What Are WashBoard Abs?

What Are Washboard Abs?

Let’s talk about abs. But not just any set of abs, washboard abs.

We’ve all seen “those abs” before.

The kind that will have you throwing on that swimsuit coverup in no time and trading in those Doritos for some fruit.

But what are washboard abs? And how can you get them?

What are Washboard Abs

What are washboard abs? Well, here’s the scoop.

This old school term comes from a tool known as a washboard.

If you’re anything like me, then you have no idea what a washboard is and have never seen one!

Well, a washboard is a bump board that was used to wash clothes back in the good old days when washing machines didn’t exist.

Yes, there was a time where washing machines didn’t exist and there was much more effort required than pressing a few buttons.

Now that you know what a washboard is you’re probably wondering how on earth that applies to abs.

First, if anyone has ever  told you that you have “washboard abs” then hats off to you! Seriously, give yourself a pat on the back.

Washboard abs are very well developed and have a bit of a rigid appeal to them – like a washboard. 

Simply put, washboard abs are very strong, well-defined and probably on most of our abdominal “goals” list.

What are Washboard Abs

Washboard abs are more defined than a six-pack and have better muscle definition.

But if I’m being honest here, I’m perfectly fine with having either.

If you’re searching for the key to washboard abs, then you’ve come to the right place!

While I may not have them yet (it’s a work in progress), I’ve got the tips you need to get started on the right path.

How to Get Washboard Abs?

So, what’s the key to getting washboard abs? Is there a secret ingredient?

Maybe a certain exercise that will have your abs chiseled in absolutely no time?

While I would love a quick-fix, cookie cutter approach just as much as the next girl (or guy), it doesn’t exist for washboard abs.

As with most good things in life, it’s a process. But there are some steps you can take to make the process turn into progress more quickly!

Abs are Made in the Kitchen

What are Washboard Abs

Yes, most people will tell you abs are made in the gym (home gym, yoga studio, fitness class, etc.), but they are really made in the kitchen.

If you’re wanting washboard abs then having a good diet is essential.

Certain foods can boost your metabolism, increase fat burning, and help keep you full between meals.

On the contrary, there are others that increase the potential of gaining weight and having excess body fat.

My best advice to you when dieting is to listen to your body. I can’t stress this enough!

Every human body is different and will react to changes in diet in its own way. That means what is working for your bestie may not work for you.

For example, I’m a vegetarian. This was a diet/lifestyle change I slowly progressed into.

I didn’t dive in head first all at once – but I’ve also never been big on carnivorous meals.

I quickly found that my body thrives better without meat.

However, a best friend of mine tried to switch to vegetarianism and her body had a different reaction.

Give it a suitable amount of effort before just throwing in the towel — change takes time!

But be sure to explore all options and not just what your BFF is telling you!

What are Washboard Abs

It’s essential to lower your fat and caloric intake.

Having lower levels of body fat is a major key for getting washboard abs.

There are tools available, such as MyFitnessPal, that can help you keep track of your diet.

You just input what you’ve eaten that day and it tracks your caloric intake.

In addition, the app will give you ideas on where you can improve your diet.

Good Foods

If you’re just searching for a place to start, then try adding foods to your diet like: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and high-protein.

This can help support your weight loss goals and increase your fat burning because of being high in micronutrients and low in calorie.

Here’s some ideas of food you can add to your list for your next grocery trip:

  1. Almonds, Pistachios, Pecans, Peanuts
  2. Chia seeds, Flax seeds
  3. Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Sardines
  4. Oats
  5. Quinoa
  6. Kale
  7. Blueberries
  8. Eggs
  9. Dark chocolate (to help satisfy that sweet tooth)
  10. Lentils, Beans, Peas
  11. Green tea

Remember, everything is okay when used in moderation.

But if you’re trying to get washboard abs, there are some foods you should try to avoid. It’s okay to reward yourself!

But don’t let a cheat day turn into a cheat week! Below are a few ideas of foods to avoid.

Foods To Avoid

  1. Sugary drinks (soda, sports drinks, juice)
  2. Fried foods (chicken strips, french fries, cheese sticks)
  3. Alcohol
  4. Sugar filled snacks (cookies, cakes, candy)
  5. White rice
  6. Bread
  7. Pasta

Stay Hydrated

What are Washboard Abs

Staying hydrated is an important part of having washboard abs. 

Your abs will look mored defined if you are properly hydrated, helping to give you the classic washboard abs look. 

It is also important to drink plenty of water while performing the exercises required to get washboard abs. 

In addition to keeping you hydrated, the water will help to regulate your body temperature.

Ab Exercises

While sticking with the right diet will definitely help you get those highly desired washboard abs, you’ve also got to put in the work at the gym!

Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to get abs by doing one without the other.

Consider your exercise regimen and diet a “couple.”  Better yet, a married couple.

To get the best results, they have to work together. Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?

Basically, you still have to exercise to get washboard abs! 

And here are the moves that will help:

Mountain Climbers

My favorite for ab exercises is mountain climbers.

Start in plank position: this means your back is flat, shoulders are directly over the wrists and your spine is neutral.

Keep the core engaged and begin bringing your right knee toward your right elbow.

As you plant the right foot back in plank position, simultaneously life the left knee and bring to the left elbow.

Alternate between the right and left as quickly as possible. Be sure to keep proper form so you get the best results!

What are Washboard Abs

Leg & Arm Raises

So for this exercise you have two options: to use a ball/weight or to not use one.

You’ll start by lying flat on your back with your legs extended straight in front of you and arms extended over head.

Squeeze your abs to lift your arms and legs simultaneously until you create a V position then lower back down.

If you choose to include a ball in this exercise, you will pass the ball back and forth between the hands and legs.

What are Washboard Abs

Ab Wheel Rollouts

The ultimate ab exercise!

This one leaves me sore for days. But don’t be scared!

Start by kneeling on a mat, towel, or whatever you have handy that will keep the knees safe.

Keeping your back straight, lean forward and begin rolling the ab wheel forward until your arms are overhead and your torso is almost parallel to the floor.

Using the core, return to the starting position and repeat. 

If your core is not strong enough to do it on your feet, then do the exercise on your knees.

What are Washboard Abs

Reverse Crunches

If you haven’t ever done reverse crunches, you’re missing out.

Start by lying down with your arms down by your sides.

Raise your legs so they are perpendicular to the floor and place the knees at a 90 degree angle.

From here, use your lower abs to bring your knees up towards your chest and raise the hips off the floor.

Keeping the core engaged, lower back to the starting position and repeat.

What are Washboard Abs

Side Hip Raise

Start by lying on your right side with your right elbow planted and forearm extended to prop you up.

The shoulders should be stacked and legs should also be directly on top of each other.

Start by lifting your hips up so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels.

From this position, slowly lower the right hip, tap it to the floor and lift back up.

Repeat this 10 to 12 times and then switch sides.

What are Washboard Abs


The question “What are Washboard Abs?” can be answered by seeing what an old time washboard looks like. 

Old steel washboards have bumps or ridges.  That’s where a set of muscular abdominal muscles gets the term “washboard abs”.   

To get  washboard abs, the most important thing is to change your diet.  Washboard abs are made in the kitchen. 

You will need to eat a diet low in fat as well as reduced carbohydrates. 

Staying properly hydrated is also important. 

In addition to the important dietary changes, the abdominal regions need plenty of daily exercise to help strengthen them and carve them. 

Now you know the answers to both “What are Washboard Abs?” and “How Do I Get Washboard Abs?”.

Photo of author

Gabrielle McNair

I am obsessed with all things related to fitness and personal health. Outside of that, I enjoy spending time with my husband, being outdoors and traveling.

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