Why only the FEW have Six Pack Abs
Many people define an Ultimate fit body by the means of having a great set of 6-Pack abs.
This stands true because it does take mental discipline and a set of skills to acquire great looking abs.
I am not going to sit here and lie to you and say there is some magical smoothie or fast fat loss track diet that will get you 6-Pack Abs.
Even if there was such a thing , how long do you really think those results would last.
If it wasn’t challenging to obtain , then you would easily dismiss the reward as easily as you received it.
Their would be no lesson learned , no discipline needed and no journey to define you through patience.
Most Men strive to achieve the Classic V-line with deep cut abs , while most women strive for a flat and firm stomach with just enough definition
Bottom line is both take the exact same amount of focus and dedication.
This article will be focused more for the deep cut abs, you can find my women’s fat and toned stomach abs workout here.
The basics to visible abs comes down to two facts.
- Low body fat levels
- ab density
In order to obtain those 2 factors requires some fine tuning applied to your daily habits:
Low Body Fat levels
This one is obvious but still needs to be addressed.
You heard the phrase all the time “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.”
While this holds some truth I find it lacking some serious knowledge.
Yes we all have abs and when body fat levels are dropped low enough, usually around 6% those abs WILL become visible.
There is a couple of problems with only sticking to this philosophy.
- how impressive will your abs be with no training when made visible ?
- how long can you maintain 6% body fat ?
If you’re fine settling for abs that show nicely with great lightening and a forced flex then Simply dropping body fat might be for you.( if you can hold it that long)
Though if you’re after RAZOR sharp abs, It;’s going to take a little more effort!
Most people are not going to be able to maintain 6% body Fat year round.
A more realistic body fat for year round would be 7-11%.
Ab Density helps you reveal more ab definition with reasonable fat levels year round like 7-11%
So what is keeping people from achieving six pack abs ?
- Most people focus on a lot of poor quality movements rather than focusing on a routine centered around a few key exercises that target the abs.
- People who have reached lower body fat levels neglected their ab training and their six pack is sub bar at best.
- Almost everyone knows how to train with intensity but without a proper calorie deficit put into action they never get lean enough to see their abs.
What about Crunches?
Every time I develop a workout routine for a client they almost always ask me about crunches.
You see the body’s muscles can adapt easily to movements like crunches.
An individual can rep out 100 crunches in a setting if they wanted but without progressively challenging the muscles, they will not progress in density.
Not to mention crunches can have a long term negative effect on your lower back over time.
Our body is setup for upper torso movements naturally like crunches and sit ups.
When you get up out of bed , going from a sitting down potion to standing up, etc.
Training with proper flexing of the lower spine will create a new stimulus.
This can be generated by key movements like leg raises.
Various leg raises are a shock to the body!
Improving on a variety of leg raises will have the greatest visual impact on ab development.
Mastering leg raises takes years of practices to progressively advance in the various movements.
Various Leg Raises Include:
- Hanging Leg Raises
- Leg Raises on a Dip Bar or Captains Chair
- Hanging Knee Raises
- Knee Raises on a Dip Bar or Captains Chair
- Lying Leg Raises
- Feet to the Bar leg Raises
- Side to Side Knee Raises
- Stationary leg raises and hold on dip bar
Not only does shocking the body with leg raises build incredible ab development , focusing on oblique training is essential as well.
The Importance of Planks
The idea is to have a tight firm narrow waist , planks are great for tightening the obliques without adding excessive size tot he waist.
This is due to the face that all planks are isometric in nature..
In other words tensing muscles against other muscles or against an immovable object while the length of the muscle remains unchanged.
For an isometric exercise like planks to be effective, this muscular tension must be maintained over a certain period of time.
The best part is Planks train your abs to contract when your spine in in a neutral state.
This will insure your abs look their best while simply walking down the beach our relaxing pool side for the summer.
Various Planks include:
- Side planks
- Regular Planks
- Plank with forearms on stability ball
- Plank with feet in TRX suspension bands
Side planks cover the movement of the spine from side to side but the obliques have another function and this is to twist the spine.
Remember we want to stick with isometric exercises here to avoid size , so how do we capture the twisting function?
Utilizing Renegade Rows
When your are rowing with one arm your body badly wants to twist in the same direction.
In order to stop this twisting from happening you will have to contract the obliques firmly to stop it.
As you increase the weight of the dumbbells your obliques will have to contract even harder.
Over time as you progress in weight, oblique definition will progress as well.
So we covered the abs and their overall frame the obliques.
But Having a great six pack will not matter if your lower back is setup for future injury.
It’s Vital to Strengthen the Lower Back
Training the abs is never forgotten for most peoples training routines , infarct over training with an abundance of low quality movements for abs is usually the case.
You see when our spines are fully flexed forward we loss almost 50% of its compressive strength capabilities.
The Spine is at is strongest while in a neutral position.
Exercises that flex the spine forward like many ab movements destabilize the spine over time, setting you up for serious injury.
This is why is is vital that you strengthen the lower back as part of your ab routine.
Various Lower back Exercises Include:
- Hyper Extensions (back extensions)
- Reverse Hyper Extensions
- Bird Dogs
- Hip Bridges
- Back Bridge
Precision Abs Workout
- choose 2 exercises from The hanging leg raises group and perform 3 set of 8-10 reps with 60 sec rest in between each set.
- Choose 2 exercises from the planks group and perform 2-3 sets with your max hold time (1-2 min is good as well) 60 sec rest between each set
- Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps per side for renegade rows ( note you can choose 3 options for planks and sub side planks for renegade rows) 60 sec rest between each set
- For the lower back group pick two movements and perform 2 set of 15-20 reps 1 min rest between each set
Now obviously not everyone is going to be able to just jump right in and perform the Precision Abs workout above.
People enter the fitness game at various levels of strength , training skill and body types .
Below is a few more ab workouts that will help individuals at different levels of strength.
The key is to build up reps and form over time , remember some of these movements take years to master.
The Skinny Fat Ab Workout
Many men and women are skinny but soft around the mid section. This is usually a side effect of the skinny fat syndrome a lot of individuals suffer from. When you finally drop the mid section fat , most are left with little to no definition in there core abdominal muscles. Focusing on high intensity is the solution to fix that soft core. This high intensity will be tough but your body naturally does not want to change and requires the high intensity for change.
- Hanging Leg Raises- 5 sets of 5 slow reps 3 x per week (start with 2 min rest between each set and work your weigh down to 45 sec rest between each set)
- Renegade Rows(3x per week)- 5 sets of 3 reps per side . Start with light dumbbells and work your way up to heavier dumbbells over time. (start with 2 min rest between each set and work your weigh down to 45 sec rest between each set)
- Regular planks(3x per week)- 2 sets hold as long as you can. (start with 2 min rest between each set and work your weigh down to 45 sec rest between each set)
- Hip Bridges- do for 3-5 min for lower back and to stretch out abs , hip flexors and quads. (perform this at the end of ab routine 3 x per week)
Make sure the leg raises are slow steady reps , we want to drive the intensity to the core of the abs. Work your way from longer rest breaks to shorter rest breaks. A skinny fat person needs to be hitting the abs hard with focus from the very begging in order to shock them for change. Perform this routine for 5-6 months. On your last month perform 4 sets per week of the hanging leg raises. You might have to sub in knee raises at first . When you can complete the higher end of reps with shorter rest periods move on to more advanced leg raise variations.
Precision Abs Workout Level 1
- Feet to the Bar Bent Leg Raises- 3 x per week aim for 5 sets and work your way of to 5 sets for 10 reps.
- Side to Side Knee Raises- 3 x per week You will perform these to failure right after feet to bar leg raises for one set.
- Renegade Rows- 3 x per week 5 sets of 3 reps per side. Work your way up to heavy dumbbells.
- Regular Planks- 3 x per week Hold one static plank for at least 2 min , work your way up to 3 min.
- Hip or Back Bridges- 3 x per week hold for as long as you can. perform at the end of ab routine.
The Feet to Bar Bent Leg Raises are the main focus for this workout . Make sure to concentrate on getting better at these week to week.
Precision Abs Workout Level 2
- Feet to the Bar Leg Raises (1/2 stops )- For this you will be bring your feet to the bar but on your way down stop when your legs are parallel with the floor 1/2 way keeping constant tension on the abs. 3 x per week aim for 5 sets for 10 reps
- Regular leg raises- 3 x per week. Perform this to failure aim for 5 sets of 10. When you can perform this add 5 more to each set.
- Side to side knew raises- 3 x per week. Perform one set to failure.
- Stationary leg raises on dip bar- 3 x per week. Aim to hold for 15-20 secs for a total of 3 sets with 45 sec rest between each set.
- Renegade Rows- 3 x per week 5 sets of 3 reps. Work your way up to heavy dumbbells
- Hip or back Bridges- 3 x per week 2 sets and hold as long as you can .
During the feet to bar you may not be able to complete the whole set . If this is the case continue straight into knew bent raises or stop half way instead. This will help you advance and progress over time. This will take time to master so be patient, record your progress and try to get better each week.
Summer Blitz Plank Super Set
This Plank super set can be a bonus to add at the end of any of the ab routines above as a burn out finisher. This is great to do 1 month out from a vacation to really develop razor sharp abs. You will be going straight into the next movement with no rest.
Font Plank- hold tell failure 2 min minimum.
Side Planks- hold to failure one side then go straight into other side and hold tell failure.
Aim to perform 3 sets of this super set and hold each plank as long as possible. After one super set rest for 2 min.
Lower Abs Focused Routine
Each workout will hit the lower abs no matter what but certain leg raises hit the lower abs harder than others.
One of the biggest lower ab focused movements is the lying leg raise.
Incorporate this routine no longer than a solid month straight , you could use it as a burn out/ finisher for your current routine.
I would recommend a month on then take a month off.
- Lying leg Raises- 4 x per week 5 sets of 20 reps
- Hip or back bridges- focus on holding as long as you can to stretch out the abs. They will be extremely tight from the burn out.
My goal here is to teach you what ab Exercises give you the best bang for your buck in the shortest period of time while putting the least stress on your lower back.
At the same time I want to set you up with with a strong back to prevent future injury.
Your abs should look good not only in great lighting but hanging out pool side or walking down the beach.
The idea is to build great abs as quickly as possible with a PRECISION focused workout routine.