What You Should Know About Getting 6-Pack Abs

6-pack abs help you maintain excellent posture, prevent injuries, alleviate lower back pain and enhance athletic performance. However, simply doing crunches or sit-ups isn't enough to give you the defined midsection you crave. What you need is a holistic approach to fitness which is inclusive of reducing body fat, building muscle and incorporating intense cardio, pilates and some yoga-inspired exercises to build that sculpted look.

Yes, it does require a lot of strength training to build up abdominal muscles, but when we say 6-pack abs, it’s just one muscle and not six. The rectus abdominis is in your belly area stretched from right to left across the muscle. So, when you wish to get the 6-pack abs, you have to focus on reducing the body fat in the belly area to develop the rectus abdominis muscle. Once, it’s developed, you see the muscle between each identification giving it a look of six packs.

6-pack abs aren't just made in the gym, the real work starts in the kitchen. There are several factors which may contribute to giving you that chiselled look, but before we dive into the physical training, let us understand some other important aspects too.

Diet for 6-pack Abs

To get six-pack abs, you need to lower your body fat percentage and this could be done by eating healthy and doing cardio. To burn your body fat, you need to consume fewer calories than burned. Though you need a caloric deficit, it's equally important to have a healthy diet.

Here are some tips for a healthy diet while you work towards a six-pack−

  • Consume lean protein − Your body can gain lean proteins through sources like legumes, chicken, fish, pork, lamb, dairy products, nuts and seeds. When you consume lean proteins they promote satiety and aid your body to repair and rebuild muscle tissue after your workout.

  • Whole grains − You can choose whole grains over refined carbohydrates. These carbs contain less fibre, vitamins and minerals and cannot help in maintaining a healthy diet.

  • Increase fruits and vegetables − These are rich sources of fibre and nutrients.

  • Healthy snacks − Always carry healthy snacks with you to avoid the temptation of consuming junk food.

  • Hydration − You need to drink at least three to four litres of water per day and keep your body hydrated.

  • Avoid overeating − Keep an eye on your portion size to avoid overeating.

Along with the right eating, timing is equally important. Three to four hours before a workout, you can eat meals which are high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat. Also, having high carbohydrates snacks one to two hours before training can be beneficial too. Having snacks within one hour and a meal within two hours after training which has protein and carbohydrates may help you maintain to curb your hunger while maintaining your health.

Exercises for 6-pack Abs

If you need to build your rectus abdominis, you need to design a proper workout plan with the help of a fitness expert. You will need to build your abs with some exercises and concentrate on muscles to get the desired look.

Focus on Every Single Muscle

Muscles require energy to contract and hence, you burn calories when you exercise. Hence, you shouldn't neglect a single inch of your body and build your workouts around complex, multijoint movements. Squats, deadlifts and cleans may challenge your hamstrings, glutes and quads along with your core and abs to maintain stability and elevate your metabolism.

Advanced Abdominal Strengtheners

Performing advanced abdominal exercises is always helpful for getting those 6-pack abs. Jack-knives, oblique medicine ball slams, hanging knee tucks and hanging L-sits are some of the advanced exercises which could be performed for three rounds of each exercise by devoting 30 to 40 seconds per round.

Furthermore, using a TRX suspension trainer for roll-out exercise and performing the body saw may activate the rectus abdominis muscle. You can do the abdominal exercises five times a week or as per your instructor’s advice.

Core Exercises

Core exercises strengthen the underlying abdominal muscles and boost your metabolism so that you can burn calories even while at rest. By building a strong core, you can lower the body fat percentage and maintain balance and stability. Pilate exercises like roll-up, teaser and rollover work on the entire group of abdominal muscles.

Plank and its variations teach how to make your core stiff and that's a vital skill you need for almost every exercise. Even though it may appear boring or easy after some time, it allows you to focus on keeping your spine aligned and squeeze your core and glutes. This activates your muscles and results in fat loss.

Some other beneficial lower body exercises may include heel tap, leg lower, side plank dips, Russian twists, mountain climbers and oblique crunch. These abdominal training exercises can be performed using a combination of body weight and weighted movements twice a week.


Cardio is an excellent choice to achieve a low body fat percentage which is the key to having 6-pack abs. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of cardio which has short bursts of intense activities to promote fat burning and boost metabolism.

Aerobic exercises which elevate your heartbeat can also help you to lose the fat tissue under the skin and above the muscle. A solid 20 minutes of cardio inclusive of running or spinning can be carried out before going for 15 minutes of HIIT exercises. HIIT training may comprise skipping rope, squat jumps, treadmill or sprinting on a bike.

Always Keep the Body Moving

For getting those perfect 6-pack abs your goal should be to engage your body in maximum physical work in the designated workout time. That's the reason; trainers implement certain strategies like supersets and circuits.

Straight sets

This is a traditional weight-training strategy in which you have to complete all the sets of a particular exercise before moving on to the next exercise.

Alternating sets

This strategy includes alternating between exercises using two non-competing movements. For example, your trainer can pair an upper body exercise like a pushup or bench press with a lower body exercise like a deadlift to emphasize the front side as well as backside muscles. The central idea is to engage your muscles constantly and cut your rest time to avail maximum benefit.


This strategy is similar to alternating sets, except that there are three or more exercises included in one circuit. Your trainer may allow you to take a rest of 5-10 seconds after each exercise in the circuit or after the last exercise depending on your body’s stamina. A 2011 study conducted in Spain found that circuits and alternating sets can help you do more total sets in the same sweat session as compared to straight sets.


The right combination of a healthy diet and an exercise routine can help you reach your 6-pack abs goal. Your workout plan should comprise strength and core exercises along with cardio and your diet should include lean protein, whole grains and vegetables. Rather than getting a six-pack for aesthetic purposes, focus on getting them for a healthy lifestyle.