How to get a six pack in six minutes!
High on the wish-list of many exercisers is a six pack of rippling abdominal muscles and to achieve this all you need to combine a strictly controlled diet along with correct training – the concept is that simple.
To get six pack abs you need to do two things: lose fat and build muscle. You get this by dieting and exercising daily. You can have the most toned and muscular abs, but it will not show if there is a layer of fat over them.
Most of us will settle for just toning our abs up a bit, and this guide should help you get somewhere near to achieving that well defined look.
Which muscles make up a six-pack?
The traditional six-pack refers to the muscle groups across the front of the abdomen, namely the rectus abdominis. The oblique’s and transverse abdominis are also part of your abdominal muscles and specific core muscles including the multifidus should not be ignored in your training programme.
There are 4 groups of abdominal muscles, which together completely surround the internal organs which include:
Transversus abdominis – This is the deepest level of abdominal muscles, and works to stabilize the entire midsection of the body (known as the trunk) and sustain level abdominal pressure, which protects the internal organs.
Rectus abdominis – This is the group of muscles that give us the “six-pack” appearance when they are toned. This muscle group is located between the ribs and the pubic bone.
External obliques – These muscles are located on each side of the rectus abdominus. They give the trunk stability when it is twisting. The muscle contracts opposite of whichever side is twisting. For example, when the body turns to the right, the left external oblique contracts.
Internal obliques – This muscle group borders the rectus abdominus, just inside the hipbones. These muscles also aid in twisting, but in the opposite way. For example, twisting the midsection to the right uses the right internal obliques
A healthy stomach
We’ve all seen pictures on magazine covers of people with enviably defined stomach muscles; however it is important to remember that these pictures rarely tell the complete story. Body-building models are usually photographed pre-competition and have spent a number of weeks dieting and exercising to achieve such a chiselled look. However, trying to achieve an extremely low level of body fat is neither healthy nor sustainable. Once the competition is over, the models revert to a normal diet and whilst their ab strength remains the same, their abs become less visible due to a light and healthy covering of body fat.
Just because you can’t see your abs, it doesn’t mean that they’re not there! Body fat is necessary for good health, and simply focusing on lowering your body fat should not be your goal. Focus on healthy nutrition and correct exercises to tone up your abs instead and the results will follow.
Six-pack training exercises
It is important to integrate the training of your abdominal muscles into an all-over body programme so that you remain in complete musculo-skeletal balance. If you simply focus on exercises to build your six-pack and nothing else, you unbalance the body which can lead to injury.
For example, it is important to balance out stomach exercises with lower back exercises. For the abdominals, there are numerous exercises but if you focus on just a few, they can easily be integrated into your usual sessions without taking up too much extra time.
The six-minute six-pack
Rapid results can be obtained by following this simple programme which targets the correct muscles and by exercising correctly.
Begin by building up to completing each session once a week, with an interval of two days between the different sessions. Each session should take approximately six minutes. Build further to completely the entire sequence of exercises twice a week as your fitness improves.
Target = two sets of 20 repetitions of each exercise.
Standard sit up
On the floor, lie on your back, place your feet flat, bend your knees and place legs shoulder width apart. Place your fingertips just forward of your ears. Keep your head and neck in line with your spine; lift the shoulders up from the floor contracting the abdominals. Lower your body to the floor under control and repeat. Avoid hooking the feet under a stationary object, which will work the hip flexors rather than the abdominals.
On the floor, lie on your back, tuck your knees into the chest and keep your feet and legs together. Slowly extend legs until they are straight out in front of you, keeping your feet off the floor. Return to the tuck position and repeat.
Lie face down on the floor, keep your arms parallel with your sides, head and neck in line with the spine. Contract the erector spinae (lower back muscles) by lifting your shoulders from the floor and keep the head and neck in line with the spine. Lower your shoulders to the floor under control and repeat.
Target = one set of 20 repetitions for oblique crunches (per side) and 60 seconds duration for both the plank and side plank.
Twist your body around whilst sitting on a stability ball so that one hip is positioned on top of the ball. Brace your feet against the bottom of a wall. Lower your body slowly towards to ball until you feel a stretch from your armpit to the hip on the upper side. Contract your obliques and lift your body up to a vertical position to complete one movement. Each time, always return to a fully stretched position.
On the floor, lie face down positioning your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Tuck the arms into the sides, flat on the floor and pointing ahead. Bringing the legs and toes together; lift your body up from the floor, balancing upon toes and forearms. Fully contract core muscles in towards the spine. Maintain relaxed breathing throughout.
On the floor, lie in a straight line on your side. Position one leg on top of the other and prop your body up on one elbow, keeping the elbow well tucked in. Fully contract the core muscles by lifting your pelvis up from the floor as high as possible and hold the position. Maintain relaxed breathing throughout.
Abdominal training equipment
Many sports retailers sell ‘ab trainers’ and a lot of gyms have them to use. An ‘ab trainer’ is a tubular framed piece of equipment which is designed to specifically help you with abdominal training however you may be surprised, but these are unnecessary.
If you carry out the abdominal exercises above correctly, you will exercise far more effectively, achieve faster results; achieve greater results, save money and save training time compared to using an ab trainer.
Consistency is key with your training and you will see and feel the difference in your whole body if you follow the six-minute six-pack programme.
Stronger abs are just six minutes away!
How did you achieve your six pack?