Getting the perfect pair of abs is no easy task; it requires hard work and determination. But at the same time, it isn’t exactly the kind of rocket science that most body building websites make it out to be. As long you go into it with a goal-oriented mindset and the drive to carry it out, you can get six pack abs!
Many people think that exercise is the only way to achieve that six-pack abs, but that is not true at all.
Losing weight and burning fat are not necessarily the same processes, although they certainly are similar. A legitimate fat loss plan will almost always have you losing a certain amount of weight, however, an improper weight loss plan will not have you burning as much fat as you would desire, and you won’t end up with six pack abs.
Attempting to strictly lose weight without proper training can leave your body looking different than what you may have hoped to achieve, making it even more difficult to achieve your dream body than it may have already seemed.
You can do sit-ups and crunches until the cows come home, but without a true fat loss and muscle building plan you’ll never get that look that you want for your abs.
To see six pack abs on yourself, the abdominal muscles of the body need to be near the surface of the skin.
This means taking out all the layer of fat over those muscles.
Exercise can help you lose the extra pounds and will also go a long way to making your abdominal muscles strong, but without a proper diet, you’ll never be able to see the six abs that you have worked for.
Keep reading below to learn more about how to get abs fast, and the steps you can make to get six pack abs!
How to Get Six Packs Abs
Before you can get started on getting your 6-pack abs, you need to know how they are actually formed. Getting abs is just not impressive, but is also the sign of a strong person.
Like most muscle mass, abs are formed by exercising them to induce tears in your muscles which are regrown with protein.
You’ll need a proper six pack workout along with a diet full of protein and other healthy foods for proper results.
Although you might think that doing sit-ups or crunches are enough, you are going to need more than only those two exercises to get the abs you want. In fact, you are going to want to use a variety of alternatives to crunches so that you can develop the entire scope of your abdominal muscles, and you will want to train your entire body to build muscle mass everywhere.
Keep reading below for more information on how to get a six pack!
Basic Keys to Burning Abdominal Fat & Getting a 6 Pack
One of the primary keys to losing body fat and building a body that you love to look at each morning is to make sure that you incorporate a certain amount of weight training in to your weekly routine.
According to Become a Personal Trainer, doing cardio and maintaining a healthy diet are important for burning fat and losing weight, but without a consistent approach to weight training your overall “shape” will probably not improve as much as you had previously hoped.
Although it is mostly true that you cannot “spot burn” fat from your midsection (although do it yourself cryolipolysis accomplishes this task in a way), there are ways to adequately shape this region of your body.
One excellent way to develop your abdominal muscles is to perform abdominal exercises before you do your daily cardio or weight training.
The concept behind this is that you will essentially “heat up” these muscles, allowing your body to burn fat from this region more preferentially.
This is certainly a benefit you can take advantage of!
No, this does not mean that doing 500 sit-ups per day will give you a 6 pack.
However, it does mean that if you are consistently consuming less calories than you burn, and you are training consistently, you can make some sort of direct impact on your midsection. However, this is just one aspect of getting a 6 pack.
Doing ab exercises is the fundamental aspect of getting a 6 pack, but there are many more things you must know as well!
(Six Pack) Abs Are Made in the Kitchen – What This Quote Really Means!
The old saying “You are what you eat” plays an important role in achieving six pack abs.
It seems that this quote is posted all over the internet these days, but it still remains true.
To obtain six pack abs, a dedicated training with proper nutrition is a must. Not all foods are equal when it comes to reducing belly fat, as some cause problems others don’t.
When you hear someone say that abs are made in the kitchen, it is 100% true!
Abs most definitely are made in the kitchen, there’s no doubt about it. When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s the 80/20 rule.
80% of your results are made in the kitchen, 20% of your results are made in the gym.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that you can stop exercising entirely, because that’s a big piece of the pie. However, if you’re stuck and not losing any weight, the first place that you should look is at your diet.
You can go to the gym for 6 hours a day, but if you’re still consuming more calories than you burn, it’s not going to matter.
Now, let’s say that you’re keeping a close eye on the amount of calories that you take in, you’re in a calorie deficit, but you’re still not getting the results that you want. What next? You need to take a look at the actual food that you’re eating.
If what you’re eating consists primarily of foods that are unhealthy, process, low in nutritional value foods, then you’re not going to see optimal results.
This is where the 80/20 rule applies once again.
80% of what you eat should be healthy foods, while you can use the other 20% to indulge a little bit.
The general idea is that you should consume foods that are high in protein, contain valuable micronutrients, and are as natural and organic as possible. Avoid processed and sugary foods, and choose foods which are generally considered healthy.
There are tons of options for you to choose from, but you need to choose which fit best into your lifestyle. However, the golden rule is to consume less calories than you burn per day, otherwise you will maintain or increase your body fat and you will never see your six pack.
Misconceptions About Dieting to Build Perfect Abs
More often than not, people tend to think that they’re eating healthy, when in reality they’re not.
To get abs as quickly as possible, it’s important that we stay on track and be honest with ourselves.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that you can think of at least one thing that you’ve eaten recently that you know was a bad decision.
Am I right?
I know I am. It’s always that one snack that keeps tripping you up on your diet, your weakness.
Now, you may be thinking, “one snack isn’t going to set me back that much.” However, if you aren’t careful, it certainly will. That extra 150-300 calories every day adds up quickly.
You shouldn’t punish yourself for a bad decision every once in a while, but you certainly should be conscious about all of your choices.
Be honest with yourself about your diet. If you have that “weakness” in your house right now, throw in in the garbage, and don’t buy more of it!
Your progress, and your abs will be determined by what is in your kitchen.
Keep it clean.
At least 80% of what you eat should be what are commonly considered as “healthy” foods. You get out what you put in, I’m sure you’ve heard that saying before. Give your body what it needs, and you won’t be disappointed!
Foods to Avoid for Getting Six Pack Abs Fast Naturally
I mentioned a few of these foods before, but here are some more specifics on foods which you should certainly avoid to get six pack abs fast!
The consumption of sugar and carbohydrates has the strongest association with fat gain. Sugar sweetened beverages are the worst because they result in an even quicker intake of sugar that sugary foods. According to one study,
“Higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a greater magnitude of weight gain and an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes in women, possibly by providing excessive calories and large amounts of rapidly absorbable sugars.”
For the most part, the sweeter a food is, the more fattening it will be. Sugar causes fat gain by creating a spike in your blood sugar levels, and if you are accessing too much of sugar, insulin calls on the liver to take up the excess.
Sugar is something that gives you calories without providing vitamins and minerals. Avoid candy, sugary foods, sugar sweetened beverages, and any food or drink that is high in sugar if you want to get a 6 pack.
“Junk food” is great in taste, but it provides no nutrition at all and it contains elevated levels of sugar, salt, and fat. Also, junk foods are not an effective way to fuel the kind of workouts that are essential to tone your muscles and develop your abs. This is because of the increase in blood sugar.
Avoid foods like crackers, chips, cookies, pasta, pizza and ice cream as much as you can.
According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics,
“The top contributors of added sugar and solid fat from each location were similar: sugar-sweetened beverages, grain desserts, and high-fat milk∗ from stores; high-fat milk, grain desserts, and pizza from schools; and sugar-sweetened beverages, dairy desserts, french fries, and pizza from fast-food restaurants.”
A little of them is fine but having too much of them will make it impossible to achieve the abs.
Salad dressing may make your salad taste good because of the combination of fat and salt, but it is not suitable for anyone who is working hard to get abdominal muscles. If you can, add only olive oil and vinegar on your salad, and you will significantly reduce the amount of calories you are in-taking!
If you can’t have salads without some form of dressing on it, then avoid ones that contain saturated fats and dairy products.
Instead, look for ones that include vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey or lemon juice.
Alcohol contains loads of calories and contributes to a slower metabolism.
According to a study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
“Heavy alcohol intake (≥ 30 g/d) contributes directly to weight gain and obesity, irrespective of the type of alcohol consumed.”
Drinking alcohol is usually done when you are eating, and let’s accept it; many people don’t make the best decisions when they drink. Alcohol is often served at locations that provide processed food, fried food and sugar. Also, the hangover that occurs as well will limit your activity the next day.
However, if you can control yourself and drink only red wine before bed or 1 drink a couple of times per week, alcohol intake will not destroy your chance at getting a six pack.
According to a study published by the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine,
“Children who drank the most milk gained more weight, but the added calories appeared responsible. Contrary to our hypotheses, dietary calcium and skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not. Drinking large amounts of milk may provide excess energy to some children.”
Dairy milk generally contains high amounts of calories, hormones, and antibiotics, and this combination can change the chemistry of your body and increase fat mass rather than burning it. Look for plant-based milk made from cashews, almonds, hemp, or coconut instead.
Best Core Exercises for a Six Pack Abs
Although you can’t get a six pack just by doing a lot of core exercises, doing core exercises is necessary for getting a 6 pack.
However, it’s important you include a variety of abdominal or core exercises into your 6 pack abs workout program, and not just situps and crunches. Sit ups and crunches are probably the most well-known abdominal exercises in the world, but they definitely are not the most effective.
Your abdominal muscles are not meant only for flexion and extension of the spine, and should be trained much more thoroughly than this. Isometric ab exercises such as the forearm plank or the high-plank are excellent for increasing your body’s ability to burn fat in the abdominals because they strengthen and builds core muscles in a complete way.
Sit-ups and crunches are not nearly as effective as these exercises because they only work the “front” part of your abdominals. Planks are a much more comprehensive abdominal movement, and will surely provide you with the type of results that you are looking for.
Check out the exercises below for a wide range of abdominal exercises that will get a 6 pack!
The high plank may seem to be just the starting position of a push-up, but it is actually a comprehensive abdominal exercise, with many intense variations!
The high plank is an excellent exercise to improve shoulder stability, as well as strengthen the full scope of your core muscles.
Variations of the high plank include mountain climbers, lifting either one hand or one foot, adding weight on to your back, or performing the plank on an instability device.
Further variations are possible as well, but these are just some beginner movements for you to work on!
High planks should be mastered before you move on to any more technically difficult exercises to ensure that you have sufficient back strength and control over your abdominal muscles, in order to protect yourself from injury.
Although it is more commonly thought of as a lower body exercise, the glute bridge is an excellent exercise for strengthening your transverse abdominal muscles, and helping you to achieve proper standing posture.
One of the fundamental issues with exercises such as sit ups and crunches is that they are constantly putting your neck and spine in to a straining motion.
Especially if you are a person who consistently performs these exercise, glute bridges are necessary to balance out the mechanics of your body.
Glute bridges can be enhanced by performing them unilaterally, with your feet raised to an elevated position, or with your feet on an instability device such as a physio ball.
Here are a few couple of glute bridge variations:
Physio Ball Glute Bridge
Single Leg Glute Bridge (on bench)
Forearm Side Plank
Many people believe that side-to-side crunches or “Russian twists” are the best exercises for your oblique’s, but both exercises place huge amounts of strain on your spine.
If you are looking for V-shaped abdominal muscles and a solid core, forearm side planks are the way to go.
Isometric exercises are proven over and over to be incredible for building abdominal strength, and a functionally useful core.
Holding a forearm side plank for 45 seconds or more will definitely have you feeling strong, but there are more advanced variations as well. You can advance this movement by lifting your top leg off the ground, holding a dumbbell over your head for additional weight, or playing around with various instability devices.
Here’s an example of a very advanced forearm side plank variation:
Heavy carries are possibly the number one exercise for building a strong, shredded, and functional core; and could be the only core movement you need to perform.
In fact, you could even think of all of these other movements as accessory movements to the farmer’s carry! Farmer’s carry force almost (literally) every muscle in your body to contract, as you carefully carry a heavy object for a certain distance and amount of time.
You can alternate the amount of distance you move the weight, with the amount of weight, to give your core new and exciting challenges.
You can also off-set the weight on your body by holding more weight on one side than the other, or by holding no weight on one side at all. These variations are definitely for the more advanced trainee, but they will absolutely smoke your core muscles!
One last “core” exercise is not exactly a core-specific movement at all, but it will shred your midsection in no-time!
Have you ever seen a sprinter without a 6 pack of shredded abs? No?
Well neither have we!
Sprinting should never be done without a thorough warm-up, and there is rarely a need to sprint for more than 95% of your maximum power.
Sprints of between 50 and 400 meters put an incredible amount of torque on your core muscles, forcing you to contract and control your abdominals with every stride.
Add in a few sets of sprints 1 or 2 times per week and you will quickly see a difference in your physique!
Recommended Reading: Sprint Workouts for Weight Loss
People often think that pull up is the exercise for back and biceps and it certainly is. If done correctly, no kipping, no hip hinges and no flailing legs, pull-ups also require the core strength.
Hold a bar with a grip that is wider than the shoulder width. Pull the shoulder down and back, bend the legs across, cross your legs, squeeze your butt and brace the abs. Pull yourself up until the collarbone reaches the bar. Return to the same position.
Sets: 3, Reps without failure and rest 2 minutes between sets.
Picking up a ball that has weight requires the posterior chain to fire like in a clean or deadlift. When you get the ball downward, make sure to fire your core hard while hinging at hips.
Gran a light weight ball and hold above your head. Throw the ball downwards at the ground as hard as you can. Be careful and bounce back.
Sets: 3, Reps: 20; rest 1 minute between the sets.
You can also add some movement into the exercise as well, like here:
This exercise works for your entire body. You need to work out the abs a lot to sustain tension out of the weight.
Wedge the one end of a barbell in the corner of two walls or use the landmine attachment. Lift the barbell by the other end and hold it on your chest. Press the barbell from your chest with both hands. Keeping the arms straight, rotate from shoulders to one side, then vice versa. Return to the same position.
Sets: 3, Reps: 10 on each side and rest 2 minutes between the sets.
This is the most challenging abs exercise that forces your entire core to hold as you move your legs from one side to another and it also hits the oblique.
Lie down on the floor flat and raise your legs until 90-degree bend at hips. Keep your legs straight and perhaps lower them to the right. Return legs to an upright position and then lower to the left. Repeat until all reps are performed.
Sets: 4, Reps: 10 to each side and rest 1 minute between sets.
Focus on your abs to do all the work.
5 Fitness Products That Will Help You Achieve Six-Pack Abs
Although there are tons of core exercises that don’t require any equipment, there are definitely a few products which you can use to help yourself get six pack abs.
The fitness industry is full of innovation, and new products are always being marketed as the best solutions to deliver six pack abs. Truthfully, a machine is not the only thing that can give you a six-pack, but a few tools can help you get the abs you need.
Take a look at these five types of ab workout equipment because they can help you to get great results in a short time!
See Also: Total Gym Workout Exercises
Abdominal Workout Chair – Ab Lounge Ultra
Abdominal workout chairs are used to tone and stretch the lower and upper ab muscles and oblique’s.
A great product from this category is the Ab Lounge Ultra. It has a unique design that supports the head, the neck, and the back to avoid adding pressure to the wrong areas as you perform ab workouts.
The Ab Lounge Ultra has an Iso-Grip and Focus padded strap handles to support several hand positions respective to the exercise. It also has a rolled steel frame to support weights of up to 250 pounds.
The machine also has a mesh seat material and a footprint that is fold-able to carry and store it easily.
For more details on this product, check out this Ab Lounge Ultra review by Fitness Tech Pro.
Adjustable Sit-up Bench
Ab benches are an old type of fitness equipment that are easy to find.
The current ones are adjustable, which allows one to increase and decrease the board’s angle; which makes it possible to change the resistance.
There are different exercises that can be done besides sit-ups on an adjustable sit-up bench. For instance, leg raising, crunches, twists, etc.
It is important to purchase a sit up machine that is wide and long for you to avoid any injuries and strains. Here is a great option:
The ab wheel is one of the best ab fitness products that can train the abdominal muscles plus the back, arms, and shoulders. The ab wheel can allow you to perform a great core workout, and it is an inexpensive piece of equipment.
The ab wheel is perfect equipment for upper and lower abs training.
Here is a cheap and effective ab wheel you can purchase:
If you desire to have a slim waist, you will need to work on your lower back.
If you have a strong lower back, you will be able to perform more types of exercises and avoid pain. Apart from the hyperextension move, there are a few more advanced core workouts that you can work on using the roman chair.
For beginners, a big mistake comes when they focus only on the abdominal muscles and avoid the lower back.
This tends to bring about lower back pains, poor posture, and increases the chances of having injuries in the lower body. If you would like to purchase a roman chair, this is a great option:
Pull Up Bars
As I said before, pullups are one of the best exercises for getting six pack abs. However, they aren’t the only exercise you can do with a set of pull up bars at your house. There are several ab exercises which can be done to train the oblique’s and abdominals using pull up bars.
For example, knee raises and hanging leg raises are incredibly effective exercises for developing your abs..
There are 2 different types of pulllup bars that you can use at home; a mounted pull up bar or a power tower.
If you want to purely focus on abs, the mounted pull-up bar is efficient, but if you want to do other forms of exercises, then the power tower is the best option.
I suggest this option:
Additional Rules for Getting Abs
Work on the Whole Unit
Although you might be trying to get a 6 pack, abs are not everything. Don’t sacrifice the health of your body for what you think will get you a 6-pack.
Fortunately, working on your abdominals, lower back, and obliques prevents imbalances and will help you improve your body in a variety of ways when done correctly.
Cortisol, the stress hormone increases belly fat. If you are stressed, you won’t be able to reduce your body fat enough to see your abs.
There are many ways you can reduce stress in your life. The main thing you can do is find ways to sleep more and better each day.
If you drink a lot of caffeine, try cutting down. You can drink green tea before your workout, but avoid caffeine at other times of the day.
Train with the Anti-Movements
Your core does the best work when resisting the movement. Therefore, advanced core training focuses on the anti-movements. When you have developed strength with the core exercises listed above, you can truly develop an amazing set of six-pac abs with anti-rotation movements.
Eat Better and Not Less
We talked about diet before, but I wanted to make another point of it. When talking about food, calories are less important than the quality. Although you must remain in a calorie deficit to lose weight and body fat, the quality of food will determine your long-term success.
Invest in your body and you will get the results you want!