Are Abs Only Made In The Kitchen?

A comprehensive guide to getting you the stomach of your dreams!

With summer now upon us, many of us are on a mission for a flatter stomach and chiseled abs. Now I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen” but you still need to put a shift in down at the gym if you really want to see results. If you’ve done all the hard work in fixing your diet, it’s time to focus on the ab exercises you need to be incorporating to REALLY see results!


General Fitness

Before we dive into the exercises to develop your torso and give you that impressive waistline, it’s very important to consider developing overall body strength. This is done through performing big compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts and chin-ups. Developing your strength with these movements will help develop your ab muscles and improve your overall body tone.

While I’m sure you’ve seen that guy on the gym mat who’s simply pumping out a ton of sit-ups; please don’t be that person! To get the best out of the exercise and really work your abs hard, movements need to be executed with good technique which focus on the activation of the muscles that you are trying to train.


1/ Hanging Leg Raises

There are a few variations of this exercises and its one that you’ve probably seen many times down at your local gym. The hanging leg raise, when done correctly, is great for targeting the lower portion of the abs.


For this movement I like to use the neutral grip on the chin up bars. Take a firm neutral grip above head and bring the knees to a 90-degree angle. From this position focus on bringing the knees towards the chest (tilt the pelvis) in a controlled manner and slowly lower back to the 90 degree start point.

Try to keep your head in a position neutral throughout the exercise and don’t swing your body.


2/ Supine Hip Raise


Lay supine on a gym bench. Reach above your head and grip the bench. Retract your scapula muscles, engage your core and tilt your pelvis towards your rib cage. Bring your legs to a 90 degree angle- this is your start position. From here, relax your neck and raise your hips off to bench and towards the sky. Lower the hips back to the bench and repeat.


3/ Chin Up

Chin ups are a great exercise to develop not only your back and arms but core muscle too!


For this exercise we want a neutral grip on the bars, engage your core and retract you scapular. Pull yourself up till your chin is above the bar then lower yourself slowly and controlled for a 3 second count.


4/ Rollouts

Before attempting this exercise make sure you have mastered the plank then this exercise will be easier to get to grips with!


Starts in a kneeling position with the AB Wheel slightly in front if you.  Switch on your core muscles whilst keeping your back straight. When you feel ready, slowly roll forward remembering not to arch you back or go too far forward. 


5/ Weighted Cable Crunches

This exercise is great for building thicker abs!


Start in a kneeling position in front of the cable jungle. Set the pin to a weight that is moderate to begin with. Pull the rope towards you so that the ropes are either side of your head. Crunch downward toward your knees thinking of spinal flexion and bring the ribcage towards the bellybutton and back up again.


Extra Tip:

If you are unsure of anything relating to these exercises, speak with a personal trainer for the correct exercise technique points and safety precautions before attempting them. 

I hope this article has been useful in getting you on the way to the enviable abs you want!


Tirrel Grant personal trainer at London's Square Mile Fitness

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