Originally posted on https://www.masculinedevelopment.com/how-to-get-six-pack-abs/
As I’m sure you know by this point, there’s a lot of bullshit in the fitness industry. Everyone claims that they have their own special ab workout routine, that will get you a six pack for only $19.95!
The truth is that getting a six pack is a lot more nuanced than just doing some routine. Obviously doing a routine helps, but ultimately you’re going to have to do much more.
Don’t believe me? Look at the cover image of article—it’s a fitness eBook with me on the cover. Not to sound like a dick, but based off of my physique I think I know what I’m talking about here.
In this article I will attempt to break down the most effective way to build a six pack from scratch—the good news is that it’s not as hard as you might think.
First: Bodybuilding LIES
The first thing you need to do is lower your expectations. Realize that every single picture you see in bodybuilding magazines took months to prepare for. This is the type of stuff that the bodybuilding community wants to keep you from realizing.
Before a photoshoot, it isn’t uncommon for bodybuilders to dehydrate themselves for 10 days straight; this is how they get their abs to pop so nicely. In addition to this, they’re playing around with extreme versions of carb-cycling to make their abs pop even more.
This, combined with a shit ton of steroids, perfect lighting, flexing and blowing out air until you feel like you’re going to puke, plus probably some photo shopping, has most guys thinking that these professional bodybuilders just walk around like this all the time.
They don’t. The fact of the matter though, is that it doesn’t even matter. Girls don’t even find a 2% bodyfat six pack attractive—they would much rather have a defined, lean body with a nice ab outline.
Once you realize that 99% of the pictures of shredded guys out there are total bullshit, you can start to set some realistic goals.
How to Get Abs (The #1 Most Important Thing)
Building a six pack comes down to several things, but the most important component of this plan is having your diet down. If you’re at 25% bodyfat, it doesn’t matter how many crunches or “one simple tricks” you use. Your abs won’t show.
I recommend that you start off by dieting and working out until your bodyfat gets down to around 15%. If you don’t know what this looks like, see the chart below.
From here, it’s best to start doing a workout routine that has at least some compound lifts in it. Body of an Alpha is a great place to start, because it combines strength training with hypertrophy, so you get the best of both worlds.
In addition to this, however, you should also be doing specific abdominal exercises that attack your abs on two fronts: strength and hypertrophy. This is absolutely crucial, in my opinion, for building a nice six pack.
If you don’t do any one of these, your six pack will either be nonexistent or will be sub-par.
The Six Pack Abs Diet
As I have discussed before, the Bulletproof Diet is probably the best diet to lose weight. It’s also great for building muscle, if you learn to add in some strategic carbohydrates.
There’s an old bodybuilder saying that goes like this: “Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.” There is an enormous amount of truth to this statement, because unless you’re at a low bodyfat percentage, your abs won’t show.
It’s really that simple. Forget trying all of these crazy routines and supplements that claim to give you a six pack, just get your diet down! Start eating healthy and you’ll notice that the pounds will melt away.
You don’t even have to follow the bulletproof diet, either—remember, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. You can follow the traditional bodybuilder’s diet where you eat every 2-4 hours. You can do intermittent fasting, where you fast for 8 hours a day.
Or, you can follow any one of the other myriad of diets out there. Personally I recommend the Bulletproof Diet above all else, but again, the choice is yours. Just get down to a relatively low level of bodyfat.
Compound Lifts For Abs
While you’re dieting down, I recommend that you do a workout routine based around compound lifts. The reason for this is that you can actually get a decent six pack just from doing compound lifts.
Why? Well, have you ever tried squatting 300 pounds? Or dead lifting 4 plates? If not, it’s pretty fucking hard. You have to use basically every single muscle in your body, especially your abs—they help to stabilize you, so that you don’t topple over onto one side.
In other words, doing compound lifts works your abs indirectly. They get engaged as “stabilizer muscles,” or muscles that help you balance the weight.
A great routine for this would be Starting Strength, because it’s entirely based around compound lifts. Just from doing heavy squats, overhead presses, and deadlifts, you’ll start to notice a slight ab outline.
In fact, back when I used to do Starting Strength, I was extremely surprised—I started to see abs! I had no idea that you could get abs (even if they weren’t very defined) from just doing compound lifts.
Once I release Body of an Alpha, I recommend you use it over Starting Strength, however—it combines mass training with strength training, so you not only get strength, but also a balanced, proportionate body.
This is one of the problems that people have with Starting Strength and other only-compound-lifts based routines: yes, you get strong as hell, but some of your muscles don’t get worked that much.
Regardless, if you’re just trying to get into working out, Starting Strength is still a great place to begin—don’t get too worried about the specific routine just yet. What’s important is that you get moving.
My Personal Ab Workout
Okay, so once you get down to around 15% bodyfat and you’re doing a lot of compound lifts, consider adding in some abdominal specific exercises on your off days or leg days (if you’re doing a split).
If you want to get a really chiseled set of abs, you should absolutely be doing an ab-specific routine.
Most ab routines, however, are complete junk—they’re basically just a bunch of crunches and sit ups, which don’t really hit your abs from all angles. If you want the best six pack possible, you need to train your abs for two things:
Your abs are primarily an endurance muscle, so most of my routine is centered around building endurance—abs respond best to high repetition, low weight exercises.
But, this isn’t to say that you should neglect weighted ab exercises entirely. Personally, I found that when I added in some weighted ab exercises my abs popped almost immediately.
Here is my personal ab routine that I used to get a six pack for my photoshoot:
- Day 1
- Rope crunches 3×12
- Weighted incline sit ups 3 sets to failure
- Bent leg raises 3×12
- Bicycles 2 sets for 60 seconds
- Day 2
- Rope crunches 3×8
- Weighted incline sit ups 2 sets to failure
- Knee raises 3×15
- Exercise ball crunches: 3×15
The reason that this ab workout routine works so well is because it combines strength training with hypertrophy training for your abs. The rope crunches and weighted incline sit ups are both weighted exercises, which will give your abs strength and density.
The other exercises involve no weight and higher repetitions, which will give your abs size. You want both of these if you want to have a really nice, chiseled six pack.
As a side note, when I do the weighted incline sit ups to failure, that basically means I grab a weight, hold it behind my head, and do incline sit ups until I can’t do anymore. Then, for the next set, I do the same thing except I use a lighter weight.
So, for example, I might do the first set with a 25 pound weight. Then, once I can’t do any more, I rest, and do my next set with a 10 pound weight. Then, maybe I’ll do a 5 pound weight for the final set.
This hits your abs on all frontiers. They will be sore as FUCK after this routine, and some of you won’t even be able to get through it.
But, I guarantee that if you try it and stick with it, you’ll have a shredded six pack in no time. If you can’t get through all of it, then just do what you can. Slowly, but surely, your body will adapt.
Supplements For Six Pack Abs
To be honest, no supplements are really going to help you get abs…directly. Some might help indirectly though, by speeding up fat loss—these are called fat burners.
One fat burner that’s pretty good is Red Burner. It’s got some pretty powerful ingredients, but it’s not so loaded with caffeine and stimulants that you get jittery and can’t focus (like Xenadrine and other fat burners).
It’s got a good dose of caffeine and green tea extract to increase metabolism and blunt hunger, some N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine to improve your mood and focus, and a few other ingredients that work very synergistically together.
Also consider following some of my tips for shredding fat. You can follow the Bulletproof Diet, do intermittent fasting, take cold showers, and do HIIT if you want to speed up the process.
Aside from Red Burner I wouldn’t really recommend any other supplements. A lot of fat burners are semi-dangerous and not even worth the time or effort. I remember a while back I tried an ECA stack, which is ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin—I felt like I was going to have a fucking heart attack half the time.
Don’t do this type of shit, it’s not worth it. Losing fat is a slow and steady battle, not a race—and besides, losing 1 pound a day is very fast as it is. You didn’t get fat overnight and you’re not going to lose 50 pounds overnight, either.
Do Abs Help You Get Girls?
To be honest, being shredded is a great way to pick up girls…if you have your shirt off. Obviously having wide shoulders and just having a nice body in general will show through clothing, so this will help you pull girls overall.
But if you’re talking about abs specifically, the only way that they’d help your game is if you’re approaching girls at the pool, on the beach, or on a hot summer’s day when your shirt is off.
That being said, if you can approach girls when your shirt is off, having abs is extremely powerful.
I’ve even gone to the pool several times and had girls literally just invite me over to sit next to them. They just see me walking around and can’t resist inviting me over. It feels pretty good.
From here it’s just a matter of learning to effectively chat with them, flirt with them, and number close them. Having abs will definitely help, but ultimately you need to have enough game to seal the deal.
Summary: How to Get Six Pack Abs
Overall, getting a six pack is a lot easier than you’d think. Just get down to around 15% bodyfat, follow a workout routine that’s got some compound lifts in it, and start doing my ab routine.
As you lose more and more fat, your abs will show more and more. By 12% they’ll be very noticeable, and by 8% they’ll be popping. I wouldn’t try to diet much below this, however, because it’s not the healthiest thing to do (although a lot of guys do it temporarily for photoshoots).
Remember: if you’re trying to get shredded for women, you still need to learn game. Yes, having nice abs plus a jacked physique will definitely HELP you, but it won’t do all of the work. If you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, be sure to let me know. And as always, I’ll see you next time.