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Six Pack Exercises – 3 Steps to Awesome Abs

Where Should I Start?


Six Pack Exercises - Worth the Effort

Although a very visual area of the male body, the elusive six pack is not all about looking good. Abs are a core muscle group, and along with the lower back muscles, help to strengthen the back and improve your posture. Back injuries can often occur as a result of having a weak core. But six pack exercises are not the only way to develop awesome abs.

This article aims to clear up some popular misconceptions about developing a six pack, by concentrating on the three main areas you should focus on to ensure maximum abdominal development. Awesome abs aren’t all about six pack exercises, there are two other important areas you need to consider too. The three areas highlighted in this article will help you to develop your abs effectively, and quickly start to reap the rewards… An awesome six pack, and a strong core. The areas we’ll be looking at are Cardio, Proper Nutrition and Six Pack Exercises.

Cardio – Area #1


Almost everyone has perfect muscle tone. However in most people, this muscle tone is covered by a layer of body fat. The six-pack, by definition, is the abdominal muscles showing through the skin. This definition is achieved by reducing your overall body fat, not by spending all day every day doing six pack exercises. Reducing body fat is the key. There is no way to reduce body fat in one particular area. For example, doing a million six pack exercises would not reduce the body fat around the waist, but would draw on fat stored all around the body.

The way to effectively reduce your body fat percentage, is by taking part in cardio-vascualar exercise. Over time, this will reduce your overall body fat percentage, allowing your abs to show through, and creating the abdominal muscle definition that we know as the six pack.

Your cardio sessions should be around 40 minutes long, and ideally you want to keep your heart rate at about 65%. This kind of intensity ensures that the body relies on stored fat to fuel your workout, rather than looking for alternate energy sources. Unless the body is burning fat, your workout will have little or no effect on your body fat percentage, and will do nothing towards your six pack goal. Anywhere between three and four cardio sessions per week should be more than enough to keep you steadily moving towards your goal.

All kinds of activities fall into the cardio-vascular category: running, cycling, swimming, walking, aerobics, zumba, skipping, rowing, the stepper machine, etc. Varying the cardio that you do, adds variety and prevents the monotony of spending hours on the treadmill.

Proper Nutrition – Area #2


Nutirition is often more important than six pack exercises.

Don't Underestimate the Importance of Proper Nutrition

You cannot expect to achieve permanent  results by embarking on short lived diets. What is needed is a lifestyle change, moving towards consistently good nutrition, which you have fine tuned to give your body the nutrients it requires without storing body fat. If you consume more calories than you need, your body will store this excess as fat – which is not what you want, as your abdominal muscles will remain hidden by a wall of fat, regardless how much effort you put into your six pack exercises.

Nutrition is important, even more so than cardio. If you are not consuming an excess of fat, you will have less work to do when it comes to doing cardio. The best way to deal with your daily food intake, is to eat small, well balanced meals, little and often – every 2-3 hours is ideal. Your meals should be balanced somewhere in line with the ratio 40:40:20 (40% protein, 40% carbohydrate and 20% fat). If eating is not a possibility, if for example you are at work, you could always take a protein shake and a banana as a great mid morning/afternoon snack. Remember – not eating can be just as bad as eating too much, as when you do finally eat, it is unlikely that you will plan to eat healthy, and will more likely pig out on whatever is available, just to quash the sensation of hunger.

Fluid intake is also paramount for a good diet. It will work to aid nutrition absorption, removal of waste products from the body and digestion. If you are thirsty, the chances are that you are already dehydrated. Using the colour of your urine is an effective way of monitoring hydration levels. Try to keep urine clear all day, as passing yellow coloured urine is a strong indication of dehydration.

Six Pack Exercises – Area #3


It is important to train the abdominal muscles in the same way that you would train any other muscle – through resistance training. It is all very well to work through 50 reps of six pack exercises, but what you really need to do is make the abs work against a weight, and do 10 – 12 reps, just like you would for any other body part. Muscles need to work against resistance (weight) in order to cause enough stress that they are encouraged to grow.

Lets take a look at some effective six pack exercises:

  • Cable Crunches. Set up a tricep rope, and kneel below it. Grab one of the two ropes and hold them either side of your head, and contract the abs. The aim is to use the strength in your abs to pull your upper body forwards and down against the resistance of the ropes. Pull the ropes down until you feel the abs fully contract, hold for a second, and release.
  • Weighted Leg Raises. Lie flat on your back on a mat, and tuck your hands under the buttocks. Use your feet to take hold of a dumbbell and lift it to a height of around 12 – 15 inches. Hold for a second, and then slowly lower the dumbbell to around 6 inches from the mat – ensuring not to let it touch.
  • Weighted Crunches. Grab either a dumbbell or a plate and hold it in towards your chest while carrying out regular crunches. You should choose a weight which you are capable of carrying out 10 – 12 reps.
  • Seated Ab Machine. This is a very similar exercise to cable crunches, but is still effective as it works the abs at a slightly different angle. Take care not to swing the body when using the Seated Ab Machine. Each rep should be slow and controlled – feeling the abs fully contract.
  • Stability Ball Crunches. Doing crunches on a stability ball is a great way of working your balance as well as your abdominal muscles. Balance is often overlooked, but working these smaller, less prominent muscles, can produce some great results. Aim to have just your lower back resting on the Stability Ball, and carry out crunches as you normally would. Keeping the feet close together accentuates the amount of balance control that is required.

Summary


The key here is using resistance for ab training, and working in the 10 – 12 rep range. The more you train, the more weight you will be able to work with, and the more pronounced your results will be. Your only need to do six pack exercises, with weight, a maximum of twice a week. Treat them how you would treat any other muscle group.

With a decent diet, cardio and the training tips offered above, you’ll be seeing results in no time!


3 comments

  1. Janeen Millick

    Next time you’re thinking about six pack exercises think about a full body exercise program making use of dumbbells and your body weight. Forget the isolation exercises. The full body exercise will burn the fat, strengthen your whole body and define those sexy abs you’re trying to find. So, for six pack abs exercises try dumbbells and body weight.

  2. Andy

    You’re absolutely right. The ‘six pack’ is mainly about losing body fat, but its always good to build some muscle.

  3. six pack abs in 2 weeks

    Add cardiovascular to the mix. This really accelerates weight reduction. If you feel you’re out of shape then just go for any half hour walk every day for a coupe of weeks. Then when you feel you are ready try performing interval instruction. It’s really efficient for burning the stomach fat and getting six pack abdominals.

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