3 Things Stopping you From Getting Six Pack Abs

Many people assume that the road to six-pack abs is paved with hundreds upon hundreds of crunches. Those late night infomercials would have you believe that all you need to do is purchase their overpriced gimmick and use it three times a week to get the ripped, sexy midsection you dream of.

Save your money and abandon the crunch because there are far more efficient ways of earning rock hard abs. In fact, the things that you don’t do are just as important as the things you do. There are three major lifestyle changes you will need to make if you want abs to envy.

A Poor Diet Prevents Six Pack Abs

Diet is by far the biggest factor when it comes to seeing that six pack. You can do crunches until you’re literally blue in the face, but if your diet is less than nearly perfect, you will never see the effects of any exercise. People that have obvious abs haven’t necessarily worked them harder; they have just dialled in their diet with more discipline.

Depending on which professional you ask, you will likely be told that diet is about eighty percent responsible when it comes to fat loss. In order to see those abs, you will need to be lean and the leaner the better. You simply cannot work off the fat no matter how much or how hard you work out if your diet is filled with junk or excessive in calories.

Too Much Sugar Will Prevent a Six Pack

Sugar is simply poison when it comes to fat loss. Not only does sugar add excess empty calories, it creates a huge spike in blood sugar. When blood sugar rises, it causes a large amount of insulin to be released from the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for fat storage and too much insulin will only result in more efficient fat storage.

Not only does excess insulin promote the storage of fat, it seems to prefer to store that fat predominantly in the belly. Obviously this is a double-edged sword if your goal is to have washboard abs.

You will need to eliminate, or at the very least, cut down drastically on the amount of simple sugars you consume. This means avoiding sweets like cookies, candies, cakes, as well as juice, soda and other sugary beverages like mochaccinos and caramel lattes.

Try using stevia as a sweetener in place of table sugar. Stevia is an all natural sweetener that is very low in calories, sugar free and void of harmful chemicals found in other sweeteners.

Too Many Processed Foods

Processed foods like instant rice, white bread, packaged and pre-made meals are as much your enemy as sugar is. The more processed a food is, the less nutritious it is. Processed and refined products have been stripped of their goodness in the name of convenience. Not only are they loaded with harmful chemicals, dyes and preservatives, they are also detrimental to our physique.

When processed foods are consumed, blood sugar levels spike, much in the way they do when we consume a high sugar meal or snack. Since many processed foods are also high in sugar, this produces even more of a negative effect. In response, insulin levels rise and fat is stored.

As with excess sugar in our diets, a lifestyle that relies on instant and packaged foods will result in a higher percentage of body fat, both ugly subcutaneous fat and dangerous visceral fat. Visceral fat is the type that resides around the organs and is known to increase health risks like heart disease and stroke.

Not only will a diet rich in these two poisons potentially create a number of illnesses, it will also make it nearly impossible to see the abs that are so desired. As stated previously, the appearance of the six-pack is directly related to a person’s percentage of body fat. In order to see a ripped midsection, you absolutely must peel off the layers of pudge.

Complacency in your Workouts

It happens to all of us from time to time. We get complacent and perhaps a bit lazy with our workouts. Perhaps it’s boredom, or a hectic schedule or maybe an illness that’s zapped your energy. Whatever the reason may be, you’ll need to make some changes, ignite that motivation and put some extra effort into your workouts if you want to earn those abs.

Applying full intensity to your workouts is the only way you’ll burn all the necessary calories it takes to lean out while simultaneously sculpting a perfect six-pack. A well designed, balanced workout program is what you’ll need on paper but the effort put forth is all on you.

Doing hundreds of sit ups a day is inefficient when it comes to sculpting abs. Along with your full body resistance programs and possibly interval training, you will need to add a core component to your workouts that is balanced, effective and intense.

This means working the whole core in all directions, rotations and planes of motion. Exercises like planks, T stab push ups and side planks need to be put together with things like the hyperextension, woodchop, hanging leg raise and the bicycle to really round things out and work every part of the core, in all kinds of ways.

Living in a State of Stress

Stress has a huge impact on both our health and our appearance. While stress is a normal, unavoidable part of life, it needs to be managed in appropriate ways if we plan to stay lean and healthy.

Excess stress causes an increase in production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is known to cause a rise in the release of insulin, which as we now know is responsible for the storage of fat. To make matters worse, cortisol also appears to have a preference for abdominal fat storage. Exactly what you don’t want if your goal is a washboard tummy.

The methods of managing stress are the same as the methods of eliminating belly fat. Consuming a diet rich in whole foods, veggies, fruits, healthy fats and lean protein, along with a workout program that is balanced, consistent and intense are both ways to lean out and reduce stress triggers simultaneously.

Eliminating processed foods and sugars from the diet has also been shown to help reduce the symptoms of stress and depression by regulating both hormones and neurotransmitters.

Six Pack Summary

There really is nothing top secret about getting a six-pack. It’s all about feeding your body well, working hard and keeping balance in your life so that you ward off stress to your best ability. Treat your body well, give it what it needs and you’ll be turning heads on the beach in no time.

The Anatomy of Six Pack Abs

The abdominals offer more to life than just a sexy, washboard look. While seeing definition in your abs is certainly a sign of leanness, they play a huge role in the simple functions and tasks that we perform numerous times throughout the day.

Understanding the anatomy of the abdominals will lead to a more efficient workout, greater gains in core strength and give you a midsection to be envied.

Rectus Abdominus

This is the section that is known as the six-pack or more accurately the eight-pack. If you’re lean enough, you’ll see them and this is what most of us strive for.

The rectus abdominus is a long sheath like muscle that runs from the pubic bone all the way up to the middle of the rib cage. While it is in fact one muscle, it appears to be sectioned into four parts on either side of the torso. It is simply tendinous creases that create this appearance, allowing for the washboard, or eight pack look.

The two halves on either side are separated by a strong tendinous sheath called the linea alba. This creates even more definition. The appearance of separation becomes greater with further decreases in body fat.

The rectus abdominus is responsible for flexion and lateral flexion of the trunk. Flexing of the spinal column and bringing the pelvis towards the upper torso as well as side to side bending are the primary functions of this muscle. It also aids in stabilizing the trunk when the head is lifted during a supine positioned exercise.

Numerous exercises will strengthen the rectus abdominus but one of the best is the Bicycle exercise. The bicycle exercise involves all of the primary functions of the rectus abdominus including forward and lateral flexion and trunk stabilization as the head is kept off of the ground.

1)     Begin by lying in a supine position with hands clasped loosely behind the head for support.

2)     Lift the head and shoulders off of the ground for the duration of the exercise while bringing the knees in towards the chest.

3)     Alternate bringing the left knee towards the right shoulder and vice versa, in controlled movements.

4)     Continue pedalling in this manner for a prescribed number of reps.

External Oblique

The external oblique runs from the mid rib cage down to the pubic crest on the far sides of the rectus abdominus. The fibres of this muscle run diagonally along the side of the body.

The external obliques are responsible for both flexion and lateral flexion of the trunk, lateral flexion of the spine, rotation of the ribs and pelvis and tilting of the pelvis.

Any unilateral movement or rotational core exercise will work the external obliques well. One of the best is the Side Plank.

1)     Begin by lying on the floor on your side with your head and torso propped up by your elbow.

2)     The elbow should be directly under the shoulder to ensure proper positioning.

3)     While keeping the entire core tight and engaged, lift the hips off the floor so that the body is in a straight line.

4)     Hold this position for as long as possible while maintaining proper form by staying solid and not letting the hips drop.

5)     Repeat on the opposite side.

Internal Oblique

The internal obliques are a smaller, much deeper set of muscles that lie underneath the external obliques. The internal and external obliques run at opposite angles to each other. The external form a V shape, while the internal form an inverted V.

The functions of the internal obliques are much the same as the external. They play a role in flexion, lateral flexion, rotation and compressing the abdomen. The same exercises will strengthen both types of obliques. One effective option is the Diagonal Cable Chop.

1)     Begin by standing at a cable or pulley machine or even with an exercise band hooked on to a stable post above shoulder level.

2)     With arms extended to the side of the body and angled slightly overhead, clasp the handle of the band or cable.

3)     Contract the abs and keep the core tight as you pull the band from one side of the body to the other while simultaneously squatting and lowering the hands, bringing them in to the opposite foot.

4)     Keeping the core tight, return to the starting position and perform a prescribed number of reps.

5)     After completing reps on one side, set up for the opposite side and repeat.


The transverse abdominal muscle lies deep within the abdomen and runs around the body from front to back like a thick belt. It acts something like a corset, responsible for holding all of the organs in place and assisting with things like breathing, coughing and sneezing.

The transverse abdominals are difficult to target through exercise, as they are a muscle that acts as a support to basic bodily functions and not necessarily movement.

The best way to activate the transverse is through an exercise that requires a great amount of stability and balance through the core. Try a rotating T Stab Push Up.

1)     Begin in the standard push up position. Keep the core tight through entire exercise.

2)     After completing the push up, once back in the starting position lift the left arm, keeping it straight and rotate the arm and torso to the left all the way to 90 degrees.

3)     Return to starting position and repeat on the right side. Alternate back and forth between right and left for a prescribed number of reps.

Erector Spinae

The muscles of the erector spinae run along the entire midline of the back. They are deep muscles that are responsible for supporting and protecting the spine, keeping us erect and flexing the spine. These muscles can be felt as bulges that run down the spine on either side.

Although they are often not thought of as part of the abdominal muscles, they are a crucial component in core strength. Without the necessary support that the erector spinae offer, we would not be able to move the trunk or perform any of the basic abdominal exercises.

Weak erector spinae muscles can contribute to back pain and poor posture, which makes strengthening them a crucial aspect of a training program. Try adding Hyper Extensions to your routine.

1)     Begin by lying face down on the floor with arms stretched out straight in front of the head.

2)     Raise the right arm and left leg simultaneously and hold for a few seconds before lowering to starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.

3)     Continue alternating sides for a prescribed number of reps.

Putting it Together

Try adding these simple, yet very effective exercises to your program if you’re looking for a well rounded, complete core workout. You’ll improve core strength, stamina and function while sculpting and toning that much desired six pack.