How to Get a Six Pack Getting six-pack abs is a dream of many people that work out because it is a symbol of health and fitness that not many people can show off. The principles you need to know to get a six-pack are the same as the ones on how to lose belly fat and you just need some extra ab exercises to make your abdominal muscles look better. These principles apply to men and women, young and old. Bear in mind that most people don’t need to be doing a lot of ab exercises if the objective is to lose belly fat and lose weight.
In this article, we will talk specifically about ab training and the resistances and frequency that you need to develop the ab muscles to their full potential on a body that already has mid to low body fat percentage.
First… Eat Right and Train Right!
If you are a beginner in fitness and weight loss you will first need to read up on how to have a healthy diet and learn about the eating habits that promote health and fast and permanent weight loss.
The theory on how to lose weight fast and permanently is very simple. There are two main components in the process of weight loss: a healthy diet and good exercise principles.
I recommend you start by learning the principles of a healthy diet. It will surprise you how much food and how many different and varied foods you can eat to lose weight and build your health.
Eating right and exercising in the right way are both essential so read up on both, the articles on how to lose weight fast and how to lose belly fat cover most of these. If you are a total beginner start by learning the right eating habits.
Careful With The Myths and the Bro Science
There are many fitness myths that people fall for and that make them use their time with totally ineffective exercises that do nothing to achieve their goals. One of those myths is that doing hundreds of ab crunches is going to give a really defined six-pack and that those exercises will help lose belly fat.
First of all, crunches are not an effective way of losing belly fat or losing weight because they are an exercise that offers low resistance and after you did them for a few weeks they will do nothing to develop your abs.
They also don’t help you lose belly fat or lose weight because it is an isolated exercise, meaning you only use your abs (doesn’t burn calories).
Doing these exercises is not bad for your health, it is just a waste of time that could be used on exercise that will help you achieve your goal, which can be building strength, weight loss, and losing belly fat.
The key to getting a defined six-pack is to lose as much belly fat as possible. Not many people know this, but every person that has been in a gym for a few months has well-developed abs that would look great if they didn’t have a layer of belly fat covering them up.
So your first objective should not be to make your ab muscles bigger, it should be to lose the belly fat that is covering them up… and this is not done with crunches.
If you focus your workout time on doing multi-joint exercises and compound movements like squats, lunges, pull-ups, presses, and lunges you will start burning fat fast, including the hard-to-burn belly fat.
With these exercises, you activate various muscle groups at the same time and you will burn more calories than a cardio or ab workout. Intensity is key here, all the multi-joint exercises with compound movements contribute to a very high-intensity workout.
Having said that, let’s talk specifically about ab workouts.
For How Long Should I Train My Abs to Get a Six Pack?
Get ready because I have some great news! Your ab training shouldn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes per training session. You can do this 2 or 3 times a week! Now keep in mind that this is not a late-night infomercial and you wont get six pack abs just from working out 5 minutes 3 times a week.
The ab exercises are just part of your training that is all high intensity, because of the multi-joint exercises that really push you to the limit.
It is good to do your ab exercises at the end of your workout. It’s best to do it after your workout because you don’t exhaust your abs before doing the other exercises (your abdominal muscle is needed to stabilize your body) and after the workout, your abs are already warmed up and a little exhausted, so these last exercises will push you to the limit.
When you are doing exercises that put a lot of load on your back like squats or deadlifts it is important not to tax your abs before you do them. These exercises will drain all your energy and your abdominal muscles play a vital role in keeping your body stabilized.
Doing deadlifts and squats requires all your concentration and it requires all your strength. So don’t go working out other muscles before you do these exercises. It is not good for your results and it can be dangerous.
After doing a heavy workout like this it is not uncommon to be totally drained of energy and you don’t really feel like doing the ab exercises or don’t put all your effort into them.
If you are doing a workout with mostly upper body exercises then you can do your ab routine first but I don’t recommend it.
Doing your ab workout after your other training is a good idea because it’s a small muscle group. If you are following our advice you will be doing a lot of compound movements and multi-joint exercises and a full-body workout… so definitely do the abs in the end. That energy is best used in your main fat-burning exercises.
How Often Should I Train Abs?
Another fitness myth regarding ab training is that you need to do it every day you go to the gym. Doing abs for 5 to 10 minutes a day, 2 to 3 times a week is more than enough to create a ripped six-pack that will turn heads at the beach.
This is more than enough to develop your abdominal muscles to a pristine state. Remember that you are training them every time you do squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups! Your muscles also need time to rest and develop properly. Destroying them every time you train is not needed and it’s counterproductive to muscular development.
The Best Ab Exercises
I already talked about resistance being a crucial factor in muscle development and weight loss, and the abs are no different. One of the reasons that doing 200 crunches every day is not useful in terms of muscular development or fat loss is because it offers no meaningful resistance.
In the beginning it’s hard but once you can do the 200, it will be easy and it will not challenge your body to adapt and grow.
Crunches are great for when you are starting out, but once you have some strength you need to do abdominal exercises that offer more resistance so that your midsection keeps developing.
Some of the best ab exercises are the ones where you have to curl your lower body up while you are hanging on a bar. This type of exercise provides more resistance and a broader range of motion that uses the abdominal muscles to their full extent.
The best ab exercises are the ones that are initiated with your lower body curling. If you are just starting your workouts you can use easier ab exercises but only after you have used all your energy on the harder exercises. It is enough to do 2 exercises for 3 sets.
The repetitions should be low so keep them in the 8 to 12 range. These exercises are not that hard to do if you have been in the gym for a while, so you have to add some resistance by hanging weight on your legs. That way you are always pushing the limits and developing your ab muscles.
By adding weight and keeping your reps low you are always giving more resistance to the muscles and this is what help muscles become stronger and grow bigger. Keep this in mind and don’t fall in the trap of doing 200 crunches, which don’t offer enough resistance or results for a trained body.