Captain obvious famously said, “Everybody has muscles, whether they weigh fifty or a hundred kilograms.” Mind-blowing stuff, right?
One of the muscles that we all have is the rectus abdominis, the muscle that connects the rib cage and the front-facing part of the pelvis. When it is well-defined with almost no fat on top of it, the rectus abdominis forms the highly coveted six-pack.
This means that to get a six-pack, you need to define those abs and get rid of the layer of fat that covers them. If you succeed in doing this, then you too can enjoy shredded abs that will make you the envy of many. Here is how:
1) Start your six-pack journey with good nutrition
WATCH: 10 Foods To Build Muscle!
Posted by Evolve MMA on Sunday, June 25, 2017
A layer of fat is the enemy of the six-pack, the biceps, the lats or any other muscles that you would like defined. The first step towards a six-pack is a healthy diet.
Take up a diet that is rich in protein, vitamins, and fiber. Eat complex carbs that will force your body to burn energy for extended periods of time. For protein, choose lean meats, red or white. Enjoy some eggs, fish, and seafood while you are at it.
When it comes to fiber, vegetables have you covered. Buy some red vegetables, some green and some yellow ones. Take them home and make a pretty salad with a healthy but tasty dressing.
Prepare some meat and add a few carbs to complete the meal. You will be surprised to find that you have made a healthy and enjoyable meal that will take care of all your cravings. Do this almost every day and watch the extra layers of fat melt away. Eating right will soon become a way of life for you.
2) Complement a healthy diet with some cardio
Trimming the fat needs a two-pronged approach. The first angle of attack is to deny the body the material it needs to make more fat and force it to burn stored fat instead. The second is brisk cardiovascular exercise.
A brisk jog or an intense session on an exercise machine will get the heart pumping. This will strengthen the muscles of the heart and the rest of the body. As your body gets used to the rigors of cardio, go ahead and step it up with some full-body training.
3) Add resistance training to your cardio
Now that the banishment of excess fat is underway, it is time to work those muscles. This is where resistance training comes in. Resistance training will work your whole core, including your abs, in a way that crunches alone never can.
The great upside of proper strength training is that it is designed to work all the muscles in the body while making you sweat.
Here are a few time-tested exercises that will work your core and sculpt those abs:
Push-ups: From the classic to the elevated pushup, you can find a style of pushup that targets any muscle you want. Just find an instructor to guide you.
Chin-ups: There are all sorts of chin-ups that target various muscle groups. Use them to add variety to your workouts.
Burpees: This exercise combines the squat and the pushup. It is a perfect example of cardio and resistance training combined.
Fans of Pilates and CrossFit should keep enjoying their workouts, which are absolutely great for strengthening the entire core, abs included. These exercises are designed to build muscle mass as they burn calories, and they are intense.
4) Rest those muscles after resistance training
The word ‘shredded’ is aptly used to describe sculpted muscles. When you target muscles during exercise, you actually cause them to breakdown. When muscles are broken down, they regenerate to heal themselves. As they heal, the muscles increase in mass and definition as they adapt to carry a bigger workload.
An important part of building muscle is the healing process. We all know that healing of whatever kind takes time so try not to over-exercise. A good fitness instructor will tell you to pace yourself. They will also tell you when to rest to allow for recovery.
Now that you have resistance training covered, you can move on to the next thing.
5) Target the abs
The six-pack muscle is the rectus abdominis, a single sheet of muscle that runs from the ribs to the pelvis. You have to exercise it to get it to divide into six parts. To get picture-perfect abs, you also need to exercise the lower part of the stomach, where the oblique muscles are found. Sadly, belly fat loves to hang out there, and it is typically reluctant to leave.
By now, cardio and resistance exercises have burned away lots of fat and conditioned all your muscles, including the abs. You are now ready to add exercises that target the abs and lower stomach. These five categories of exercises will deal do exactly that:
- Flex the muscles upwards with exercises like weighted crunches
- Flex them downwards with vertical or horizontal knee raises (this will work the lower muscles)
- Flex them in both directions with exercises like rowboats
- Twist the muscles with Russian twists
- Do some resistance training with stability exercises like planks
6) Add more variety with martial arts
The beauty of martial arts is that it combines cardio, resistance training, and targeted abdominal exercises into a single, fun workout.
Martial arts actually provide resistance training for all your muscle groups. This means as you learn real-world self-defense moves that work your core, your core becomes stronger. Martial arts like Muay Thai are quite intense and you can burn up to 1,000 calories during an hour-long training session. That makes it easier for you to lose all that fat around your belly.
With martial arts classes, you also get an instructor and training partners that can advise you and monitor your progress.
Remember to keep your eyes on the goal you are working towards. Acquiring a ripped set of abs takes time and commitment. There are no shortcuts around that.