Monday, December 18, 2017

It’s not just impressive on the beach (although it’s certainly that) but a sign of a strong, functional body. Follow this guide for eight weeks to earn yours. In this definitive guide to getting a six-pack, we’ll share the five commandments to follow if you want a solid six-pack, a training plan that replaces sit-ups with spine-healthy core builders, a seven-day meal plan to help fuel your efforts, and tips to help keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders, all day

How To Get A Six-Pack

1. Train with “anti” movements

Your core does its best work when resisting movement, preventing you falling over when the train brakes. Modern core training focuses on such “anti” movements.

2. Work the whole unit

Your abs aren’t everything. Working your obliques, transverse abdominis and lower back will prevent imbalances and, as a side bonus, will let you lift bigger.

3. Use standing up exercises to hit your core from all angles

Real-life exertion rarely happens when you’re lying down, so the majority of moves in this plan don’t either. You’ll get used to using your core from all angles.

4. Eat better, not less

When it comes to food, calories are less important than quality. In this guide, we’ll show you how to eat for abs without starving yourself.

5. Reduce stress

The stress hormone cortisol causes you to store belly fat, so too much means you’ll never see your abs however hard you train. Eliminate it and see results faster.

Six-Pack Exercises

Windmill

Stand with your feet slightly apart, holding a kettlebell or heavy dumbbell overhead. Bend sideways at the hips, bringing one arm down your shin to keep your balance, keeping the dumbbell directly overhead with your arm locked. Stand up straight to finish the move. For more of a challenge, perform your windmills with an unloaded barbell.

Leg-elevated side plank

Get into a side plank with your weight supported on one hand or forearm and your feet stacked on top of each other (or both on the floor if that’s too difficult). Lift your top foot, keeping your body in a straight line, then lower to return to the start.

Three-point row

The one-arm row works your obliques well, but taking away the bench is an abs-torcher. Start in the top press-up position with your feet wide and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Row one dumbbell up to your armpit, pause, then lower. Try to complete all the reps without the dumbbell touching the ground, then repeat on the other side.

One-arm rack press-up

The Rocky-style one-arm press-up will work your obliques if you’ve got the strength to do it: if not, do this version. Start with your feet apart and one hand on a bench, table or barbell. Lower until you touch the surface with your chest, then press back up. Do all your reps on one side, then switch.

TRX Tuck Split

Get into a plank with your feet in the TRX loops and your hands on the floor. Bring your knees towards your chest, pause for a second, then lower and bring your feet out to the sides.

TRX Pike

With your feet in the TRX loops and your hands (still) on the floor, bend at the hips to bring your feet towards your head until you’re in an inverted V-shape. Pause for a second at the top, then lower.

Bent-arm leg raise

Hang from a bar with your arms bent at 90°. Raise your legs – knees bent if necessary, but preferably straight – pause at the top, then lower.

Plank walk-up

Start in the top press-up position in front of a box, bench or sofa, then “walk” one hand at a time up on to it, bracing your core. Walk back down, then start the next rep with the other hand. Want some
extra chest work? Add a press-up between each rep.

Six-Pack Training Plan

How should you train your abs? Simple: tackle one plane of motion a day. Add these mini-workouts to your existing routine, or do them separately.

Exercises designated 1A and 1B should be done as supersets. Complete all reps of 1A, then move straight on to 1B with minimal rest. Rest as indicated after completing all the reps of 1B, then start again.

Day 1: Anti-Extension

With these moves, you resist extension at your lumbar spine and build strength in your lower back.

1A Miyagi

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Get into a press-up position holding the handles of the suspension trainer. Think “wax on, wax off” and circle each hand outwards one at a time, keeping your abs tight. If you don’t have access to a suspension trainer, use a pair of small towels on a smooth floor.

1B Fall-out

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Get into a press-up position holding the handles of the suspension trainer, let your hands slide away from you above your head, keeping your core and glutes braced so you don’t fall too quickly. Pause at the top of the move, then reverse. Increase the challenge by moving your feet under the TRX anchor point.

Day 2: Anti-Rotation

The trick here is to resist torque on your torso, spurring your obliques into action.

1A Kneeling Pallof press

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Kneel on the floor holding a cable machine handle or one end of a resistance band in both hands close to your chest. Push out – you should feel resistance trying to tug you to the side. Pause for one second, then pull your hands back in. You can also do this move standing, or hold at full extension for extra isometric strength.

1B One-arm chest press

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Lie on a bench holding a dumbbell in one hand, angling it in slightly to protect your shoulders. Keeping your feet on the floor and your shoulder blades together and tight, press the dumbbell overhead. No bench? Do this move on the floor – but don’t support yourself with your free arm.

Day 3: Hip Flexion

This has gained a bad reputation in abs work, but done right – with a neutral spine – it will make you more efficient in any other movement. Here’s how to do it properly.

1A Gym ball roll-out

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Start in a tuck position with your shins on a gym ball. Push backwards until your legs are straight and your hands are in front of your shoulders, then brace your core to return to the start.

1B Stir-the-pot

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

With your forearms resting on a gym ball, move them slowly in a circle as if stirring a pot. Complete all the reps in one direction before reversing.

Day 4: Anti-Lateral Flexion

These moves resist sideways motion with your lower back – useful whether you’re carrying a suitcase or hoisting it into an overhead locker.

1 Landmine press

Sets 3 Reps 10 each side Rest 30sec

Wedge one end of a barbell into a corner or weight plate, then grip the other end in both hands. Press it overhead and turn slightly to one side, then the other.

2 Suitcase deadlift

Sets 3 Reps 5 each side Rest 45sec

Stand next to a heavy dumbbell, kettlebell or – if you’re feeling confident – barbell. Squat and grip it in one hand, then lift it as if you’re doing a deadlift, driving your hips forwards to stand up straight. To increase the challenge, switch to a suitcase carry. Walk 20m with the dumbbell, then switch hands.

NEXT: Seven-Day Abs Meal Plan