The Two Essentials for 6 Pack Abs
There are two sides to getting 6 pack abs:
1. You need to have low body fat
2. Your ab muscles need to be decently developed
Having only one or the other doesn’t cut it. You need to have both at the same time.
If you have well developed abs but they are covered in fat you don’t see anything. On the other hand if you have a very low body fat but little to no muscle development you just look skinny and thin.
The key is to combine the two. That’s when you get a clearly defined 6 pack that looks awesome.
the majority of people need to do both – lose some fat while training for muscle growth.
Can you spot reduce belly fat?
Please don’t fall for the idea that you can reduce your belly fat by doing special ab exercises.
When you lose fat you lose it from your entire body not only from the areas that you work. Since fatty acids are taken from the bloodstream to be burned for energy, the proximity of body fat to the working muscle is irrelevant.
People seem to confuse fat breakdown with fat oxidation. The study that gave birth to all this spot reduction controversy actually showed that fat breakdown was greater in fat depots adjacent to working muscles compared to distant muscles. Getting your abs to show comes down to reducing your overall body fat percentage, you can’t spot reduce.
This leads to two very good questions: How lean do you need to be to have good ab definition? and How much muscle mass you need to have a 6 pack when you’re lean?
How Lean do you Need to be to Have Good Ab Definition?
You need to be under 15% body fat – with decent muscle development of course. 15% body fat is the point where you have a very blurry 4pack in good lighting while flexing your abs very hard. As you get leaner, your abs start to show better and better. 10% body fat I found to be the point where you see a blurry 6pack in good lighting even without flexing. And at 6-7% body fat you have veins running across your abs.
Now, the best way I found to estimate body fat percentage is through your waist measurement at the navel. For the majority of people, the waist circumference correlates with their body fat percentage. If you compare your waist measurement with your height you can usually estimate body fat pretty accurately.
So let’s now see how much core development you need to have to get a 6 pack when you are lean.
How Much muscle Mass you Need for a 6 pack when you’re Lean?
You don’t need much actually. If when you touch your belly you can feel your abs, then all you need to do reveal them is to get lean.
there are guys that cannot achieve 6 pack abs only by leaning down. They are usually young guys who never played sports and are mostly sedentary. They have too little muscle mass. Even if they did lean down to 7% body fat their abs will not show.
So what they need to do is to build some muscle first. Then, after they’ve built a solid base of strength and size they could diet down and get abs.
At this point people usually ask: Ok then so what ab exercises should I do?
Well, I don’t think ab exercises alone will be enough. You see, the abdominal muscles grow in relation with the rest of the body. I don’t think it’s possible to develop them on their own.
So I think if you don’t have enough muscle mass to support a 6 pack your best strategy is to start strength training. If you get strong on the main exercises at the gym it’s impossible not to develop your abs as well.
Of course you’re going to be doing direct ab training as well. That certainly helps. But you need to remember than ab training alone will probably not do much if you don’t get muscular everywhere else.
Ok, now before we move on to the ab routines and nutrition strategies, there is one more thing we need to talk about. What is the ideal first step for YOU.
The First Steps YOU need to take
To make it perfectly clear what YOU need to do, I want to give you the overall roadmap you need to follow. For that let’s review the physique categories beginners can find themselves in:
1. Fat with very little muscle development
2. Fat with good muscle development
3. Average (average body fat and little muscle development)
4. Skinny-Fat (average body fat and very little muscle)
5. Skinny (low body fat and very little muscle)
If you are in the categories Average, Fat with very little or Fat with good muscle development, the first step for you is to cut down to around 10% body fat. During this time you need to train for strength at the gym. This process will probably give you abs in and of itself.
If you’re in the Skinny-Fat or Skinny categories then you need to build some more muscle before you can have a 6 pack.
How long it will take for you to reach your goal depends on how much body fat you need to lose and how much muscle you need to gain. you could get a 6 pack in 5 weeks. On the other hand if you have 40lbs of fat to lose, it may take 5 months. You’ll have to follow the process and see how it goes.
The Training Routine
1. Hanging Leg Raises
This is one of the most efficient ab exercises in my opinion. I like ab exercises that have you raise your legs instead of your torso because they probably work the lower abs better.nHips to shoulder flexion, or abdominal exercises that have you bringing your hips toward your shoulders such as reverse crunches, activate higher levels of lower RA than upper RA.”
Most people have pretty well developed upper abs because crunching is a movement we do everyday – like getting out of bed. But almost everyone complains about their lower abs not being well developed. Leg raises may help you bring up the lower abs.
If you can’t do these yet, start with just knee raises and build up from there.
I like doing 2 or 3 sets of 10-15 reps for these.
2. Ab wheel rollouts
This is another exercise I like because it’s difficult. Apparently this can strengthen your TVA, your deep abdominals and help tighten your core so your belly doesn’t stick out that much.
I like doing 3 sets of 6-10 reps.
3. Side to Side Knee ups
I like doing this exercise because it can help develop the external part of your obliques which give you those V lines in your lower abs. It is very difficult to target those muscles and I always feel them working when performing this movement.
Do these for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
And at the end of the workout finish off with some sort of bridge. You can do hip bridges if you find them easier. The idea is to stretch the lower back muscles which can become tight when doing ab exercises.
And that’s it. 4 exercises are all you need. As I said training the abs directly doesn’t deliver as much as you’d think but it can make a noticeable difference.
You can set up your routine two ways:
You can do all these 4 exercises one after the other 3 times a week or you can do 2 of them after each workout. Both options work very well.
So this is it guys. Everything you need to know about getting abs. 90% of it comes down to being lean and the rest of it to having good muscle development.
Thank you for reading the article until the end and if you have any questions make sure to leave a comment below. I’m going to answer as many comments as I can.
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