance of muscle fibers.
A flat stomach is the result of a toned abdominal belt, made up of firm muscles (not necessarily powerful or hypertrophied) that act as a bulwark between your internal organs and external aggressions, while keeping your body upright in order to relieve your spine and back muscles. These muscles also require regular training in order to obtain a homogeneous sheathing of the trunk and a harmonious and healthy posture. You will have understood that the sheathing answers two objectives: aesthetic (flat belly and six pack) and health.
I’ll explain to you right away how to work on your abdominal muscles effectively, to finally obtain a flat stomach and well-shaped abs.
What exercises for a flat stomach?
Basic abdominal exercises without equipment
Most of the exercises are said to be isometric. This means that they will require you to hold your posture for a period of time against the force of gravity. Some exercises may use accessories, such as dumbbells, elastics or a kettlebell, to increase the intensity of the workout and therefore its effectiveness.
Plank: A classic in strength training programs, the plank position is the basic exercise to master for anyone who wants to achieve or maintain a flat stomach. The idea here is to put yourself in a pump position, with your body stretched out, leaning on your elbows and forearms, with your back straight, and to contract your abs by pulling in your stomach. This exercise as well as its variants (leaning on a single elbow, body turned to the side) allow the toning of the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis. Do a few sets of 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of recovery, and increase the duration as you go along. The results will not be long in coming.
The static leg raise will strengthen the lower abs (and get the significant V abs cut on either side of the groin). Lying on your back with your arms at your sides, hold your legs straight up above the floor. Proceed in sets in the same way as for the plank. You can add weighted bracelets to your ankles to make the exercise more challenging.
Gainage exercises with equipment for even firmer abs
Once you have reached a certain level, you can add equipment to intensify the exercises. The best accessory for toning your abdominal muscles is the kettlebell. A dumbbell will do just as well, although it is less comfortable to use for these exercises.
Crane position: Stand with your arms at your side and kettlebell in one hand. Raise the leg opposite the weight and hold the position. Perform several sets, changing hands and legs. This is a great exercise to strengthen your lateral abdominal muscles.
Around the world: While still standing, with your back straight and your arms relaxed, slowly move the kettlebell from one hand to the other in front of you, then behind you. As you do this, the weight will slowly rotate around your center of gravity, forcing all of your muscles to react and contract to maintain balance. Keep control of the weight throughout the exercise.
In addition to these sheathing exercises, which are among the most effective, don’t forget that most multi-joint movements performed in the gym also involve your abs and help strengthen them. Squats, deadlifts, but also pull-ups (with rings for even more recruitment of the abdominal part) will promote firm abs and a well-sheathed trunk.
Basic principles of the gainage to respect to get a flat stomach
To optimize your training and especially to avoid injury, it is advisable to respect a few essential rules when working on your abdominal muscles.
Keep your back straight is the most important rule. No matter what abdominal exercise you do, you should never force your back. Always keep your back straight, with your head aligned with your spine in a natural way to avoid neck and back pain. If you feel any pain or discomfort in this area, you should review your position immediately.
Regularity is the second key word. As with any practice related to bodybuilding, weight training requires consistency in training. It is better to do a little every day than to do it intensively for a week before stopping.
Follow these tips, adjust your diet, and you’ll soon have a flat, firm stomach. But that’s just the first step. You’ll need to keep it up for the long haul.