Decades of Hollywood movies and magazine covers have all told men the same thing about the perfect body – getting great abs is the key to looking good. The majority of men who are presented by the media as being attractive and desirable all have perfectly sculpted abs. Most of our male readers will, at some point, thought about the best way to turn their stomachs into a rippling six-pack. The more ambitious among you might even have thought about creating an eight-pack!
The truth is that none of us should be so obsessed with our physical appearance that not having the perfect body makes us miserable. Wanting to get into shape is a good thing, and all of us would benefit from doing a little more exercise, but we shouldn’t base our personal happiness on whether or not we look like a bodybuilder. We know that many men struggle with their body image, and that’s a shame. Being at peace with who we are and what we look like is central to being happy in life, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you’re not in peak physical condition right now. If you would like to make a few improvements, though, we’ve got some great exercise tips to get you started.
The key to success with any of these exercises is repetition. You shouldn’t expect to do a few days worth of ab-focused exercises and expect to see an immediate result. Think of your daily exercise routine as a mobile slots game. It’s highly unlikely you’ll pick up big wins on a Vegas Slots website with your first few spins of the reels. People who are able to consistently win money playing mobile slots do it by sticking to the task, repeating the exercise (as in, continuing to pay to spin the reels of the mobile slots game), and patiently waiting for a big win to arrive. You can’t win at mobile slots if you’re not spinning, and you can’t build a better body if you’re not getting your reps in. Pick an exercise or to stay with them for the long haul, and reap the rewards!
Planking For Core Strength
You might remember planking as an internet craze from a few years ago. You probably don’t know that it has its roots in a great exercise for building core strength. Core strength is integral to having great abs – if your core strength is good, you can handle more reps, and therefore you can perform other exercises for longer.
Planking for core strength can be performed wherever there’s a bench. Lower yourself down into a planking position, support your body on your forearms, and place both feet on the bench. Ensure that your body is perfectly straight, including your head and neck. From there, raise one foot from the bench, move it sideways, and touch the floor with your toe before bringing it back up and moving it back onto the bench. Repeat this action ten times, and then repeat the whole exercise ten times with your other foot. A good planking session should involve ten sets of ten reps with each foot, with a short break in between.
The Dumbbell Crunch
Everyone knows that situps are a great way to build abs, but standard sit ups can be made more effective by introducing a little extra weight to the process. A dumbbell crunch is a simple thing to do, and will significantly enhance the effectiveness of your situps. Simple lay down in a situp position with your knees raises, and hold a dumbbell across your chest. Perform ten sit ups while keeping your abs tensed the whole time. Rest ten seconds before going for another ten. This is a very intense way of performing sit ups, and so we don’t suggest doing any more than three sessions in any one workout.
This is another offshoot of planking, and it’s one which you can do at home. Lay down on the floor perfectly straight, and then raise your feet one foot above the floor, parallel to the ground. Keep your arms perfectly straight by your side, also raised a few inches above the floor. Without moving your arms or using them for support, sit up and bring your knees up to your chest, and then return to your starting position without letting your feet or arms touch the floor. Repeat this twelve times, allow yourself a ten-second rest, and then go through the whole thing again twice more.
The Hanging Twist
This is another variant of a well-known abs-building exercise, but it’s got an extra twist to it (pun intended) which increases its effectiveness. You’ll need a solid, reliable bar to hang from to perform this exercise. Grip onto the bar and put yourself in a ‘dead hang’ position – i.e., with your body fully extended, but your feet off the floor. At all times, keep your knees together. Instead of bringing your knees up to your chest, keep them together and bring them up to either your right or left side. Keep switching sides until you’ve performed twelve reps on each side of your body. As always, allow yourself a ten-second rest, and then repeat two more rounds of the hanging twist.
The Russian Twist
This situp variant is all about building your side abs – also known as your obliques – which are often missed in other exercises. Start in a situp position, with your knees raised, and your heels in contact with the floor. Perform a standard sit up, and hold your tense body at a 45-degree angle – the peak of the situp’s crunch. While you’re there, clasp your hands together with your arms fully extended in front of you. Turn your body all the way to the left, and then all the way to the right in a slow, controlled movement. Finish the situp, and then repeat twelve times. You know the drill by now – allow yourself ten seconds to rest, and then do it all twice again!
None of the above exercises are significantly time-consuming, and they’re all things you can do at home with a minimal amount of gym equipment – so there’s no excuse for giving yourself a full workout every day! Because you’re improving your core strength, your obliques, your upper abs, and your lower abs, you should gradually start to see a well-formed, well-balanced set of abs appear over time. Hopefully, your body confidence will grow along with them.