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The 7 Golden Rules to Get a Six-Pack

Six-pack abs are one of the last things to emerge in any weight-loss or muscle-building program. They are also one of the top things people want, so there's no shortage of advice on how to get them.

In the world of exercise, separating fact from fiction can be a tricky thing. The problem isn't getting to the truth. Anyone willing to spend a little time going through the medical literature is capable of figuring out what's real. The problem is that the truth often gets in the way of making a sale.

Huge companies have grown up trying to convince people that they hold the "secret" to getting a washboard stomach. We send the companies money, convinced that this time we'll finally do it. Then we take the pills, use the machines, eat the food or starve ourselves according to the "secret" only to end up with less money and an unchanged body.

Don't waste valuable time or hard-earned cash on bad advice. If you want a six-pack, these are the seven rules you need to know.

1Ab exercises alone will not give you a six-pack.
You can do crunches eight hours a day, but unless you drop the fat around your midsection, your abs won't show. No ab machine, no matter how fancy or expensive, can change that simple fact.

2 Spot reduction doesn't work (unless you're doing liposuction.)
There are several pills sold that promote the idea you can trim down selected areas of your body. It's just not true. If you've got a belly, to get rid of it you have to create a calorie deficit. You can eat less, exercise more or do a combination of both. Over time your total body fat will drop. When your overall body fat drops low enough, the abs will emerge.

3 You cannot exercise your abdominals every day.
The muscles that make up your abs are no different from the muscles anywhere else on your body. You wouldn't work your chest seven days in a row, because the muscles wouldn't have time to recuperate and heal. You shouldn't do that to your abs either. Target your abs 2-3 times a week, just as you would any other muscle group.

4 Doing the same exercises every time will lead to stagnation.
Our bodies have a remarkable ability to adapt to the stresses we put on them. If you constantly do the same workout, your muscles will learn and stop growing. You have to keep changing your routine and stress the muscles in new ways to push past plateaus.

5 High reps won't help you make gains, overloading the muscles will.
To build stronger arms you wouldn't think of doing 100 reps with a 2-pound dumbbell. You push your muscles into growing by using heavier weights in the 8-21 rep range. Your abs respond the same as all the other muscles in your body. If the exercises you're doing don't tire them out, you need to increase the intensity or learn new ones.

6 The oblique muscles surround and accentuate your abs, so they should be included in any well developed abdominal routine.
But you need to avoid rotational exercises like Russian or barbell twists. They place stress on the lower back and can cause damage if you rotate too quickly. A better idea is to work your obliques with stability exercises such as side planks. When you maintain good form, the obliques are called in to help keep proper spinal alignment.

7 You have to do some aerobic exercise every week to get results.
Building muscle is great, but you also must engage in fat burning cardiovascular work as well. Only through a combination will you see results.

For the vast majority of people, getting six-pack abs is NOT an achievable goal. Reduce body fat, build muscle, change your exercises frequently, rest between abdominal workout days and give your abs more stress with fewer reps. Follow these rules and you can become the best version of yourself possible.

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