Whether you work out to pack on muscles, build a ripped physique or just to keep fit, chances are six-pack abs feature somewhere on your list of fitness goals. Building a six-pack is one of the best ways to garner respect from your fellow gym goers while at the same time gaining popularity with the opposite sex. However, it’s easier said than done—if you’re going to start a six-pack abs workout, you need to be prepared to put in a lot of hard work.
As with most long-term plans, gathering information is the first step. In an exclusive chat with MH India, multiple-time Personal Trainer of the Year Award winner, spokesperson and master trainer at the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and fitness author Jonathan Ross took the time to answer the most commonly-asked questions about building that elusive six-pack.
Q. What are the best exercises for getting six-pack abs?
There are a variety of exercises you can do that’ll help you sculpt that eye-popping six-pack. Devoting some time exclusively to core exercises like planks and mountain climbers is much more effective than doing hundreds of crunches each day. You don’t even need to be at the gym—abs can be trained in your own backyard too!
Here’s another hack to train your abs—bodyweight exercises like squats and deadlifts work your abs along with other muscles!
Q. What is the ideal sets and reps combination to follow?
Your abs workout depends on your ultimate goal. If better stability and back pain prevention is what you’re trying to achieve then high reps is the way to go. However, if it’s ripped abs that you’re looking for they need to stick out, which means the muscles need to grow. That’s where weighted exercises with low reps need to be included into your workout. Low reps (less than 15 or so) are best for building strength in the abs. Don’t take it easy on your body though—keep the challenge high to get the best out of your low reps.
Q. How often do abs need to be trained?
For most people, training abs a little every day is the best option.
Q. What is the ideal diet chart for six-pack abs?
A healthy, balanced diet is the basic requirement to build six-pack abs. Foods low in processed and refined carbohydrates should occupy the major portion of your plate. Make sure little to no alcohol or other sugary drinks should accompany your healthy meals! Look for whole grain foods that contain high-fiber carbs.
Q. How effective is fasting cardio for six-pack abs?
Exercising in a ‘fasting’ state can be effective, but not for everyone. Its effects are small enough that not everyone should feel like they have to do it. It all depends on personal preference. Try it, and if you enjoy it and it works, then do it.
Q. What do you need to do if you’ve been training religiously but haven’t been seeing the results you wanted?
First of all, make sure you have a clear fitness goal in mind. Taking action is easier when we have clarity on what we are doing and why. If we do not have a clear objective and why it matters, it gets harder to maintain the consistency. Clarity of the objective usually removes the obstacles of uncertainty.
Remember to switch up your workouts at regular intervals too. Either longer duration, more resistance, a faster speed, more range of motion, or a different workout structure (varying sets, reps, etc.), there are loads of variables you can tweak. Many times, it almost doesn’t matter what you change as long as you change something to give the body a new stimulus.
Don’t go overboard with your variations though. Variety is important, but not too much. Changing something every three to six weeks is good but it’s a bad idea to change things every single workout as you never get better at anything. Consistently working on something for a while and then changing is best.
Now that you have all the knowledge you need, craft your own gym exercises for abs, supplement them with an effective six-pack nutrition plan and you’ll soon see the results you’ve desired for so long!