There are many myths in the fitness industry and there are few topics which have as many as the beloved abdominals!! Wherever you turn there are ‘’6 pack secrets’’ here and ‘’28 day abs plans’’ there. In complete contrast there are those who preach that training abdominals is not needed if you lift weight because the core is always engaged anyway. I disagree with both. You need to train your abdominals to optimise the aesthetic appearance of them but you also need to address MANY other topics to have a visible 6 pack. It wouldn’t be unfair to say I am somewhere between both of these extremist views. So what does it take to get a 6 pack? I get this question every day, several times a day in fact.
So, I am going to give you the answers.
1 – Body Fat
No matter how ‘’sick’’ your abs are, if there is a layer of blubber covering them they won’t look sharp. With that said you must address your body fat. Nutrition and training goes beyond the scope of this article, or at least the depth required but here are some top tips to work with. - You must be in a calorie deficit to lose fat, start at 10% and work your way down to 9-11 calories per pound lean body weight (approximately) by the end of the transformation - A lot of people I work with tend to work well with higher fat/protein diets, plenty of fibre and using carbs around (post) workout with ‘’high days’’ as they get leaner once every 7-14 days - German body composition training is a great way to structure your weight training plan. Throw in 1-3 metabolic circuits a week too for ‘’cardio!!’’
2 – Abdominal Development
As you drive your body fat levels down you will see more and more of your abdominal muscles. As this happens you will want to enhance the overall appearance and development of the muscles. This means training them just as you do with every other muscle group!
Here are my top 3 abs training tips.
- Use exercises which target the lower portion of your abs, hanging leg raises and hanging knee raises (lying on floor variations are also great).
- Pay great attention to the isometric phase of the repetitions – squeeze your abdominal muscles hard, pause and then repeat the rep.
- Aim to train your abs 2-3 times a week, not every day! Like every other muscle group they need time to recover in order to grow.
3 – Supplements
This ties in nicely with point 1, ‘’body fat’’ and more importantly losing it. There are a select few supplements which I never fail to prescribe to clients when looking to burn body fat!
Reflex Omega 3s – Omega 3s help improve insulin sensitivity significantly thus making fat loss more achievable. Most people can benefit from this!!
Anabolic Designs Shredabull – Thermogenic fat burners make burning calories that bit easier by raising your metabolic rate thus increasing the amount of calories your body burns around the clock. I prescribe these for the final 4-6 weeks of a fat loss plan.
Udo’s Beyond Greens – Greens powders are something I believe to be very useful in relation to fat loss. They are rich in I-3-C which is a potent estrogen regulator. They are also a great source of fibre which is key to fat loss!
Getting a 6 pack takes dedication, patience and real effort. At lest you now have a guideline as to what you need to be doing!