The desire to have a fit, toned physique and defined 6-pack abs may seem out of reach, but it’s actually an attainable goal – if you’re willing to put in the work to reach that goal you too can develop 6-pack abs. Washboard abdominals do not come easily to most, and the straightforward fact is that you’ll have to work hard to achieve and maintain that chiseled midsection.
Here are 8 lifestyle and training strategies you can use to make the trip to Shreds-Ville that much easier.
1. Pump up the Cardio
You don’t have to be an endurance runner to get more cardio in. Actually, contrary to popular belief, long-distance running will work against your 6-pack visions and break down the muscle tissue you’re trying to build. There are ways to get your heart pumping and carve out a defined midsection, including resistance training circuits and complexes using your bodyweight – think gym-style boot camps.
2. HIIT It!
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is key to getting in that essential cardio, but doing it in a way that doesn’t work against your goals. HIIT workouts aim to get your heartbeat pumping at 80 beats minimum, typically for anywhere from 1-5 minutes, with rest periods interwoven between intervals. Although HIIT workouts can be quite intense, they won’t take up too much time. Most effective HIIT sessions are only about 20 minutes, so you’re really only doing about four or five intense, high-cardio intervals.
3. Work Those Abs
Not shockingly, you’ll actually have to exercise your abdominal muscles to get them toned up and rock hard. But, some exercises are much more effective than others and will get you to your goal a lot faster. We’ll outline a few of the best exercises below, but for more info also check out our Top 10 Best Abs Exercises series.
Here are just a few of the best ab exercises that should be included in your routine to develop 6-pack abs:
- Bicycles: An oldie but a goodie, this move has stood the test of time for one reason – it works! Laying on the floor with your hands behind your head – but not pulling on your head – lift your shoulders up using your abs. Then bring your knees up to a 45-degree angle and start cycling your legs as though you were riding a bike, reaching your opposite elbow to your knee with each circle.
- Ab wheel rollouts: You’ll need an ab wheel for this one, but it’s highly effective in getting your core working. On your knees, hang on to your ab roller and slowly roll it out as far as you’re able to – this distance should increase over time. Using your abs, pull the roller back towards your knees.
- V-sit ups: This move combines ab strength with balance and endurance. Laying on your back, you’ll first lift your legs up to 45 degrees. Arms straight out in front of you, you then will bring your torso and legs closer together, maintaining straight legs and a straight back. Hold your position for a few seconds then slowly return to laying flat.
- Russian Twist: Grab your medicine ball and sit on the ground with knees bent and feet flat. You want your back straight but angled back at about 45 degrees. Holding your medicine ball, twist back and forth in a smooth and controlled motion. Want even more of a challenge? Pick those feet up off the floor and keep moving!
- Medicine ball sit & toss: You will need a partner for this one, but having a partner to work out with can be highly motivating, so it’s the perfect opportunity to help and inspire each other to keep working hard. On your back with knees bent and a medicine ball in hand, you’ll do a sit-up while tossing the ball to your partner. As you hold your sit-up position, your partner catches and tosses the ball back for you to catch and slowly return back to laying.
- Leg throws: Since you’ve got your workout partner, you may as well take advantage! Laying on your back with legs raised straight to the sky, your partner will stand over your shoulders. Hang onto their legs for support while they toss your legs from side to side, down to the ground. They’ll have to be aggressive for it to be effective, but don’t let your legs touch the ground!
4. Eat Your Proteins
When you increase your protein intake, not only are you helping to build and repair muscle tissues, but you’re also consuming fewer calories while giving yourself a more satisfying feeling of fullness. Protein-rich foods are not hard to come by and are easily added to any diet to enhance meals or replace high-calorie foods.
5. Drink More Water
Water is life, but when it comes to carving your 6-pack abs, the importance of water cannot be underestimated. Not only will it help with burning fat, but it’ll also help decrease your appetite and speed up weight loss. While the amount of water recommended will vary for each person, it’s generally recommended to get at least 1-2 liters per day.
6. Cut Out the Junk Food
While processed food is usually the easier option for a quick snack or meal, in the end, it’s only working against your goals. If you’re having trouble finding the time to prepare fresh foods for each meal, you may want to look into setting yourself up for success by meal prepping for the week or even signing up for a meal kit subscription.
7. Refined Carbs Need to Go
Yes, they are delicious, but refined carbs are directly linked to increases in weight and belly fat. Replacing those refined carbs with something more nutritionally rich can help prevent spikes and crashes in your blood sugar levels, reduce your waistline and let your rock-hard abs come through.
8. Don’t Forget Your Fiber!
One of the easiest ways to drop weight is to simply add more high-fiber foods to your meals. And, there are so many options when it comes to high-fiber choices, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts. You’ll feel fuller for longer while consuming fewer calories and preventing weight gain.
Chiseling your midsection to reveal your rockhard, defined abs is hard work – but it’s not impossible. Make a plan, set yourself up for success, and get started on your path to develop 6-pack abs.
About the Author
He assists companies in their marketing strategy concepts and contributes to numerous sites and publications. He is also a regular contributing writer at Origin Writings.