Albeit we wouldn’t quibble with Patrick Bateman in the arenas of business card design, his workout needs a tweak. That washboard pot is in spite of, rather than thanks to, a 1000-crunch-a-day regime that’s more likely to leave him with lumbar problems than a six-pack.
It’s flawed logic that sees a sit-up as the abs version of a bicep curl. It’s an understandable mistake; you curl a weight to pump your guns, so unquestionably it’s the same if you want to get a six-pack? But that ignores two important truths: one, your core is designed to hold you upright, not contract back and forth; two, everyone has a six-pack – it’s just buried beneath your gut.
And we’ll let you in on a little secret: a six-pack is, as the name puts, not one muscle. So it needs more than one exercise to reap results. “Some of the best six packs I’ve seen in the gym are carried by those who require not done a single crunch in their life,” says Peter Gaffney, founder of PGPT, London’s leading nimble personal training service.
“The answer, in short, is doing sit-ups has a very low calorie burn. Focus on nutrition and get those big consolidation movements going to give you that Baywatch six-pack look.”
Here’s how to switch up the traditional sit-up for the moves be showed to deliver that six-pack – without trading in your PT for a chiropractor with this ultimate diet and exercise chaperon.
The Six Pack Diet
Sadly, no matter how much the dedicated attendees of ‘Abs Blast’ classes want to believe, you can’t melt fat away from restricted characteristic of areas. When you burn calories, your body finds fuel from everywhere. And – sorry gents – men’s trunks choose to stockpile that extra energy around the middle. Right where your six-pack should be.
That’s why if you scarcity to burn fat and show the world your abs, a good diet is as important as exercise, if not more so. “They do say that abs are made in the Nautical galley for a reason,” says Sandy Macaskill, Barry’s Bootcamp co-founder and master trainer. “You could have the best abs in the enterprise but if they’re covered by a layer of fat, nobody’s going to know about it.”
What’s in Macaskill’s fridge, then?
“I don’t believe in ‘a victuals’ because something you start is by definition something you stop. Much better to make healthy choices part of your interminable lifestyle,” she recommends. “Cut down on alcohol. Drink more water. Eat smaller portions, more often.
“A simple day could look same this: scrambled eggs first thing, midmorning protein shake, baked salmon and sweet potato salad for lunch, afternoon nosh of trail mix, (and while it’s summer) barbecue some chicken and corn for supper and enjoy a glass of wine.”
That doesn’t reverberate too punishing now does it?
The Fat-Burning Six-Pack Workout
The most effective regime is one that focuses on total-body workouts, which throw as many calories – and as much fat – in as little time as possible.
It’s important that the exercises you choose work your marrow – the area from your above your hips to below your pecs – so when the fat starts clearing, firm abs start appearing. But equally that the exercises you choose tax bigger (and therefore more calorie-guzzling) muscles at the same linger.
Macaskill recommends some serious running training be incorporated into your program. “Interval sprints are a preposterous way of burning fat. Aim for short periods of rest and intense bursts of high intensity. Think how start-stop traffic burns the most nuclear fuel. Same deal here.
“To carry it further – the bigger the engine, the bigger the burn. Strength training is therefore decisive. A well designed strength programme helps create a ‘furnace effect’ and keeps you burning calories for up to 24 hours. That’s where you insufficiency to be.”
The Six-Pack Circuit
For these strengthening core-focused full-body exercises you’ll need a pull-up bar, a kettlebell (a dumbbell, or any weight on do as replacement) and some floor space. Take 30 seconds rest between each move, and two minutes between circuits.
Aim to do the perimeter five times over, three times a week. Can’t do that? Then complete as much as possible and work up to it. Any worry is better than none.
With arms a little more than shoulder-width apart, conduct the bar with an underhand grip. From a dead hang – that’s arms completely extended – pull yourself up until your chin is through the bar. Pause, then slowly lower yourself back down until you’re back in a dead hang. If your arms aren’t perpendicular, you’re cheating.
Why it works: Chin-ups target your big back and arm muscles, which ups your calorie burn. But by engaging your quintessence to keep your body locked in position, you also work your abs.
Pro tip: “By engaging the core your body discontinuances nice and firm and avoids any of those unwanted swinging movements which unnecessarily tires you out,” says Gaffney.
Declaration it hard to complete the reps? Don’t quit. Jump up to the top position of the move and slowly lower yourself down as slowly as feasible.
Reps: 10-12 (each side)
Set up in a push-up position, with your forearms loafers on the floor directly below your shoulders, and weight resting on your toes. Engage your core to harbour your torso flat – there should be a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
Slowly attract one knee towards the elbow on the same side of your body, using your core to keep your torso from misconstruing. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side. Get the name?
Why it works: Studies show that standard slabs are a good core move. This variation is a great core move. It keeps your heart rate up for proliferated fat-burning and works your obliques – those muscles at either side of your six-pack which you may recognise from Tyler Durden’s torso.
Pro tip: It’s not a compete with. Keep the movement controlled to increase the tension through your core and engage more muscle. And more muscle heralds a more defined six-pack. “The beauty of the plank is the amount of progression you can add the stronger and fitter you become,” adds Gaffney. “The spiderman board is at the top of those progressions with amazing strength being worked through the core.”
Toes To Bar
Hang from the bar with an overhand grasp. Keep your arms straight and engage your abs to lift your legs up, until they touch the bar. Drop them back down as slowly as possible.
Why it works: Your legs aren’t going anywhere without your marrow muscles supporting their weight. As that burning sensation in your lower abs confirms. The move also apprentices your big, fat-burning back muscles, to help torch the spare tyre that’s covering them.
Pro tip: It’s tempting to shift. Don’t. Bring yourself to a dead hang between each rep for the full, six-pack building benefit. “This is all about lever while. Get those legs straight to give your core a proper burn,” Gaffney adds.
Go on about a kettlebell – use whatever weight you feel comfortable with and increase it next time if it felt easy – by the handle with your elbows out to the sides, so the charge rests on your chest.
Squat down, keeping your chest puffed out and lowering down until your thighs are equivalent with the floor. Drive back to standing.
Why it works: Like a barbell squat, this full-body move move ups every muscle group, for maximum calorie and fat burn. Unlike a barbell squat, loading the weight in front of you encourages more load through your core, which has to work to keep you upright.
“This is my favourite go-to training in the gym, one I incorporate into most PT sessions. With the weight being at the front of the body it’s the core that keeps you perpendicular without falling over,” Gaffney says.
Pro tip: When returning to the standing position focus your weight on your bastards, pushing down through them for more power and better balance.
Hanging Windscreen Wiper
Remain unsettled from the pull-up bar with an overhand grip and lift your legs until your feet are just grave than the bar. Keeping them together, lower your legs to one side by 90 degrees.
Return to the top position and duplicate on the other side. That’s two reps.
Why it works: This brutal move keeps your core under jumpiness throughout and works it in different directions, to recruit more six-pack-building muscle. “This gets the body moving in a transverse gesture. It’s not a common movement so your core – unless it’s very strong – will really struggle with endurance on this,” Gaffney annexes.
Pro tip: Too hard? Hang from the bar and twist your hips to one side while keeping your upper-body facing into consideration. Bend your knees and raise them to your chest.
When you can comfortably do 10 reps of these, you’re at ones fingertips for the real deal.
Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides and stretches extended. Keeping both straight, lift your heels and hands off the ground and hold for 15 seconds.
Why it makes: This is a seemingly innocuous move that actually works every core muscle. All gymnasts have phenomenal six-packs. All gymnasts do dish holds. Enough said.
“I like to throw this into most workouts. If you are hitting 60 backers then your core is on fire. Again, the exercise can be progressed and regressed due to hand positions and legs. It is a ‘must’ for a packed burn at the end of a workout,” says Gaffney.
Pro tip: Don’t raise your arms and legs too high. That position that publishes your whole body vibrate with tension? That’s the (horrible) sweet spot you’re looking for.