I’ve been weightlifting for almost five years. Abs are one of the hardest muscles to grow, and at some points, I’ve wondered, will weightlifting give me abs?
The answer is
Instead of focusing on ab intensive workouts, work on improving your overall fitness and lowering body fat. Cardio paired with a good diet is one of the best ways to achieve abs.
Many workout programs will tell you that what you need to do is perform thousands of crunches, sit-ups and other ab exercises. However, this simply isn’t true.
They’ll sell you a long course full of complicated workouts that won’t end up doing anything, or get you any results. Many people fall into the trap of buying a workout plan that doesn’t work, then trying another and another.
In reality, while getting abs is hard, it’s fairly simple. Eat right and do some cardio and you’re guaranteed to get abs eventually. Don’t be fooled though, this will take time. Be patient and use discipline, and you will see results.
Don’t Build Your Routine Around Abs
Weightlifting will give you abs, if you have the right routine, and use the right practices. While ab specific exercises can help make your abs stronger, they won’t do a whole lot for actually giving you abs you can see.
Do you ever do workouts like pushups, pull-ups, or deadlifting and realize your abs are sore after? This is because they are core workouts, and strengthen muscles all throughout your body.
You already know that ab-only exercises aren’t critical. So, these core exercises are beneficial because they allow your abs to be worked while also strengthening other important muscles.
You should view abs as a benefit, and not the objective you’re trying to accomplish. Like I mentioned earlier, many companies will try to sell you programs that will give you a six-pack.
While they seem tempting, the reality is simple and you should use discipline, diet, and simple exercises to get the body you want. Abs are not achieved by specific workouts, but overall health, fitness, and discipline with dieting.
Improve Your Diet
Your diet is without a doubt one of the most crucial aspects of getting abs. In order to get your abs to show, you need to cut out certain foods and drinks.
Eating things with tons of carbs and sugar, processed foods and junk food, in general, are sure to stop your progress. Try adding more vegetables and healthy proteins into your diet, and find healthy foods that you enjoy eating.
This is often one of the most difficult steps for people, because most people, myself included, like eating food. You need to weigh the pros and cons of having abs, and what you’ll have to give up to get them.
You’ll have to decide if giving up your favorite junk foods is worth it, in order to have the body you want. Many people decide that it’s not worth it to cut out the foods they love eating, and that’s fine.
It’s up to you to choose if you want to give these things up to see the progress and results that you want.
Cut out Alcohol
Drinking alcohol is a surefire way to kill your abs, for multiple reasons. Beer and liquor are filled with unhealthy sugars and carbs.
It’s common knowledge that beer will give you a gut. However, all types of alcohol, even liquor, will be detrimental to your fitness health.
Sometimes, after a night of drinking, you’ll look ripped. Don’t be fooled though, this is because the alcohol is causing you to be extremely dehydrated.
While this doesn’t affect your fitness long term, it’s bad for your overall health. Alcohol causes your body to retain water more than usual, making you look bloated.
This water usually locates around the face and stomach, guaranteeing to hide any abs that you might have developed. Beer is another big issue. Beers are loaded with carbs and sugars, which pack weight around the stomach.
You may know this as a “beer gut”. Beer is bad for your abs, but once in a while, they’re fine to have with your friends. While fitness is about discipline, you’re allowed to have exceptions sometimes.
Giving up alcohol will be very hard, especially for people who are easily addicted. However, it’s worth it to achieve your goals, as well as improving your everyday health.
Do More Cardio
Cardio is another one of the best ways to build your abs and get them to show. Your abs are there, you just need to remove the stomach fat hiding them.
Paired with proper diet, aside from extreme genetic disadvantage, there’s no way that you won’t achieve visible abs. Cardio is one of the fastest ways to lose weight, and that’s exactly what you need.
Cardio not only will help you lose weight and fat, but is great for your heart and lungs as well. Running and engaging in cardiovascular activities has many benefits other than developing abs, but abs are what we’re focusing on here.
Losing weight around your stomach will surely start to bring out your abs. Many companies push out “magic pills” that are apparently sure to help you lose weight.
While they may make you lose weight, they’re almost always detrimental to your health and should be avoided. You may be skinnier, but you won’t look healthy.
Pills might work, but there’s no replacement for sweat and hard work.
Running is possibly everybody’s least favorite activity in the gym. While it’s not necessary for everybody’s workout routine, if you want to get abs, you’re gonna have to do some form of cardio.
It’ll Take Time
Unless you have superhuman genetics, weightlifting won’t give you abs overnight. It takes time to burn fat off of your body and especially your body.
This can be an issue for some people because it’s easy to lose hope when it takes this long to see results. Truthfully, while simple, weightlifting to get abs will be a difficult and lengthy process.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to discourage you. Strength training is something I think everybody should be involved in, and it’s very beneficial to your health.
This being said, any type of fitness will take weeks if not months of work to start seeing progress, and during this time, it’s easy to become discouraged.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it; weightlifting is tough. Spending hours in the gym and giving up your favorite foods is not going to be for everyone.
However difficult it is, and no matter how long it takes, the benefits of weightlifting far outweigh the things that you give up. By dedicating the time to fitness, your body and mind will thank you.
Just remember that if you stick with your plan and routine, and just keep at it, you will see results.
You’ll Need Discipline
When using weightlifting to get abs, you need to have discipline. If you’re just taking some “miracle pill”, at least as advertised, all you need to do it take it and you can eat and do whatever you want.
Will weightlifting give you abs? It will, but you need to set a plan and stick to it. Many people I see set goals and a plan, but they give up before they get a chance to see results.
As mentioned earlier, getting abs takes time. It’s easy to get distracted by tasty junk foods, and even easier to simply not go to the gym.
If you don’t stick to your set plan, you’ll never get the opportunity to see the results that you desire. When you look at successful people, whether they’re successful with weightlifting, business, their career, or anything, I guarantee that they never gave up.
Sure, everybody has moments of weakness and small failures, but if you don’t improve off of those mistakes and keep going, you’re not going to get anywhere. Quitting is the fastest way to not see any results.
You’re allowed to have cheat days, but you should make them uncommon. Once in a while, it’s ok to eat junk food or have a treat. However, don’t do it often, and don’t make excuses or lie to yourself about it.
Stick with your plan and routine, and you will see the results that you want.
Risks of Weight Loss
Weightlifting, as well as weight loss, has countless benefits. However, if done wrong, there can be serious health issues.
Many weight loss programs promise things like “lose five pounds overnight”, or “instant weight loss”. While this sounds appealing, it’s usually unrealistic, and dangerous.
If you’re overweight, and you lose that weight too fast, it could leave you with tons of extra skin where all that weight used to be. This is usually impossible to remove outside of a surgical procedure.
This can happen whether or not you take weight loss pills, and it happens to too many people. While it isn’t a serious health issue, if your goal is to get a six-pack, it won’t help your progress.
Other people attempting weight loss may try to “starve themselves”. In their mind, they think that if they don’t eat, they will lose weight fast. This is one of the worst possible things to do for your health.
Not only will it not work, you will hurt yourself. When you try to avoid eating, your body thinks that you’re starving, and you are. Your body will conserve energy, from what little you do eat, in the form of fat. This is a natural and vital response from your body, as it could save you.
However, this leads to more and more fat to be created, and you could end up less fit than before. Aside from this, it’s horrible for your health.
You could have less energy, and start to lose hair. Your immune system will be disabled, and it’ll be much easier to get sick and harder to get better. Not eating is one of the worst things you can do for all aspects of your health.
The Health Benefits
There are countless benefits and reasons that you should participate in weightlifting. Getting fit, improving your personal life, looking and feeling better is only the start. Getting a six pack carries benefits beyond the obvious.
The journey to get six pack abs is long. But, the benefits it comes with makes it worth the time and effort. Along the way, you’ll improve your overall fitness, mental well-being, and long-term health.
Weightlifting will also look better. Almost anyone that works out wants to look good, even if it’s not their motivation. Weightlifting, cardio, as well as dieting lowers body fat, showing your muscles and making you look more defined and cut.
Weightlifting will also give you more energy. Being in shape will affect your hormone levels, making you able to do more during the day, get better sleep, and improve your sex drive.
Dieting, as will weightlifting in general, will improve your energy. Eating the right things and cutting out sugary junk food will not only further your progress on getting abs but do wonders for your overall health.
Everyone has different reasons for weightlifting, like looking better, getting in shape or simply getting stronger. No matter what motivates you, you’re going to be healthier. Having less fat and revealing muscles will free up your energy and body for movement, and a healthy life.
Foods to Help You Get Abs
As I’ve said before, the best way to get abs is to cut out all of the unhealthy food you’re eating. Depending on your current diet, this could include a lot of your favorite foods. What foods can you use to replace them?
Eggs: Eggs are one of the best foods for abs, and muscle building. They’re filled with protein, and lack carbohydrates. Carbs are one of the main culprits for gaining fat, so it’s good to find foods without a lot of them.
Lean Chicken: Chicken is another great food option. Just like eggs, chicken is full of protein. Lean chicken in particular is lower in fat, making it healthier and more efficient for weight loss and muscle growth.
Oatmeal or Oats: This is going to sound contradictory, but oats are filled with carbohydrates. Despite carbs being not the best for fat loss, they’re necessary for energizing your body. They also have tons of fiber and protein, which are very important. Don’t let these carbs scare you away, because they are healthy and you do need them.
Although these are only a few foods, they’ll help set you on your path to a six pack. If you’re interested in more foods, check out this article on food for muscle growth.
Best Workouts for Ab Development
As I said before, getting abs isn’t about ab workouts, but about your diet. This being said, once you’ve burnt off the extra fat, it’s important to have strong muscles underneath to show off. Here’s just a few of the countless ab workouts out there:
Crunches/sit-ups: This one is a classic. It’ll hurt your stomach if you do a lot of them, but they’re definitely worth it for building ab muscles. Another one of my favorite qualities about crunches is your ability to do them anywhere. As long as you have a ground to lay on and a body, you can do them without any equipment. This makes them key for people who workout at home, or don’t have a gym membership.
Abdominal Machine Crunch: This is just like a normal sit up, except you have added weight. With these, you sit in a machine and then do a crunch just like you usually would. You can control the amount of weight resistance, so you aren’t limited to your body weight. This helps build your muscles even stronger than traditional sit-ups.
Planking: Here’s another great one for anybody, gym membership or not. With planking, you lay down on the ground, almost like you’re about to do a pushup. Then, all you do is hold the same position. If you’re able, hold the position for as long as you can. You’ll be holding your body with your ab muscles, and planking is great for strengthening them.
Again, these are only a few of the hundreds of options out there. Unfortunately, I don’t have an article written on the best ab workouts, but bodybuilding.com does. Check it out if you want even more options for strengthening your ab muscles.
The Bottom Line
As I’ve said throughout the article, weightlifting will give you abs. This being said, it’s going to take a lot of work, dedication and time. You’ll need to set a plan for yourself and stick to it. Eat right, workout, do some cardio and you’ll see results.
It’s going to take you a long time, and you might have to give up some comfort, but the outcome will be worth it. Remember that you’re allowed to make mistakes, but also remember why you started in the first place.
Getting abs is not for everyone, and not everyone is up for the challenge. However, if you can keep up with it, everyone can get there in time.