A six pack is one of those fitness signifiers that people dream of - but the secret is is that it’s not so hard to achieve. While you might think the secret to washboard abs are 5,000 situps a day, the truth is that you are probably closer than you think towards your dream of a chiselled stomach.
While ab exercises are certainly important, it’s an all-round holistic approach to fitness that will bring your stomach to the fore. Equal parts discipline, gym work and taking care of what you eat will have you ripping off your shirt in public in no time. This is how to get abs.
You are what you eat
Abs aren’t made in the weight room, they’re made in the kitchen. You can spend every hour under the sun working out, but if you get home and chow down on two cheeseburgers and a milkshake you’re not going to see the results you want. You have to bring the same level of commitment and foresight to your diet as you do to your training.
Protein is very important when you’re trying to get six pack abs. Use our calculation to find out how much you should be eating every day (hint: it’s not what you think or what you’ve heard elsewhere). Innermost’s protein powders are a must when you’re on a journey to get a six pack. Our The Strong Protein is formulated to maximise muscle growth, strength and power output, so it will help you on the road to making gains.
It can be useful to eat small but regular meals throughout the day, instead of packing all your calories into a couple of sittings. Cutting down on sugar and highly processed foods is also helpful, and you should make sure you're properly hydrated and are drinking plenty of water, which helps to control hunger cravings.
Work all your muscles
If you’re trying to get six pack abs, it would be helpful to work primarily on the muscles in your stomach, right? Wrong. Muscle is the primary way that your body burns fat, so working every muscle in your body is what’s going to boost your metabolism and reveal those abs.
Leg day isn’t a day wasted in your pursuit to be a man with a six pack, because when you train your legs you’re also training your core. Research from Syracuse University showed that people burned more calories the day after a lower-body resistance session than the day after they worked their upper bodies.
This approach means that you need to work out only three or four days a week to elevate your metabolism for the entire week. So focus on exercises and movements that work multiple areas, such as squats and deadlifts.
Don’t do too many crunches
Finally, you can breathe a sigh of relief. All those hours lying on your back on a sweaty, smelly gym floor are behind you - well, kind of. Doing a lot of crunches, while impressive, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a strong core. Instead, crunches and situps work the muscles that allow you to flex your spine. So you should be working on the muscles that allow your torso to rotate and brace, as well as those which flex your spine.
The plank is one of the best exercises for this (which we’re sure you’ll be thrilled to hear). It’s simple and effective - and anyone can do it. To maximise its six pack-revealing potential, focus on aligning your spine and keeping your core and glutes squeezed tight to activate every possible muscle. Mountain climbers and other similar exercises are also very effective. However, remember that ab-specific work should be five to 10 minutes of focused effort at the end of your workout, as opposed to the entire goal.
Don’t do too much cardio
First cut down on your ab exercises and now reduce your cardio? Bet that’s not what you thought we were going to say. If you’re time-crunched (and who isn’t?) and don’t have hours a day to devote to working out, you want to maximise the results that you can see in a 30-40 minute session. And that means lifting.
The goal when trying to get a six pack is to get stronger. A study from the University of Southern Maine found that weight-training exercise burns as many calories as running at a six minute mile pace for the same amount of time. Every second you’re lifting weights, your body is expending large amounts of energy. This is where your impressively ripped stomach will come from. The idea is to force your body to gain strength and build up new muscle tissue.
You heard it here first - abs are easier to get than you think. And the less time you spend doing crunches the better, in our eyes. We have no doubt that next time you step foot onto a beach, you’ll be a man with a six pack.