Everyone from bodybuilders to weekend warriors wants to build a six-pack set of abs, and we all want to do it fast. Wouldn’t it be great if there were some little known ab-training tricks that would help you do just that?
Well, there is no get-ripped quick pill or potion, but there are some facts about abs that many people either don’t know or just ignore, and they can help you in your quest.
Here are 8 ab secrets that will help you build your six pack fast.
Abs Are a Muscle
It’s true: what we usually call “abs” are really just one muscle — the rectus abdominis. This is a flat but broad muscle that helps stabilize your torso and bend you forward at the waist. It’s crossed by three horizontal and vertical band of connective tissue that help segment it’s flexion and give it that six-pack look.
You Need to Make Your Abs Larger
Because abs are a muscle, in order to make them stand out from those connective bands and from each other, you need to grow them. Most people cringe at the thought of making anything about their waists bigger, but you’ll never have a six pack without thick abs. And besides …
Being Lean Is the Real Key to a Six Pack
Even if you DO have great abs, no one will see them if they’re covered in a layer of fat. Most estimates put the average American male at around 15% bodyfat, but you won’t have ripped, popping abs unless you’re at 10% or below.
But You Can’t Spot-Reduce
Many guys do hundreds or thousands of reps of ab work in the hopes that they can both build muscle and burn fat from the midsection with all that work. The truth is, though, that most research shows spot-reducing is not possible, or at least not dramatic enough to be worth the effort.
So You Need to Reduce Calories
If you have fat to lose, then, you need to reduce your calories until you’re losing no more than a pound per week. Start by cutting out junk food like candy, chips, and soda, and then continue to step down your calories as needed. Don’t go below about 1800 per day, though, or you’ll risk missing out on vital nutrients.
You Don’t Need a Lot of Aerobics, Either
High-volume ab work and long, long aerobic workouts often go hand-in-hand, but neither one is usually necessary to get the abs you want. If you can’t get your bodyfat moving down through diet alone and you’ve dropped much below 2000 calories per day, however, you might want to consider adding some cardio to your routine. Twenty minutes, three times per week is a good place to start, and you can bump up the frequency and duration as needed to start burning fat.
Train Abs Like Other Muscles
Since you need to make your abs bigger — see above — you’ll need to make them stronger. To do that, you need to use progressively more weight over time using perfect form, just like you would for other muscles. Abs may have a bit more endurance capacity than chest, for example, but you still need to hit them hard and then get out of the gym.
But You MAY Want to Avoid Training …
… your obliques. Obliques are the muscles at the sides of your waist, and they can grow very thick very quickly. If you are short and thick already, or if you still have a fairly high level of bodyfat, beefy obliques can make you look really blocky. They also get plenty of stress from major moves like squats and deadlifts, so you can likely skip direct work for them.
Admittedly, most of these aren’t really “secrets,” but they are neglected aspects of abs training that you need to pay attention to. Train your abs the right way, keep you diet in check, and stay lean, and a chiseled six pack could be in your future.