Bodybuilding Ab Workout Facts: Everything About What to Include in the Program?

You probably want to know more about bodybuilding ab workouts when you want to have a defined and sculpted ‘tummy’.

When you try to build muscles, wanting to have 6 (or even 8) packs of abs is quite normal.

But then again, what kind of exercise should you do? What is the right type of exercise? How many times should you do it? What kind of meal plan should you accompany it with? Learn about these things if you want to get your dream abs.

Facts about Bodybuilding Ab Workout

bodybuilding ab workout

A lot of people tend to believe that you need to perform a bodybuilding ab workout every day, and you can only do it through hours of (ab) exercises in each session.

In reality, though, you don’t need to spend hours of workout just to get that packed tummy that you have always wanted.  You see, the abdominal muscles are another muscle group within the body – just like the other muscle groups.

This muscle still needs rest, which means training your abs every day actually won’t deliver effective results. Since the muscle group doesn’t get enough rest and adequate recovery, its development won’t be maximum.

If you want to enjoy maximum results, then you need to give it a proper resting time. At least a day of full rest (for a complete 24 hours) in between the exercises would be enough.

Abdominal Muscle Anatomy

Your abdominal muscle consists of four main muscles external abdominis oblique, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and internal abdominal oblique.

When people talk about six-pack abs, they are referring to these surface muscles. The abdominal muscles alone have the so-called slow twitch (muscle) fibers as well as the fast ones.

The slow twitch type, however, is the perfect option for endurance workouts or the longer types.  As it was stated before, abs are another muscle group in your body.

Muscles need stimulus so they can break down the existing tissue so they will grow back bigger and stronger. By exercising, you are breaking down the (muscle) fibers so the bodybuilding process can begin.

But then, once the muscles have broken down, they need the time to fix, repair, and recover themselves. If you skip this (by doing exercises every day), you won’t be able to make your muscles grow bigger.

But if you allow yourself enough resting time, then your dream muscles would be bigger, stronger, and more solid. In this case, more of the bodybuilding ab workout won’t make it better.

The Proper Way to Train Your Abs

Whereas most people believe that you need to focus or dedicate a whole session in the gym for the bodybuilding ab workout, it’s not true. In reality, though, your abs muscles will be trained and worked when you are doing other exercises, including compound movements.

When you are doing deadlifts or squats, you are targeting your abs muscles as well. To do the exercises correctly and make sure that you can enjoy the desired result, you need to engage your core for better stability.

In this way, your abs can still get the needed work without you having to train them directly. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t perform any direct core training for the abs.

Do incorporate the core training into your program, but not the entire hour. A simple 15 minutes of 2 abs exercises (3 or 4 would be more than enough) would be sufficient enough.

When you can combine the indirect ab training with the direct type, you should be able to expect a fruitful result.  Here are some bodybuilding ab workout tips for your abs exercise: perform the abs workout close to the end of your workout session.

If you start your abs exercise at the very beginning, it will tire you out. When you have to do compound lifts or workouts, it would be harder and more challenging because your core has been the target of exhausting exercise.

However, if you have compound exercises and you close up the session with a good and satisfying ab session, you will be able to enjoy the most. And you should be able to focus on your entire muscle groups within the body.

Read Also: Crazy Bulk Review

The Meal Plan

Abs may be ‘made’ within the gym, but it’s revealed in your kitchen. You should realize that a bodybuilding ab workout isn’t about building up muscles only, but it’s also about fat burning process.

It would be useless to spend hours in the gym without actually ‘feeding’ your muscles the needed diet and nutrition. If you don’t do it right, your muscles will stay hidden under your body fats and be invisible.

Want to show off your abs? Then you need to have the idea (overall) body fat percentage. If it’s too high, then you need to lower it down until your ideal abs definition is shown off.

You should also realize that physical exercises and proper nutrients must work together to give you the desired result. Abs workout is handy to develop (and define) the abs, but your diet and nutrition are responsible for showing off their visibility.

What to Consume?

It’s safe to say that building abs can be made possible from the inside as well as the outside of your gym. You want to cut off the sugar-sweetened drinks and high sugar consumption while having more fatty fish and whole grains.

Let’s not forget that some foods can help you by enhancing the fat-burning process, boosting your metabolism, and keeping you feeling full (between meals).

Unfortunately, some foods are only packed with extra sugar and calories – and you need to avoid these foods. When you consume them, you will only increase your chances to gain weight and get more body fat.

Defined Abs and the Proper Consumption

Not many people realize this but the kitchen is a great spot to build abs. Your diet should be packed with tons of nutritious whole foods, like healthy fats, high protein stuff, whole grains, veggies, and fruits.

The reason why you should include them in your bodybuilding ab workout program is that they are rich in antioxidants and micronutrients, but they also have low calories.

Plus, increasing fat burning process and weight loss support is possible by incorporating them into your program. Not to mention that they can provide healthy fats, protein, and fibers that are crucial in body composition improvement.

What Should You Consume?

Consider having these foods in your daily consumption, so your physical workouts can achieve the best results only.

  • Veggies and Fruits

Veggies and Fruits bodybuilding abs

It’s a complete no-brainer to include veggies and fruits into your daily diet, simply because they are packed in nutrients and low in calories. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants.

The fact that they support fat-burning effectiveness and boost weight loss is another reason why you should include them in your program.

Studies have shown that consuming four servings of vegetables (at least) a day can lead to reduced waist circumference and lower weight gain risk in women.

Moreover, other studies also show that people who eat more veggies and fruits have less (overall) body fat and lower body weight. Those who consume more fruits have less belly fat.

  • Whole Grains

whole grains bodybuilding

Wanting to get abs? Aside from doing the proper bodybuilding ab workout, you should include more quinoa, buckwheat, barley, and oat into your diet.

These foods are high in fiber, which is great for digestion blood sugar level, and weight loss enhancement. Don’t forget that whole grains are also packed with antioxidants, minerals, and also vitamins.

  • Seeds and Nuts

Seeds and Nuts

Other foods to include in your bodybuilding ab workout meal plan should be seeds and nuts because they have a great balance of healthy fats, protein, and fibers.

Studies have shown that people consuming 43 grams (or around 1.5 oz) of almonds daily resulted in significant belly fat reduction. Those who consume 35 grams of chia flour every day experienced a decrease in waist circumference and body weight after 12 weeks.

Seriously consider having Brazil nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, and pistachios in your daily menu together with hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, and also chia.

  • Fatty Fish

Fatty Fish diet

If you are afraid of the excess fat found in chicken or beef, you can always turn to fish products. Sardines, tuna, mackerel, and salmon are some of the healthiest options rich in fatty acids Omega 3.

This fat is great for inflammation, weight control, brain function, and heart health. Not only fish is rich in protein (which is super helpful in toning the abs), but you can also improve your health, especially cardiovascular issues and high blood pressure.

  • Legumes

Legumes bodybuilding

This plant family includes (but is not limited to) peanuts, peas, beans, and lentils. They are usually rich in B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, fiber, and protein. Again, you will be able to improve your overall health while toning your abs muscles at the same time.

The Don’t Consume Food Lists

Besides the must-have foods, there are also some foods that are best avoided. Not only they will harm your waistline, but they can also jeopardize your overall health.

  • Sugary (and Sweet) Drinks

Juices, sports drinks, and sodas can hinder your progress in getting your dream abs while increasing body fat at the same time. These drinks are packed with sugar and high in calories, which means that you have higher risks of weight gain and belly fat.

According to studies, those who consume these kinds of drinks end up having reduced metabolism and fat-burning ability, which jeopardizes their fitness level and overall health.

  • Fried Foods

Deep-fried foods are not only high in calories but also in trans fats. Trans fats are generated and produced through hydrogenation, which is a process allowing oils to stay solid even at room temperature. These kinds of fats are related to cardiovascular issue risks.

  • Alcohol

In moderate amount, alcoholic beverage isn’t dangerous, especially if you do it only once in a while. However, when you do it excessively (not to mention making it a part of your daily consumption), the alcoholic beverage can harm both your waistline and health.

  • Sugary Snacks

There is nothing wrong with snacking, but make sure that you choose the right one. Avoid sugary-filled types (such as candies, cakes, or cookies) if you want to tone your abs. not only they have added sugars, but they are extremely high in calories.

If you want to have a healthy binge, consider fruits as your snacks in your bodybuilding ab workout program.

  • Refined Grains

White pasta, bread, and rice don’t have a lot of nutrients and vitamins. Many of them are lost during the processing. Unlike whole grains, refined grains only have several minerals and vitamins, and they are usually low in fiber.

What Types of Exercises to Do?

bodybuilding ab workout program

You have read about the 4 major muscles in the abs, so it’s crucial to target each one of them. Include these exercises in your bodybuilding ab workout plan, and you can enjoy the results.

1. Rectus Abdominis

To target this muscle area, you can do these exercises:

  • Leg raises. It’s similar to a pull-up, but you need to raise your legs.
  • Scissor kicks. This will challenge the area so much

2. External and Internal Obliques

For this area, you need to do these exercises:

  • Russian twist. To add up the challenge, add a weight. You can use dumbbells for the easy level or a weight plate for the more challenging outcome.
  • Side medicine ball toss. It’s similar to the Russian twist but with a ball to it.

3. Transverse Abdominis

Do these workouts for the best result:

  • Dynamic toe tap. Do it right away, and you will feel your core burning.
  • Elbow to knee plank. It’s a plank with a heightened level. By lifting your knee and bringing it to the elbow, you simply add up the challenge.

Final Words

In the end, you need to decide what kind of lifestyle to choose, which menu to include, and what physical exercises to do when you want to have those defined abs. if you can create a solid and logical bodybuilding ab workout plan, you should be able to see results immediately.

Roger Kruger
Roger Kruger
Roger is an editor at, he is passionate about dieting, bodybuilding, and weight loss supplements.


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