If you're getting ready to bare your mid-section for the summer months or potentially escaping the cold for a warm vacation, getting washboard abs is probably something you would love to take with you. Potentially the top request personal trainer's hear everywhere is with regards to tightening these muscles. Face it, washboard abs not only look great, but, they also signify the holy grail of fitness.
One big misconception that some people have regarding getting a washboard stomach is that you should be working all these muscles separately. Because these individuals often envision the so-called '6-pack', they think that you can divide this muscle up, working on it section by section.
Without a clean diet, six pack abs will never be yours. One thing you must realize is that while exercise is important, it's only going to take you so far. No matter how many crunches or sit-up variations you perform, if you've got a solid layer of fat covering your stomach, your muscles are not going to be seen.
Unfortunately, this simply isn't true.
While the abs definitely do consist of a few different muscles, all of these muscles are going to contract simultaneously, helping perform whatever movement is being asked of it. You can definitely target certain areas slightly more than others, but overall, you cannot solely isolate any one of the muscles in particular.
So, having said that, try not to do too many isolated ab exercises during your workout. While these can be nice in a sense that you'll likely really 'feel the burn', they aren't going to work as many muscle fibers as possible - which is your primary goal with any weight lifting session you perform.
The better thing to instead, is to do exercises that decrease your balance because that is what best calls your muscles into action.
Think doing ab crunches on the floor is good? Move those crunches onto an stability exercise ball.
This applies for other calisthenic exercises as well. Performing a set of push-ups? Why not move those onto an exercise ball as well? It's the perfect opportunity to really challenge those muscles and help develop washboard abs. Simply place an exercise ball under your arms or under your feet and push-up from there. If you're really ambitious, try both at the same time (note, use a spotter when doing this as there is a good chance you'll roll off until you gain the skill necessary to balance).
The only time when you don't want to decrease your stability too much, however, is when you're lifting very heavy weights in major compound lifts (such as squats for instance). This could prove to be very dangerous because one small movement in the wrong direction due to being off balance could cause your form to go and that could lead to a severe injury.
So, keep your destabilization work to exercises that are performed with your body weight or very light weights.
By following these principles though, you can be sure that washboard abs are on their way for you.