Fastest Way to 6 Pack Abs

Man at Gym
A lot of work is required to get six-pack abs. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

"Six pack" is a term used to describe a superior feat of fitness that is seen in the abdominal area. Six muscles appear in a symmetrical and uniform fashion in a tic tac toe-like formation. Having six-pack abs takes a lot of dedication, devotion and flat-out hard work. This is especially the case when you want to develop them quickly. The fastest way to get there involves more than just ab crunches.

Misconceptions

Serious woman in sports bra doing sit-ups on exercise mat
Obliques are located on the side of your rib cage. (Image: Robert Daly/OJO Images/Getty Images)

The abdominal muscles consist of the upper abs, lower abs and obliques, which are on the sides of the ribcage. Uncommon to popular belief, all of these muscles get worked with every ab exercise you do. It's just that some exercises put more emphasis on certain areas depending on your angle.

Benefits

Young woman exercising on a rowing machine
Strengthening your abs with exercise will improve your posture. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Getting a six pack can not only look aesthetically pleasing, but it can also offer you other benefits. Strengthening the abs will help keep your back strong. It can help you perform daily tasks more efficiently, like shoveling snow. It can improve your posture, and if you are an athlete, it can improve your performance on the field or court.

Diet

Man drinking bottle of water outdoors after workout
Instead of reaching for a soda try water as it will hydrate and replenish you more after a workout and has no calories. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

In order to get a six pack fast, major changes need to be done to the diet. Foods that are high in fat and calories need to disappear. Examples of these include fast food, deep-fried foods, processed meats and refined carbohydrates. Not only are they calorie bombs, but they have little to no nutrient value. Foods that should be consumed instead are nutrient dense and are good sources of protein, carbs and healthy fats. Examples of these are fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, fish, beans, whole grains and nuts. High-calorie beverages like soda, sweetened teas and alcohol should all be eliminated as well in favor of water, as it has zero calories and it helps keep you hydrated.

Meal Times

Photo, Close-up of a chicken breast dinner
Chicken breasts are high in protein and healthy for you. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

In order to increase your metabolism and keep your appetite under control, small, balanced meals should be eaten every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day. Examples of these are a chicken breast sandwich on whole-wheat bread, cottage cheese with fruit mixed in, salad with poached salmon on top, and a whole-wheat pita with low-fat cheese, tomato and lettuce.

Cardio

Close-up of a young man using a skipping rope
Jumping rope 3 to 4 days a week will help create a stomach of iron. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

In order to see your six pack, the fat that dwells in front of it needs to be burned. Otherwise, you can have a stomach of iron that will never be seen. For this reason, cardio is just as important as ab exercises to get a prized six pack. It should be done for at least 45 to 60 minutes, 3 to 4 days a week at a high intensity. Examples of cardio routines are running, biking, swimming, stair stepping, rowing and jumping rope.

Exercises

Barbell, close-up of weights, elevated view
Dead lifting is another way to work your abs out by using them as a stabilizer. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Exercises to build a six pack involve more than the stomach. You should also do regular exercises where the abs are being called into play as stabilizers. This can give them a lot more work and get you a six pack faster. Full-body exercises like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and clean and presses are examples of these. Clean and presses are done by picking up a weighted barbell from the ground, holding at your chest for a second, then pressing it above your head. Ab exercises should recruit as much muscle fiber as possible. Exercises that can do this are bicycle crunches, planks, hanging knee raises and abdominal pull-ins, which are also called "jackknifes."

Expert Insight

a young man exercising on a exercise mat
Work out your abs within a reasonable manner and allow 48 hours for recovery. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The abs should be worked just like any other muscle. Working them every day is not going to create a six pack faster. What it is going to do is cause dysfunctional, sore abdominal muscles that are not given enough time to recover. The abs should be worked and rested for at least 48 hours just like any other muscles. The reps should be in the 15 to 25 range and you should perform four to six sets per exercise.

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