The Science-Backed Way to Get Six Pack Abs

Estimated Read Time: 5 minutes

Today it’s all about how to get a six pack fast – which leads to people relying on questionable shortcuts or B.S. approaches that often ignore the science-backed techniques and advice that would provide the long term results that most people are actually looking to have.

Do you want to incorporate real muscle science with a plan that works and will set you up on getting – and maintaining – six pack abs year round?

Then guys, I’m with you.

We’re going to dig beneath the surface a little bit and break down a step by step way to get the six pack you’ve always wanted.

And the first thing you need to know in order to get a perfect six pack and see the abdominal definition you want is that you have to train your core completely.

And being able to do this starts with understanding the function of your core.

Anatomy of a Six Pack

The easiest way to understand the complete function of your core is to look at the direction of the fibers of each abdominal muscle.

The rectus abdominis muscle runs vertically straight up and down. 

The rectus abdominis is a good muscle for producing the normal up and down motions of a crunch or leg raises.

The obliques are angled muscles that run high to low and low to high.

External obliques are responsible for creating rotation and anti-rotation.

Internal obliques rotate in the opposite direction and help create stability and control of your rotation.

The transverse abdominis runs horizontally and acts as your own internal weight belt.

The transverse abdominis works to cinch down and provide internal support and stability of your waist while allowing your six pack abs to stand out without appearing too blocky.

Can Anyone Get a Six Pack?

Any discussion around six packs usually devolves into the question – ‘Can anyone get six pack abs?’

The short answer is – yes.

Even if you’re new to training or over 40, the bottom line is, we all have abs and can make them look better by training them the right way and by following a nutrition plan that enables you to keep them year round.

But there are a few factors that determine what those abs look like – whether you’ll ‘get’ a six pack, an eight pack, or maybe even a 4 pack instead.

First thing you have to do to assess your current body fat percentage. If you are carrying a lot of body fat around your waist at the moment (not just a little bit that is hiding your abs) but enough that would hide any ab definition then you will need to work on getting this down first.

If your body fat is low enough, the biggest factor in determining whether you can get six pack abs or eight pack abs is the genetic structure of your rectus abdominis muscle.

You’ve probably seen all kinds of abs that look slightly different than one another – some are thick and prominent while others look spread apart. Some abdominal muscles are perfectly aligned while others are uneven and not perfectly symmetrical.

The differences in how the abs look, and ultimately the number of “packs” you can see, is going to be determined by the formation of the linea alba.

This connective tissue acts like a suture that pins down to the tissue below and acts to separate the rectus abdominis into compartments or the washboard that you are familiar with.

If the linea alba is thicker than usual, you’ll have more spacing between the visible abs.  If the alba is more prominently sutured down, for lack of a better term, then you’ll see deeper grooves between the abs.

Whether or not the lower two show (aka your eight pack abs) is going to be determined solely by the presence or absence of the linea alba extending down below the belly button.  In most people, it does not. In some however, this connective tissue extends down and acts to further separate the abs into two more “packs” so to speak.

But an obsession on 4 vs 6 vs 8 is ignoring the main point – there is so much more you can do to develop the ab anatomy you do have and look good in the process. Genetics exist, but they will never place you in a category that says ‘you have no potential to look good’. That is completely false.

If you develop what you have, believe in what you have, and work hard you’re going to be able to look great.

Your No BS Guide to a Six Pack

So now that we understand the muscles involved and that anyone has the potential to look good and work towards a fully developed core, let’s look at what you’ll need to do to reach that goal.

Part 1 - The Training

As I mentioned before, to start seeing the results you really want, it’s imperative to understand the different function and roles of your abs and develop workouts and a training plan that addresses all the roles of your abs.

While there are many training routines, here is one example of an ab workout routine that requires no equipment, hits each of the primary functions of your abs, and gives you a jump start on getting your abs to pop year round. This routine is adaptable to your current ability level with extinction style training. So with extinction style training, you’re going to get a set target rep, or a set time that you’re going to focus on and try to last for each exercise.

The exercises in this ab workout follow a specific sequence.  They start with those that target the lower abs using bottom up movements. These are where the top of the body from the waist up stays rather stationary while the bottom does the movement.  

The Workout

1. Start with the heels to heavens exercise. 

Do this for 45 seconds or until exhaustion.

 

2. Perform a bottom up rotation movement with step through planks for 45 seconds or until exhaustion.  

Here you want to try and keep your upper torso still again while you create rotation from the bottom using your legs to step through and across your body. You will be able to feel this burn almost from the first few reps.

 

3. Move on next to the midrange movement known as the “X” man crunch. 

This is a great way to bring both the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top. Aim for completing 12 reps that are suggested for extinction on this ab exercise.

 

4. Moving on we’ve got to hit the obliques with an alternating thread the needle. 

Again, aim for 12 reps until extinction.

 

5. Next move into an exercise which allows for top down movement. What does this mean? This means keeping your bottom abdominal muscles as stationary as possible and moving the top muscles down on top of them. 

The alternating jackknife exercise will allow us to do this.  

Go back and forth between sides and go for 45 seconds or until extinction before starting the last exercise.

 

6. Finally we’ve got to go top down again, but this time with rotation. Do this with a stationary bike exercise. 

Do this exercise for 30 seconds or until extinction.

 

When you make it all the way through this exercise – and really, when you fail to make it all the way through this – your workout has ended.

This simple zero equipment ab routine is designed to be completed no matter what ability level you are and if repeated for 22 days, will kick start your fitness routine habit.

All the excuses are eliminated – the equipment, the exercise variation… but it’s still not easy. It’s not supposed to be easy. Nothing worth having should be easy. Give this ab workout a try, no matter what ability level you are.

One more thing I think need to address because it always has to be said, the only way to get a six pack, is to combine the proper kind of training with the proper nutrition program.

Part 2 - The Nutrition

You’ve probably heard that 6 pack abs are obtained through a proper diet, that abs are made in the kitchen.  If so, you’d be right.

Despite the fact that many are aware of the importance of proper nutrition when it comes to getting abs, it is still a mighty struggle to get them.  It usually comes down to the methods those people are using to try and get them in the first place.

Crash diet plans and temporary deprivation based tactics are not going to cut it long term if you want to get and keep your abs.

Anything that forces you to feel as if you’re missing out or depriving you of what you really want is only going to be a temporary solution at best.  As soon as you get tired of not having what you want, you’ll quickly give in and lose your ability to keep your hard earned abs.

That said, there is a simple 5 step formula for creating a meal plan to get six pack abs. This formula will work for anyone – even if you’re vegan or vegetarian – because it’s built off of what you’re already eating.

5 Step Meal Plan Formula

1. Start with cutting out the obvious crap foods from your diet.

You should know pretty quickly what these are. This means the foods to avoid are:

  • Cakes
  • Sweets
  • Alcohol
  • Fatty salad dressings
  • Anything that screams problems the minute you eat them.  

There’s never been a better time than now to start making the changes that are going to dramatically help you in your pursuit of your abs.

2. Next step is to start eating more often.

Despite what keyboard scientists who read a few articles on google scholar want you to believe, there are far more important reasons to be eating more frequently throughout the day than whether or not this is maximally anabolic.

It’s for all the reasons that aren’t in the scientific journals but it’s for the reasons that we actually get it to work when we do it long term. Not only is eating more often habit forming in looking at nutrition as fuel, but it stabilizes your blood sugar to keep you feeling more energetic throughout the day and helps you control your portions better.

3. Take another look at your diet.

This time, try and remove the less obvious items that aren’t helping you in your goal for six pack abs.

  • Just because you’re eating chicken doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re eating the right kind of chicken. Educate yourself on the healthier ways to prepare chicken.
  • Swap out the prepackaged oatmeal for whole grain cooked oats.
  • Start drinking more water and leave the fruit juices behind. 

While some of these foods may seem healthy, a lot of this comes down to how they were being prepared or if there was any additives – this will make all the difference in helping you keep your six pack year round.

4. Eat more of the good foods you swapped in.

This will help you maintain and continue to build new muscle. Too often, people who take out the offending foods will free up many calories in their diet. If you don’t replace them with good foods you’ll likely wind up not supporting your muscle growth and be skinny without enough muscle mass.

5. Lastly, supplement for consistency.

Consistency here is the key to looking good. Not just for a few days but to looking good for a lifetime.

Everything we just built up to, to this fifth and final phase, but nutrition can sometimes be difficult to stay consistent with. So if you have supplements, you will be able to get what your body needs right then and there, in a very convenient, travel friendly way. 

We also have the added benefit of supplementation providing us with the ability to take our bodies to the next level in your workouts, by delivering things like Creatine.

Starting on the path to get six pack abs is not as hard as it seems. But you have to have the dedication and the desire to start making that change, alright.

This is a real step by step plan to help you achieve the abominable definition you want and will really work. It may take some time but changes, minor as they may be, over time lead to consistency that lead to your ability to look good all year round.

So, when you start training your abs with a plan based on how they are anatomically meant to be trained, start paying more attention to having a healthy diet, and put the science back in strength, you’ll be amazed at how fast you start seeing better results.

 

What You Need to Know to Get Six Pack Abs

  1. Learn the function of the muscles in your core. This will allow you to better train and develop your core.
  2. Stop focusing on if you can get an 8 pack or not. There is so much more you can do to develop the ab anatomy you do have and look good in the process.
  3. Develop a training plan that addresses all the roles of your abs. Your workouts should hit the primary function of your abs and follow a specific sequence of hitting your lower abs first.
  4. Abs are made in the kitchen. So find a meal plan that works for you long term if you want to get and keep your abs.