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Six Pack Abs: An IntroductionPhoto By: Heath Cajandig/ CC BY
If you consider the cover of a fitness magazine, chances are you will come across the occasional six pack abs and models flaunting toned stomachs based on a challenging workout. Don't fret for a dedicated fitness regime is sure to get you the perfect pair of six-pack abs too. Here's how you can go about it.
What is a Six Pack?
The abdomen's front muscles are the rectus abdominis. This is a fibrous sheath extending between the lower ribs and the lower portion of the body. The tendon separates these muscles rightwards and leftwards. When there is a lean look, this tendon's separations are on display as the six pack ab. Males with body fat percentage of 6 to 9 and women of around 16-19 percent have six pack provided they exercise and eat right.
Ways to get a Six Pack
The Right Diet
Avoid Simple Carbs
The way to a pair of six packs is through a good diet. If your diet is high in processed, fried and junk food, don't expect to be getting the six pack abs anytime soon. All carbohydrates are not bad. Simple, white carbs should be avoided while slow carbs are rich in fiber and traverse the system more gradually, making it important for you. So, choose brown rice, oats, whole wheat and quinoa for a healthy diet and the perfect abs.
Eat More Protein
Add on as much protein as you can in the mornings. This will lessen your food intake and increase the quantity of protein which serves as a building block of muscle tissues. Those who eat more protein early in the day experience changes in brain signals and hormone levels that are involved in controlling the appetite.
Get more protein and improve your workout ability. But high fat protein can be harmful to the body. Instead, opt for yogurt, egg white, and other healthy products. Opt for protein if you want to burn more calories, as it is a known fact that breaking down proteins requires more calorific burn as against carbs and fats.
Don't Go In For Processed Foods
Getting the empty calories from processed and junk foods only ensure that you develop an unhealthy body entirely lacking in nutrients. This is definitely not the way to a trim waistline let alone a six-pack. Processed foods are high in fat, sugar, and synthetic products which make them really bad for weight loss.
Some of these ingredients such as artificial coloring agents, hydrogenated oil, and artificial sweetener are not even considered eatable by the body. Packaged food equals processed foods. Top super processed foods are bad for your health and anything packaged qualified for this. This includes health foods that are processed too!
Drink More Water
Drinking water is associated with long-term weight loss. It also speeds up the metabolism and you can even cut down on overeating or consume sugary sweet sodas and juice, opting for a healthy diet instead.
Eat Good Fats
Just like all carbs are not bad, all fat is not bad either. Dietary fat comes from two types:
The best fats to consume come from olive oils, nuts, fish oils, natural peanut butter and even avocados. While consuming fats may raise the calories you consume, you also get fast results if you want that toned, sculpted look. Why? Quite simply because this helps to stabilize the insulin levels and if they are too high, fat becomes difficult to cut down on. Consuming fat also leaves people satiated for longer periods of time.
Eat at Regular Intervals
This ensures that you will never go hungry. Metabolism is always up as a result and you are less likely to engage in binge eating. Eat regular meals and small amounts at regular intervals. The food you eat should be high in protein, nutrition, and fiber.
Work Out Your Core Muscles
Once the fat surrounding the abs is gone, you will get the six pack abs you crave. Exercise core muscles for a chiseled look as well as a better posture. Some good exercises for this are as follows.
The plank works wonders for your abs and your back. Place your forearms on the ground and your toes into the floor. Then lift up the core and thighs off the floor, with the elbows in alignment with the shoulders. The abs need to be flexed for performing this exercise effectively.
To exercise the lower abs, the reverse crunch is the best exercise. To perform this, place your arms on the side, your palms facing downwards. Then, place the knees over the hips using the abs for placing the body. Move the knees towards the head. Holding your knees for some time in this position, hold the pose and the lower them towards the mat.
This is perfect for exercising the back and sides, along with the abdomens. Lie on a soft, smooth surface and pedal in the air. While doing so, touch the knee to the shoulder. Work both sides equally well.
If you need to get the perfect six pack abs, strong pectorals, shoulders and back muscles are essential. For this, the following exercises are beneficial:
- Wood Chop
Using weights or a medicine ball, kneel on one knee, Lifting the weight up using both hands over the shoulder of the leading foot, you need to lower the weight to the other hip, hold and return it to the original position. Your entire body should be facing forward and use a weight that leads to muscle fatigue.
- Rotating the Trunk
Using a dumbbell or medicine ball or weights, assume a seated position, knee bent and feet firmly planted on the floor. To engage the abs, lean back bending at the elbows holding weight to the core and moving from side to side.
- Dumbbell Fly
Sit on a stability ball holding free weights. Walk forward till the head and upper back are firmly balanced and push the dumbbells upwards, directly above the elbows. Swing out, keeping your arms loose and your abs flexed. Don't lock the arms so that you can prevent a strain.
Another way to get weight loss and the perfect six pack abs is cardiovascular exercise. Burn the fat using the cardio and combine it with weights for the best results. Running, boxing, tennis, and cycling are some of the alternatives to jogging. High-intensity training over intervals can increase the benefits of cardio and if you vary your routine, it can also benefit you tremendously. Target different muscle groups each time you perform cardio. By changing your routine, you can really work wonders.
Exercises for Six Pack Abs
- Sit Ups
Lay down on the floor, with your feet planted on the ground, knees upwards and hands across on the chest. Hold the feet down or anchor them under something which can hold them. Now, lift off the lower part of the back off the ground with the shoulder blades in line. Make sure you do not hunch your back. Repeat the motion and later vary the routine by adding an inclined bench to your workout.
Perform stomach crunches to get strong, fit, lean and chiseled abs. Lie down on the floor with the arms placed across the chest and the hands in contact with temples. Bend the knees while raising the shoulder towards the knee using the ab muscles. Make sure you don't lift your body off the ground as this can strain the back. Now return to the original position and repeat for as many counts as you can.
- Leg Lifts
Stretch out on the ground, with the legs straight outwards and hands on the side. Lift the leg straight and ensure it is at a right angle to the floor. Then, return to the supine position without letting your legs touch the ground. A parallel bar can also be tried while performing this exercise to make it more advanced.
- Try A Stability Ball
Use a stability ball to make the crunches more advanced. Bend from the hips or the knees using the ball.
- Pull Ups
Hang from a horizontal bar and pull yourself up. Do five reps with your palms away from you and five with your palms towards you. This builds up biceps, lats, and abs at the same time.
- Push Ups
Perform various kinds of push-ups such as standard or knuckle push-ups to ensure maximum comfort levels.
Finally, you need to carry out certain lifestyle changes to ensure that you do not gain fat in the ab region. Not getting enough sleep was associated with fat accumulation around the region of the stomach. If there is a lack of sleep, too much cortisol is produced. Cortisol is a stress hormone which increases the appetite and causes fat accumulation, especially around the abdomen. So get your 7-8 hours of sleep if you want a toned body and six pack abs.
Six pack abs look great. What's even more amazing is that you can access good health using a strict diet and exercise regime to get that chiseled and sculpted look. Considering the benefits for your health and self-esteem, the payoffs are immense. So, eat, sleep and exercise your way to good health and an awesome pair of six-pack abs!