Tuesday, 3 February 2009

How to get a six pack quick

When it comes to training and fitness, one of the most talked about areas is getting a six pack, especially so for males! Men have always been hung up on getting that perfect midsection and most spend a lot of their gym time concentrating on this one goal. The problem is, most don't know how to properly train for getting rock solid abs, nor do they realise the their is a lot more to it that spending time at the gym doing endless sets of crunches. Firstly, lets debunk a few myths:

1: Crunches and sit ups will 'tone' the abs!

I really hate the word 'tone', it is so misleading, when people use the word 'tone' they are usually implying that a certain exercise will help them drop fat in a certain area of the body, in this case most people are still under the impression that sit ups, crunches etc will shed that layer of fat in the midsection.

The truth: There is no such thing as spot-reduction, which basically means you cant loose fat in just one area of your body, fat is lost as a whole, there is no exception to this, you can create the illusion of losing fat in a certain area of the body by perhaps developing the muscles there, but you will not have lost fat in just that area.

2: For best results, abs should be trained everyday.

People assume that to get that six pack quickly, you need to train the abs every single day.

The truth: Your abs should be trained like any other muscle, i.e not daily! they are like any other muscle and require adequate rest to grow. Remember your muscles grow outside of the gym, not inside.

3: The crunch is the best exercise for working the abs.

This is quite a large misconception and usually leads to a lot of people giving up getting a six pack. Many newcomers believe endless sets of crunches will give you a six pack, sadly this is not the case.

The truth: The abs should be trained like any other body part, and that is with resistance and with variation. Different exercises should be used frequently to prevent the body adapting to the same old routine.

Keep it simple!

Those 3 myths above pretty much sum up where 90% of people go wrong when it comes to getting a six pack. For these very same reasons most people give up after a week or two because they are not seeing progress. Here are the simple facts if you want to get a six pack:

  • -You must have a low enough body fat percentage to be able to see your six pack, this is achieved through diet and cardio! for most people it will be under 10%
  • -Abs are developed through resistance training and with adequate rest
Bear in mind, these are in order! Diet is key here, I cannot stress this enough, you can have the most developed abs in the world but if they are covered by a layer of fat you will not be able to see them! You must work on reducing your body fat percentage through diet, and cardio.

So back the original statement, how to get a six pack quick. Well, in all honesty the time scale depends on so many factors, but the two main ones are; your current fitness level (more importantly body fat percentage) and your current training plan. Your two goals to remember here are to reduce body fat percentage and to develop your abs.

Reducing body fat

Lets keep this as simple as possible. you need to create a calorie deficit, i.e you need to burn more calories than your are consuming, rule of thumb for females: 2000 calories a day, for males: 2500 a day. Your activity level will govern how many extra calories you need to burn or not consume. You can do this either way or both ways, but whichever way you do it, your body needs to be in a calorie deficit for the body fat to drop. The best bet is to experiment, drop a few hundreds calories and check your progress after a couple weeks, take daily photos and weight checks (although weight fluctuates throughout the day so this isn't always a great indication, however if you are doing it daily you can usually start to see patterns)

Developing your abs

Again, lets keep it simple! You should be training your abs up to 3 times a week depending on your current routine. The best exercises for really developing your abs are;

  • -squats
  • -deadlifts
  • -dragon flags
  • -planks
  • -weighted crunches

Most of these can be found on exrx or a quick google search will bring them up! If your having trouble with any feel free to contact me.
I could talk about this subject for hours but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, when it comes to training abs (or training in general) complicating things with only frustrate you and waste your time, keep things simple but work hard and frequently.

Happy training!

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