If you are looking for a metabolic strength-training workout program that’ll accelerate your metabolism to help you drop body fat and get you better abs, look no further because the Strength Training for Abs Workout plan in this article has got your name written all over it.
Fat Loss = Better Abs
When we talk about strength training for abs, we’re really talking about using strength training for fat loss. Let’s face it— we all have abs, we just need to achieve a low level of body fat to reveal them. And, in order to lose fat (to show off your abs), you must be conscious of the food you put into your mouth.
Put simply, a low-carb/high-protein diet that’s not excessive in calories is what you’ll find most physique competitors and fitness models follow. That is, unless they’ve hit the genetic lottery. We emphasize the importance of following a good diet in order to get better abs because no workout program, no matter how good it is, can help you out-train a poor diet.
Build Muscle for Better Abs
Building muscle is important for fat loss because muscle is metabolically active tissue. In other words, muscle is the physical place where body fat is burned.
Fat loss is a two-step process:
Step 1: The body must release the stored fat from the adipose tissue. And, in order to do this, you must keep your insulin levels low (by eating a low-carb diet) because, when insulin (a storage hormone) levels are raised (from consuming carbohydrates like sugars and starches), your body cuts back on producing glucagon, which is the hormone that responsible for allowing your body to release stored body fat.
Step 2: The fat is then sent into the muscle tissue to be burned as energy (i.e., fuel).
With the above information in mind, you now have a clear understanding of how building a bigger engine (i.e., building muscle) can help you more effectively burn fat, which will help you get better abs.
As you can see, when it comes to fat loss you want to be the opposite of your car— you want to have a bigger engine (i.e., more muscle mass) that is gas inefficient so that you burn as much fuel (i.e., stored fat and calories) as possible to keep your body running.
In short, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is— not just when you’re training, but even while you sleep.
How the Program Works
Exercises labeled “A” and “B” are performed together as a superset— you perform exercise “A,” then with as little rest as possible, perform exercise “B.”
Once exercise A and B have both been performed, rest no more than 90 seconds before repeating that same superset for the number of sets indicated in the program before moving onto the next superset or triset.
Exercises labeled together as “A,” “B” and “C” should be performed back-to-back as a mini (triset) circuit. Perform all three exercises circuit-style with as little rest as possible between exercises. Once you have completed all three exercises (A, B & C), rest no more than 90 seconds before repeating that same triset for the number of sets indicated.
Additionally, perform this program 5 days per week, switching the rep schemes, as follows:
Why the Program Works
This program is anything but a traditional body part split where you only work a few target muscle groups each workout such as a “chest and triceps” day, a “back and biceps” day, etc. Here are the reasons why the Strength Training for Abs Program is designed the way it is:
Each of the two workouts (A & B) in the program involve both upper and lower body exercises, and pair them together in supersets and trisets. Doing so helps maximize metabolic cost of each workout by involving more muscles. Put simply, more muscles worked means more calories burned.
Additionally, by pairing and trisetting upper-body and lower-body exercises together, it creates a constant cardiovascular effect. Whenever you perform any strength exercise, your body pumps more blood to the muscles involved in the movement. By performing an upper-body exercise, followed by a lower-body exercise, you’re constantly changing where your body must increase blood flow. Doing this creates a cyclic blood flow effect, which forces your body to increase its cardiovascular output. This helps you burn more calories without interfering with the rest time each muscle gets throughout the workout because while one muscle group is working, the other is allowed to fully recover. In short, this helps you increase the metabolic demand of each workout and ensures you best maximize your time in the gym.
Furthermore, although each workout covers upper-body and lower-body exercises, the muscle groups are split up between each of the two workouts, which allows you to train on consecutive days without hitting the same muscle groups two days in a row. Doing so ensures that you can maintain a high workout intensity without risking overtraining on any particular muscle group. n
The Strength Training for Abs Workout Program
Now that you understand that a good diet is the prerequisite for seeing those abs, here’s the workout program that is specially designed to help you build muscle and accelerate your metabolism for revealing those abs.
Workout A – Back, Quads, Traps, Rear Delts, Biceps, Abs, Calves
2a. Front Squat 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 12-15
2b. Chin-up 3-4 sets x 3-4 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x max reps
3a. Dumbbell Walking Lunge 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps (per leg) alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 12-15 (per leg)
3b. One-arm Dumbbell Row 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps (per arm) alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 12-15 (per arm)
4a. Dumbbell Rear-Delt Fly 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20 reps
4b. Dumbbell Biceps Curl 3-4 x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20 reps
4c. Abs Rollout* 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
5a. Dumbbell Shrug 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20 reps
5b. Dumbbell Pull-over 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20 reps
5c. Calf Raise (machine or barbell) 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
Workout B – Chest, Glutes, Hamstrings, Front & Side Delts, Triceps, Obliques
1a. Barbell Romanian Deadlifts RDLs 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20
1b. Clapping Push-up 4-5 sets x 4-6 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 8-12
2a. 45-degree Back Extension* 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20
2b. Dumbbell Incline Press 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20
3a. Barbell Hip Thrust* 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20
3b. Dumbbell One-arm Shoulder Press 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20
4a. Dumbbell Side Plank + Lateral Shoulder Raise* 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps (each side) alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20 reps (each side)
4b. Dumbbell Skull-crusher 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20 reps
4c. Swiss Ball Leg Curl* 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps (1 leg version) alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20 reps (two leg version)
5a. Parallel Bar Dip 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps alternate w/ 2-3 sets x max reps
5b. Weight Plate Chop* 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps (each side) alternate w/ 2-3 sets x 15-20 (each side)
*Descriptions have been provided for these exercises since they may be unfamiliar and/or are often performed poorly.
Monday: Workout A, Red Set/Rep Scheme
Tuesday: Workout B, Yellow Set/Rep Scheme
Thursday: Workout A,Yellow Set/Rep Scheme
Friday: Workout B, Red Set/Rep Scheme
Saturday: Workout A, Red Set/Rep Scheme
Monday: Workout B,Yellow Set/Rep Scheme
Tuesday: Workout A, Yellow Set/Rep Scheme
Thursday: Workout B, Red Set/Rep Scheme
Friday: Workout A, Red Set/Rep Scheme
Saturday: Workout B, Yellow Set/Rep Scheme
Perform the workout program in this manner for five to six weeks while eating meals that emphasize protein and veggies, and minimize your consumption of starches and sugars.
Abs Rollout on Ball
Set Up: Assume a kneeling position with your arms straight and hands resting on the front, upper portion of a fitness ball.
Action: Reach your arms as far as possible forward in a diving-type manner. Allow your torso to become as straight as possible with your legs without losing a neutral spinal position. If you feel any pressure in your lower back, you’ve gone out too far.
Once you’ve extended your body as far as possible, reverse the motion and return to the starting position. You can also use an ab wheel to perform this exercise.
45-degree Back Extension
Set Up: Set the thigh pads so they are just below your hipbones. Cross your arms in front of your chest.
Action: Lower your torso toward the floor without rounding your back. Although this exercise is traditionally called a “back extension,” it’s really a hip extension exercise. Your spine should stay neutral the entire time you hinge at your hips to lower your torso to the floor, and also while raising your torso back to the straight position to complete each rep.
Add load by holding a weight plate or dumbbell at your chest.
Barbell Hip Thrust
Set Up: Place a bench against something stable like a squat rack. Sit down in front of the bench with your shoulder blades resting on top of the bench and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Wrap a towel or a fat pad (an extra think bar pad) around the barbell and position the barbell directly above your hips.
Action: Hold the barbell in place above your hips while lifting your hips toward the sky until they become parallel with your shoulders. Be careful not to extend from your lower back, but rather extend by using your glute muscles. Slowly lower your hips back down, lightly touching the floor to complete each rep.
Dumbbell Side Plank + Lateral Shoulder Raise
Set Up: Place your left forearm on the top of a bench and assume a side plank position. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, resting the dumbbell on your right hip area.
Action: Use your right hand to perform dumbbell lateral shoulder raises while you maintain a stable side plank without allowing your body to rotate or hips to lower to the floor.
Perform all reps on one side before switching sides.
Swiss Ball Leg Curl
Set Up: Lie supine on the floor with your heels resting on top of a size 55- to 65-cm fitness ball.
Action: Raise your hips toward the sky while simultaneously pulling your heels toward your body underneath you. Slowly reverse the motion and repeat without allowing your hips to ever touch the floor.
To perform the single leg variation: Raise one leg off the ball, flexing your hip at 90 degrees and perform the same action as described above, doing all the repetitions on one side before switching sides.
Weight Plate Chops
Set Up: Holding onto each side of a 25- to 45-pound weight plate.
Action: Squat down and rotate your hips and torso, holding the plate outside of your left knee. Stand up as you rotate to your right side and drive the plate across your body, finishing with it above your head. This exercise should be performed in a smooth and rhythmic fashion coordinating your upper body and lower body together on the lifting and lowering phase of each repetition.