Having a well defined six pack is the goal of many, as it portrays strength, endurance, health, and athleticism. As with any goal, we must have a clear understanding on the strategy required to obtain the goal, and have the desire and dedication to realise the goal. Getting a six pack is not impossible for the majority of people, but it will require work. Some, especially young people with an already athletic build, may find obtaining a six pack easier than an older person who is carrying excess weight. That said; let’s take a look at how to get a six pack.
The actual muscle which people refer to as the six pack is called the “rectus abdominis”. It is a long flat muscle with tendinous inscriptions; visible as the bumps which compose the so called “six pack”. There are two main aspects to achieving a visible six pack – 1) having development of the abdominal muscles, and 2) having low enough body fat levels to be able to see the muscle definition through the skin.
Low body fat levels are achieved through dietary intake and exercise. Performing abdominal exercises will prove near useless in attempting to spot reduce body fat from the stomach. Focus should be placed on overall fat loss via a calorie deficient diet, with the implementation of cardiovascular exercise to further expend calories. Calories intake would be best steadily reduced, with the reduction in serving sizes, and not the exclusion of certain food types such as dietary fats.
Starving the body is not the solution, as this is unhealthy, unproductive in the long run as the body holds onto body fat in the starvation environment, and counterproductive to building a six pack which requires nutrients for muscle growth. The number of calories consumed will depend on current activity levels, as well as current body weight and composition. If you wish to lose body fat, try increasing activity levels by performing several cardiovascular sessions per week. Calorie intake could also be gradually reduced by decreasing serving sizes, although the best policy would be to monitor the results and alter the cardio and diet as required. Ensure optimal levels of dietary fats, carbohydrates, protein, and micronutrients are consumed in regular intervals during the day.
The other battle in obtaining a six pack is the growth of the abdominal muscle tissue. This is commonly achieved via abdominal exercises, such as crunches. Although the rectus abdominis is composed of a high percentage of slower twitch fibres, it would be wise to train the abdominals within a repetition range suitable for muscle growth. This would typically be a repetition range of between 8-15 repetitions, which is argued to be optimal for muscle hypertrophy (growth).
The abdominals will be recruited during many body exercises, such as the deadlift and squat, as the muscle stabilises the trunk for protection. Those focused on obtaining a six pack will likely see good results from directly exercising the abdominals two to three times per week, with at least a days rest between each session. A typically session may involve two to three exercises, with two to three sets per exercise.
The crunch is a great exercise for targeting the abdominal. Although the range of motion of the crunch is reduced in comparison to the full sit-up, the full sit-up involves much greater hip flexor recruitment, and greater stress to the lower back. Other popular six pack exercises include; the ball crunch, kneeling cable crunch, v-ups, exercise ball roll out, roman chair hip raise, and the hip thrust.
Important: Articles found on the site (www.fitnessuncovered.co.uk) are meant for informational purposes only. Always seek advice and guidance from a medical professional before beginning an exercise, dietary or supplement regime. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in any articles found on the site (www.fitnessuncovered.co.uk). Articles about performance enhancing drugs, illicit and illegal substances are not meant to encourage use or possession of substances. Such substances should only be prescribed and administered as advised and supervised by a suitable qualified and licensed medical professional.