Posted by: PFB
Having a flat and toned wash-board stomach is the dream of not only bodybuilders, but pretty much every man and woman on the planet. Everyone wants to look good on the beach and getting a ripped mid section seems for many to be the way to achieve this.
To get visible abs though there are a variety of factors you need to consider. For starters you need to have a low enough body fat percentage in order to be able to see your abs through the flesh on your stomach. You'll need around 10% or lower to be able to see them but probably 7% to be on the safe side. This means doing lots of CV to burn fat, either running, boxing, swimming, cycling, skipping or rowing; around three times a week for half an hour should be enough to start seeing progress.
At the same time you also need to alter your diet to eliminate excess fat and simple carbs (not completely eliminate mind you as you do need them in your diet, just keep them to a minimum). That means less cake, fewer fatty burger, less beer and less chocolate. What you need to be consuming is lean protein that will build up the abs at the same while not adding extra fat.
Finally you need to actually train the abs and surrounding muscles directly. Do this obviously with sit ups and crunches, but try and keep things a bit more varied with some incline sit ups or leg raises too, or by using an exercise ball to balance on. Additionally train the other muscles in the area, the obliques and serratus in particular, to get a far more detailed look around the whole vicinity. These will appear as diagonal lines down your sides meeting the sides of your abs and can be worked by adding a twist onto the end of your sit up.
For really great core muscles though, make sure you train your entire body rather than trying to just focus on the area you're interested. Your abs are involved in almost every single exercise you can perform and building muscle in one area will encourage your body to build it in others. Furthermore, just maintaining the muscle in your body costs energy meaning you're more likely to stay lean without even trying. Those who try to train just their abs for vanity's sake will lose out in the long run.