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How to Get Six Pack Abs

Tips and tricks to uncover your hidden six pack abs


Updated May 16, 2014

Everyone wants "Six Pack Abs." While it's not always easy to get strong, sexy abdominal muscles, you can find your inner six pack, or at least a strong, toned, and flat belly, when you combine healthy eating, with a solid fitness routine that includes endurance, strength and specific exercises for your abs and core.

1. Clean Up Your Diet

Pea shoot salad
Patricia Granlund/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

The first step to finding your six pack is to clean up your diet. If you want to see your ab muscles, you need to decrease your overall body fat. Get rid of processed "junk" foods, sugars and processed carbs. Eat more vegetables, nuts, and fruits, organic lean protein and healthy fats, such as olive oil, fish oils, and avocados. Try eating several small meals each day and avoid late night snacking. Eat some protein for breakfast, lots of vegetables, fruits, and fiber and drink water rather than calorie-laden beverages. Don't cut calories drastically or you could inadvertently lower your metabolism. Bottom line: eat more high quality, nutrient rich foods and eat fewer empty, processed calories.

2. Add High Intensity Training

Stair running workout
Inti St. Clair / Getty Images
If you want to get fit faster, and burn more calories in less time, don't spend all your time in the so called fat-burning zone. Instead, add some High Intensity Training (HIT) to your workouts a couple times each week. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you can burn more calories in less time with short, high intensity exercise. You can also boost your overall cardiovascular fitness with this type of training. Be sure to slowly ramp up your intensity, however, or you could wind up with an injury.

3. Perform Regular Cardiovascular Exercise

Lance Armstrong
Photo (c) Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Aerobic exercise is one of the safest ways to burn lots of calories over a long period of time while you maintain heart health and tone muscles. Simply modifying your diet or reducing your calories without exercise will lead to initial weight loss, but you'll likely reach a plateau and you may also lose muscle. A personal exercise plan that has a solid base of cardiovascular exercise will help you maintain exercise for the long-term, help you get past weight loss plateaus and can help you maintain your muscle mass. So get out for a nice long walk, a hike, a bike ride or a swim on a regular basis. Park the car and walk for most of your errands and just get moving more often.

4. Build More Muscle

Barbell Squat Exercise
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Strength training is an essential part of most fitness routines, but if you want a six pack, building more muscle can help. Strength training with weight lifting not only helps build muscle, boost metabolism and increase muscle definition, but it is a great way to burn lots of calories in a short time. Strengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments also helps reduce strain on the joints which ultimately can help prevent many sports injuries.

5. Perform Ab & Core Exercises

Yoga for Strong Abs
Christoph Wilhelm / Getty Images
Once you've reduced the layer of body fat to the point where you can find your six pack, performing specific ab and core strengthening exercises will makes them much more visible. Once you understand how to safely exercise your abs, you'll find core exercises are most effective when the torso works as a solid unit and both front and back muscles contract at the same time, and you perform multi joint movements.

6. Do The Plank Exercise

Plank - Hover - Exercise 250
E. Quinn

How to do it:

The plank can help you find you six-pack. Learn how to do it properly and maintain a straight line from ears to toes. Hold it for 10 seconds and over time build up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds.

7. Do Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle Crunch
E. Quinn

The bicycle crunch is another great core exercise that egages many muscles at once to help work the core in every possible way.

8. Do The Vertical Knee Raise

Captains Chair Exercise Photo
E Quinn

The Vertical Knee Raise (or Captain's Chair) exercise does require some gym equipment, so check around your health club and give it a try.

9. Do Crunches on an Exercise Ball

Crunch on the exercise ball
Allan Danahar / Getty Images

These days everyone probably has an exercise ball at home, so thre is no reason not to try this exercise.


10. Play Sports That Build a Six Pack

Volleyball Player Kerri Walsh
Nick Laham / Getty Images

One of the best ways to get six pack abs is by playing sports that burn the fat and engage the core naturally. Athletes who play sports that naturally engage both the upper and lower body in powerful, repetitive movements have a great six pack as a by-product of playing a sport they love. Why not get your six pack while having fun?

  1. About.com
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  4. Abdominal / Core Exercises
  5. How to Get Six Pack Abs and a Flat Belly

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