A set of total six pack abs is the mark of someone who is in great physical shape.
We have all seen the movie 300 where Leonidas, king of Sparta leads his small army of warriors against Persia. If you have seen it then you would have noticed their shredded midsections.
Now while I doubt these ancient fighters were doing crunches and counting their calories, no one can argue that it didn’t look awesome.
The confidence that a six pack can give you is unbeatable. It really is one of the cheapest ways to create a better feeling about yourself. All that it requires is self-discipline and a bit of grit to get there.
A six pack can come to some easier than others depending on genetic makeup. Some people hold less fat around their midsection and more around, say their back.
The vast majority of men hold a lot of fat around their midsection which makes attaining a set of sick pack abs more difficult, but not impossible. There are those who hold less body fat naturally than others and as a result will have an easier time getting lean.
This means that they could easily hold a set of six pack abs year round without even trying. Others would find that challenging as they struggle to maintain a low body fat for that length of time.
Everyone has the same muscles on their body. Therefore everyone has the rectus abdominis muscles commonly known as the sick pack. The difference is some individuals have more muscle and less fat which leads to the greater visibility to create that total six pack abs look.
Dispelling the myths around getting total six pack abs
You cannot spot reduce fat on a body. Meaning that it is impossible to target fat loss on a specific body part over all others.
There are no foods to lose belly fat which magically burn off fat to give you a tight midsection, sorry to disappoint. If there was foods to lose belly fat don’t you think everyone would be eating them? The only time you hear of these foods is on cheap infomercials.
There is no mystical workout to lose belly fat either. If you are want to workout to lose belly fat then you just need to workout, simple.
All you can do is reduce body fat in total. It varies from person to person where fat is lost in the beginning of a fat loss phase. Some lose fat on their arms first and for others it is there back.
It is quite common for the stomach area to be one of the last areas for fat loss to occur – known by some as ‘stubborn belly fat’.
If body fat is consistently being reduced , eventually stomach fat will begin to be lost and the abs will begin to show. This is why to get a true six pack, getting down to approximately 10% body fat is needed
So now a few myths are dispelled we can move onto how to actually get a set of total six pack abs.
To obtain the look there are a few key things that need to be in order:
- You must be at a sufficiently low body fat (10-12%) for your abs to show = weight loss
- Your abs must have enough muscle built up to look good = ab exercises
How fat loss occurs
If you are already at a low body fat then great. That just means you have less work to do. But if you are someone who knows they are overweight then fear not, I have the solution.
To lose weight you need to be in a consistent calorie deficit. This means you need to be eating less calories than you burn throughout the day.
To get to a low body fat this deficit needs to be consistent over an extended period of time, say 12 weeks. This may take longer or shorter depending on how much fat you are holding at the moment.
“How do I do that?”
Easy, eat less and move more.
To complete the look, the ab muscles must be built up. There is no point in losing all of that fat to have nothing underneath to show for it.
People once thought the full ab muscle functioned as one but a recent study showed that there is separation between the upper and lower portion.
This means there are different exercises to target each area to create the total six pack abs workouts for everyone. By targeting each individual area you will be ensuring that you obtain a set total six pack abs.
EMG activation studies can show us which exercises give the best activation of the ab muscles in the gym. Six pack abs workouts should allow your abs to flourish with the right consistency.
The best exercises for targeting the upper abdominal muscles:
- Reverse crunches at 30 degrees
- Ab wheel roll-out
- Hanging knee raises
The best exercises for targeting the lower abs:
- Hanging leg raises
- Power wheel pike
Abs are no different from any other muscle group in that they need to have an increased stimulus to grow. This means the muscle must be progressively overloaded with more weight (intensity), reps or volume (sets x reps).
Often with abs an increase in the range of motion will be enough to increase the intensity. For example, with the ab wheel roll out, going from half range of motion to the full range of motion with each rep will increase the intensity. This will be sufficient for growth if progressive overload is occurring.
Performing big compound movements like the squat and deadlift will also help to bring up your ab muscles. These movements require a high degree of core bracing to ensure the lifts are performed correctly. They should be performed in conjunction with the ab exercises listed as they are not enough alone to create a set of total six pack abs.
How to perform these exercises:
- Pick 1-2 exercises for the upper abs section and 1 exercise from the lower abs section
- Perform these movements 2-3x per week at the end of your session once all your heavy work is done.
- Rep range of 6-15 reps for 3-4 sets
Maintaining the look
Once your abs have been built up to a good amount, you can start to scale back the exercises. It shouldn’t be difficult to maintain abs with a couple of focused exercises every week.
Diet is essential for maintaining a low body fat level. There is no point in putting in all that hard work to only slack off and go back to your old ways again.
Not everyone needs to keep a six pack all year round unless you are getting paid to do so. As I said before it is easier for some than others to maintain this level of leanness. Many report feeling sluggish and low energy at the level of body fat required.
There is no point in feeling like trash constantly for the sake of a few admirers. Cutting down for a holiday which is temporary is more realistic for someone who cannot get lean effortlessly. Anything below 10% body fat and your hormones may begin to suffer as well so be careful.
There you have it. Your bulletproof (not the stupid coffee) plan to getting and maintaining a six pack.
Thanks for reading,
P.S Leave a comment down below to let me know what you think. What is your favourite ab exercise?