How to Get a Six Pack
Today, I'm going to answer a question that was submitted by a reader.
“I just want to know how to get a six pack quickly and easily to impress the girls,” he wrote. “Please help me!”
Other than liposuction, there's no quick and easy way to get a six pack. It boils down to a combination of good nutrition, regular exercise and — if you have a lot of fat to lose — a hefty dose of persistence.
To see your six pack, you need two things:
* A well-developed rectus abdominis.
* Low levels of subcutaneous (under the skin) fat.
Rectus abdominis, which is the six pack muscle, extends down the stomach from your ribs to your hips.
The six pack look is the result of bands of connective tissue that "cut" into rectus abdominis. The more developed the rectus abdominis muscle, the deeper the grooves.
You’ve probably been told on more than one occasion that to see your abs, you need to have a low level of bodyfat. But that’s only part of the story. You also need to BUILD rectus abdominis in order to get a real six pack.
Here’s what fat loss troubleshooter Leigh Peele has to say on the subject:
“Although it’s true that you need to achieve a low level of body fat in order to see abdominal definition, you’ll still need to do more than just lose fat. If you don’t believe me, I invite you to watch the Christian Bale movie The Machinist. Bale lost 63 pounds to play the cadaverous lead role, and he doesn’t have a six pack. He looks like he’s about to croak."
"If you want to see Bale with a six pack," Peele adds, "you’ll have to watch American Psycho or either of his Batman movies, all movies for which he did an enormous amount of training to prepare."
"If you want a six pack, you’ll need to build up those muscles, too. Think of it like a sheet on a bed. If that sheet is lying on the mattress, it’ll look flat. But if you slip a bag of potatoes underneath the sheet, you’ll see the bumps.”
But at the risk of repeating myself, you will NOT get a decent set of abs with abdominal exercises ALONE. You MUST reduce your bodyfat so you don't have a layer of blubber hiding your six pack. Don't waste your time trying to trim the inches from your waist by crunching them away.
Judging by the sheer number of e-mails I get from people wanting to know the “best” exercises for burning fat from their stomach, this is a fundamental truth that most people don't want to hear.
No matter how well developed your abdominal muscles are, you won't see anything if there's a layer of fat filling in the gaps.
You don't need hours of abdominal exercises. But you need to combine BOTH proper diet AND training to develop a decent set of abs. And it's really not that complicated.
I've covered what to eat and how to exercise so many times you're probably fed up with me going on about it, so lets take a closer look at how to work the abs.
Assuming you're following a decent resistance-training program, which is going to hit at least some of the muscles making up your "core," these are the exercises that will build and strengthen your abs and help you get a six pack.
With a Swiss Ball, loaded barbell or a Power Wheel in front of you, kneel down on the floor. Take your knees off the floor and straighten your legs. In this position, only your toes should be in contact with the floor. Push the ball forwards as far as possible, pause for a second, and then return to the start position. Studies show that roll-outs are a great way to work rectus abdominis .
Although the Renegade Row looks nothing like a traditional abdominal exercise, your abs (as well as a number of other muscles) have to work very hard to keep your torso stable and rigid.
Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart. If you find the exercise too difficult, move your feet further apart, which serves to increase your stability. As you get stronger, you can move the feet closer together.
Just before lifting your arm off the floor you’ll want to "brace" the abdominals as hard as you can. This involves tightening the abdominal muscles as if you're about to take a punch in the gut.
You don't need to use kettlebells. The Renegade Row can be done using dumbbells, but make sure to use either hex-shaped dumbbells or Powerblocks, so they don't roll out from under you.
Start with your feet roughly shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Press the cable out until your arms are fully extended in front of you.
From there, you’ll want to "brace" the abdominals as hard as you can. This involves tightening the abdominal muscles as if you're about to take a punch in the gut.
Bracing your abs during the exercise is really important, as this has been shown to increase muscle activation , making your abs work harder and giving you better results.
Aim for a total of 3-5 repetitions per set, holding for around 5 seconds each time. Be sure to do at least one set on both sides.
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Christian FinnChristian Finn holds a master's degree in exercise science, is a certified personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest and other popular fitness magazines.
... I have tried the stability ball workout with Cathes Core Max, except she rolls out from a kneeling position... I am going to try this one and let you know how I do... Prayers and positive "karma" are all welcome