Your lower abs are part of your rectus abdominis, or six-pack muscles, and you have them — we promise — they’re just harder to see. Why? The region of the midsection where these abs are located is generally one of the final places that the body stores fat, especially as you age, Tom Holland, MS, CSCS, exercise physiologist and fitness adviser for Bowflex, told POPSUGAR. (One endocrinologist further explained in a past interview that women specifically tend to accumulate fat in their lower abdomen.)

Contents

How to See Your Lower Abs

You can do as many crunches as you want, but if you don’t incorporate key lifestyle changes, seeing lower abs — and abs in general — will be more difficult. “To achieve truly defined lower abs, one must achieve a particularly low percentage of overall body fat by following a consistent program of healthy eating, cardiovascular exercise, and strength training,” Tom explained. Got that? Cardio and strength training that will work toward boosting your metabolism, along with a well-balanced diet of food like healthy fats (avocados and legumes) and lean proteins (chicken, fish, or tofu), is essential.

Note: you can’t spot-reduce — not even belly fat. But losing body fat over all, Tom said, will help you see those abs. And it’s also worth repeating that just because you can’t see your lower abs doesn’t mean you don’t have them. “We all have a six-pack,” Tom explained. “It’s just covered by a layer of subcutaneous fat in many people.” (Subcutaneous, meaning the fat you can pinch with your fingers.) So don’t be discouraged if it takes a little extra effort to see those lower abs. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a weak core.

How to Target Lower Abs

In terms of exercise, Tom told us it’s difficult to isolate the upper or lower regions of your abs because when you do an ab exercise, the entire muscle contracts. He suggested slowing down your repetitions and focusing on proper form, which will “result in the greatest activation of the entire rectus abdominis region, including the lower abs.”

NASM-certified personal trainer and Peloton and Pilates instructor Emma Lovewell told us that some exercises that work your six-pack aren’t recruiting your lower abs as much. For example, when you do a regular crunch, “your bottom half is still and you’re crunching the top half of your body,” she said. So you’ll feel it more in your upper abs. To get the most bang for your buck, Emma said you need to be doing exercises where you’re moving your lower body. Here are some moves she suggests trying:

  • Hanging leg raises
  • Reverse crunches
  • Mountain climbers

Another pro tip: focus on engaging your core while working out in moves that aren’t just for your abs. This is a best practice for any type of exercise. For instance, you need to engage your core in deadlifts, squats, and even bicep curls. This engagement helps support your spine and prevent injury. Ahead, check out the three moves Emma listed, and if you want more, you can find additional lower-ab exercises here (also here!).

Want to know how to get a six pack? The one thing you need is not special gym equipment or a new-and-improved fitness supplement. The main thing you will need to have defined abs that actually show is persistence. Nothing beats using the best workouts and having a healthy diet, over a prolonged period. Putting the effort in will make you a leaner, stronger person soon enough but saying this, there are a few things that can speed up the process.

We collected a six-pack of tips that will skyrocket your efforts in making those abdominal muscle humps visible to everyone. Surprisingly enough, most of the list consists of non-exercise related tips, because as they say, abs are made in the gym and revealed in the kitchen. You need to lose belly fat to reveal a six pack.

Then, so you can feel the burn, we have our most popular ever six-pack abs workout from Blok’s head PT Jermaine Johnson –

There’s not much tech that’s essential for six-pack abs – even weights aren’t necessarily needed – but we have also included a guide to gear you might find useful.

T3’s six pack of tips to getting a six pack fast

No matter what everyone is saying, building muscles is not rocket science. You only need to adhere to a few rules and you don’t necessarily need loads of equipment either.

This is especially true for abs. You can use dumbbells, kettlebells or resistance bands to provide extra resistance during your abs workouts, but most of the best abs workout routines recommend bodyweight only exercises.

However, two things that can assist you in your pursuit to better understand your fitness needs are a fitness watch and an abs roller. These old-school devices are having a resurgence in popularity because they work.

A watch provides continuous heart rate tracking so you can keep your heart rate in the correct zone during your workouts – usually for abs workouts, this is not an especially high heart-rate. The accompanying apps will help you analyse your performance even further and more importantly, keep a log of your previous workouts so you can have a sense of progression.

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Roll up, roll up for a six-pack stomach

(Image credit: Perfect Fitness)

1. Do some abs exercises (almost) every day

Goes without saying, the best way to get a six pack is to actually work your abs. Let it be the hardest abs exercise or the most fun core exercise, as long as you spend some time chiselling your abs almost every day, you’ll see results soon enough.

Abs are high load-bearing muscles, much like calves, so the usual hypertrophy levels don’t apply here. With abs, instead of going for the 8-12 reps, aim for 15-20 reps in each set.

As well as doing higher reps, another way to ensure your abs are growing is to work all areas of it. This means working the upper abs with crunches, the lower abs with flutter kicks and the obliques with Russian twists.

You’ll see results ridiculously soon doing two exercises only: ab rollouts and mountain climbers – see our best bodyweight exercises list. Both work a range of muscles but mainly target your abs and your core. Rollers are dirt cheap and they are one of the most underrated bits of fitness equipment, ever.

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2. Consume under maintenance calories

The way to find out your maintenance calorie level is to measure your intake by logging what you eat using a calorie counting app like myfitnesspal and keeping track of your weight. Maintenance calorie is the amount that keeps your weight at a steady level.

Now, even if you aren’t overweight, you will need to go under your maintenance calories in order to show your abs. Reason being, for abs to really pop, you will need to have seriously low body fat percentage. For women, we are talking about 16-17%. For men, sub-10%.

Even if you go down to that level during the summer months, where your abs can actually be on display, it is recommended not to keep fat levels too low for a long period of time if you aren’t a top athlete.

A healthy diet can make or break your journey to a life with a six pack

(Image credit: Unsplash)

3. Cut back on added sugar/salt

You should cut back on added sugary stuff anyway, even if you aren’t trying to get them abs out. Consuming food with high added sugar content can cause a range of illnesses even short term, let alone on the long run.

Not only that, but excess sugar (and carbs) get stored away in your body, hiding your abs behind layers of soft visceral fat. Men are especially susceptible to gaining weight around the hip area first, so gents, say goodbye to all those Mars bars if you want to have a six pack!

Another item on the bad food ingredients list you should avoid is too much sodium. Eating too much of it will not only result in high blood pressure levels but it also makes your body retain more water. And that, as we know, is not how one gets a ticket to Flat Stomach Land.

Fries? No, thank you.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Swap out processed carbs and avoid bad fats

I personally know people who refused to eat at a restaurant because they said they can’t serve fries that evening (the fryer being broken). Not only it is very said that fried white potatoes need to be eaten with everything but they are also high in both bad carbs and vegetable fat.

Not saying everyone should transition from eating fries to gobbling up raw broccoli overnight. Even just swapping half the fries to something more healthy can help you effectively cut back on calories, effortlessly.

Let’s say you have 100 grams of fries as a side. Instead of that, have 50 grams and have another 50 grams of vegetables. You are still eating 100 grams of food, but you are also cutting back on all bad things without eating less.

Not to mention, swapping fries to even just baked potatoes or even better, baked sweet potatoes, can make a huge difference too. Gradually, you can swap your 100 grams of fries to 100 grams of quinoa; not only the latter is a million times healthier but whilst the former is 300 calories, the latter is only 100. All this while you eat the same amount of food.

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Protein is key to both building muscle and losing weight

(Image credit: Getty images)

5. Add more protein to your diet

Adding more protein to your diet can help you build muscles faster and it can also help you lose weight more efficiently.

Some easy swaps can make the transition to a more protein rich diet easier. It’s all about planning your snacking right. Instead of having a chocolate bar, have a protein shake or a protein bar. Again, you aren’t eating less, you are eating better.

By eating better, you are fuelling your body with nutrients it needs, so it won’t have to struggle with breaking down all the excess carb and fats. This will leave your body in a state when it can tend to building and repairing muscles.

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6. Try an abs belt

These things may seem ridiculous, but they do have an effect. Most notably, they help those who already have toned abs get more toned. Our top pick for its mix of affordability and usefulness is the Slendertone range. This uses convenient gel pads to provide the electrical ‘circuit’ between the belt and your stomach and while you can tell it is working, it’s not outright painful.

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With a convenient app to monitor your progress and set intensity levels, this is the top of Slendertone’s range. There are 100 power settings, and each 20 minute programme gradually ramps the intensity up and down as well. The experience is not exactly enjoyable but then using electricity to make your muscles twitch isn’t most people’s idea of fun, is it? We did see results after a month of using it 5 days per week, however.

Or why not try the abs belt Ronaldo uses?

(Image credit: American Tourister)

Alternatively there is always SixPad as used by Christiano Ronaldo. Now you can say what you like about Christiano, but he sure as hell has a chiselled physique – especially when you consider he’s now, what, 35? 57? 100?

We once met the makers of SixPad and their rep literally laughed at Slendertone because it ‘wasn’t painful enough’. Supposedly, SixPad uses a more powerful electrical current, for those who are truly serious about their abs belting experience. We suppose there might be well be some truth in that, but given that we found Slendertone pretty damn intense, we were way too wussy to try SixPad.

Best gear for six-pack abs

If music be the food of workouts, play on. A good pair of workout buds is the only bit of equipment many people really need.

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  • Jump back to the best tips for getting a sixpack

Best workout for six-pack abs

How to get a six pack is one of the most searched things on Google, and we’re here to supply some answers. Or, more accurately, Jermaine Johnson is. He’s head PT at London’s finest: BLOK, and knows many a trick for obtaining a killer washboard stomach via the most cutting edge abs workouts.

The sad truth is, today’s social media-obsessed society has been duped into thinking that every young, beautiful creature has a belly that’s seemingly made of steel. But those rippling abs take a lot of hard work, both in the kitchen and in the gym.

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Get a six-pack… or just a flatter stomach

The reason we mention the kitchen is this: your body fat percentage will need to dip below 10 per cent before a six-pack even begins to show. That’s why we’d recommend most people content themselves with healthy dieting and regular, fun workouts to obtain flatter abs rather than going all-out for a six pack.

We’d never advise to work solely on your stomach in search of ‘popping’ abs, as this would be a waste of time, so weaving this workout into a more rounded fitness regime will not only reap dividends in the gut department, it will also make you a generally fitter, healthier and happier person.

“To gain abs of steel requires a lot of work,” warns Jermaine Johnson, head personal trainer at trendy London gym chain BLOK – an abs expert who’s also kindly told us his top tip for getting a six pack.

“You need to target and work your abs in a variety of ways but you should also aim to build your internal core strength, as well as the external muscles for maximum results,” he says.

Follow the workout below and heed the following advice on nutrition to begin the journey towards a ridiculously cut stomach.

External links: Follow Jermaine Johnson on Instagram, Twitter and via the BLOK London website to receive regular workout tips, nutritional advice and updates from the man himself…

Abs are, perhaps more than any other muscle group, at the mercy of a strict nutritional plan and achieving visible results will inevitably mean cutting out lots of the fun stuff in a regular diet.

“We all have abs but it is our body fat that hides them away,” explains Jermaine. “To reduce body fat, you’ll need to eat plenty of protein, reduce the number of carbs in the diet – but don’t eliminate them, as you need fuel for workouts – and introduce healthy fats, lots of fibre and vegetables rich in the nutrients needed to promote muscle growth.

“Most importantly, you will also need to keep away from sugar, so reducing or completely cutting out sweets, processed foods and alcohol will definitely help lose the belly fat and reveal your abs,” he adds.

There are plenty of good resources online that can assist in mapping out a good low fat diet, while offering some recipes to help in the kitchen.

We’ve also got a great selection of top supplements, protein powders and training snacks that make it a little easier to get more of the right stuff inside your body.

How to perform to the killer abs workout

“The workout below is focussed on the external core by performing a variety of different crunches targeting the upper, middle and lower abs as well as the obliques,” Jermaine explains.

“We will also work the internal core (the deeper ab muscles), so you will perform a variety of different planks to fire up those deeper muscles that lay the groundwork for a solid six-pack,” he adds.

Jermaine suggests performing each exercise back-to-back without rest, but if that feels too much have a 30 second breather between each one before moving on to the next.

Complete all of the exercises in the list and that is considered one set. Rest for 45 seconds between sets and perform four sets in total before congratulating yourself on a job well done.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water while exercising and ease your body into this routine with a 10-minute cardio warm up, whether that’s on the treadmill, static bike or with a round of jumping jacks, high-knees or jogging on the spot.

The killer abs workout

Get ripped quick

1. Ab Crunch

30 seconds

This exercise targets the rectus abdominis muscles in a controlled manner, flexing and releasing the core muscles in order to give them a thorough workout.

Lay flat on your back, and then rise up to meet your pelvis using the shoulders and the core to maintain and propel you forward. Use the hands to support your neck.

Repeat at a comfortable pace for 30 seconds.

A solid crunch is key to visible abs

2. Bicycle Crunch

30 seconds

This move also works the rectus abdominis, as well as the upper abs and obliques, giving a nice rounded workout in one fairly simple manoeuvre.

Lay flat, rise into a crunch and ensure the back of your shoulders are off the floor, rotate to the right and try to meet the left knee with the right elbow while you extend the right leg straight out and then do the same for the opposing side.

When performed correctly, this exercise should look like you’re pedalling an invisible bicycle (hence the name), while simultaneously connecting opposing elbows and knees with a slight twist of the trunk.

Perform a bicycle crunch any time, anywhere

3. Reverse Crunch

30 seconds

Now we move on to the lower abs. Lie flat on your back with your legs up at a 90-degree angle to the floor.

Then, using just your core, pull your legs and hips towards the ceiling, while bringing your knees towards your chest and repeat. Ensure you feel your bum leave the floor, while pulling legs and hips up towards the ceiling.

Use machinery in the gym for assistance

The plank is a killer but gets a bunch of muscle groups firing

4. Plank

60 seconds

It’s a tough cookie, but the plank targets so many muscle groups and is an absolute must for sculpting a well-defined stomach.

Lay facedown with legs extended and elbows bent and directly under shoulders. Clasp your hands together.

Your feet should be hip-width apart and elbows should be shoulder-width apart.

Squeezing your abs, lift your body weight onto your toes with forearms still on the floor; keep a nice straight line from top of the head to lower spine.

Building big forearms completes the look

5. High Plank or Straight Arm Plank

60 seconds

This is essentially the same exercise as above but the bodyweight should be placed on the hands, rather than forearms.

Jumping directly into this from the previous plank will keep the core activated and essentially works those muscles twice as hard. It will be tough, but the abs will be pumping after this.

6. Plank Jacks

60 seconds

Still focussing on the plank, this variation is a killer way to end the workout and really makes the core muscles pump.

Maintain either a High Plank or regular forearm-based plank, but add a jumping jack movement with the legs, while maintaining strong posture and alignment of your spine.

This is sure to get the pulse racing and have that stomach feeling nice and tight afterwards. All you need to do now is have a short rest and repeat the entire session.

It’s going to hurt, but nobody says it was going to be easy.

  • Jump back to our sixpack of tips for getting a sixpack

Lower Abs Workouts For A Six-Pack – Not A Two-Pack

If you spend a few weeks working hard in the gym and eating a strict, healthy diet that puts you in a calorie deficit every day, you’ll start to notice the emergence of a set of upper abs. At this point you’d be forgiven for making the assumption that the rest of your abs are set to follow in a similar timeframe and start planning how you’ll make best use of your washboard six-pack in the next few weeks, if not days.

Unfortunately, that’s not normally how things go. The upper abs are always the first to show and they are also easier to target, since most common core exercises like crunches hit that area of your midriff. If you want to sculpt a complete six-pack, though, you need to plan your workouts to hit the lower abs and obliques too. Alternatively you can leave all the planning to us and use the three workouts below, all of which are designed to ensure you carve out a full complement of rippling abs, rather than just a two-pack.

Each session contains five moves, grouped into a superset and a tri-set. Doing supersets means doing two exercises in tandem, usually with little or no rest between them, to increase the challenge involved. In the workouts below these exercises are designed to hit the same muscles to maximise the impact on your abs. So to complete the superset you do the first exercise (marked with an A) and the rest period, if any; then do the second (marked with a B) and any rest period, then go back to the first (1A) again and continue until all the sets listed are done.

The same is true of the tri-set, but you’ll be doing three exercises and rest periods in order – 2A, 2B, 2C, then back to 2A – until all the sets listed have been completed. Once again, in the workouts below those exercises will all be hitting your abs to ensure you feel the burn in your core by the end of the tri-set.

The workouts are designed to keep your abs under tension for long periods, so they’re not going to be a fun ride, but the results will be worth it. The moves are similar across the workouts but they’ll hit the abs and obliques from slightly different angles, so add all of them to your programme and make sure to do the exercises in order, following the sets, reps and rest instructions given, to get the best results.

Lower Abs Workout 1

Superset

This superset works your core and lower abs especially hard as you move your legs upwards, downwards, left and right. Keep each rep quite fast but always controlled so it’s your muscles that do the work, not just your legs swinging back and forth.

1A Hanging knee raise

Targets Entire core

Sets 4 Reps 15 Rest 30sec

Hang from a set of rings or pull-up bar with an overhand grip and straight legs. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up towards your chest. Hold this position for a one-count, then lower back to the start. That’s one rep.

1B Hanging knee twist

Targets Entire abs and core

Sets 4 Reps 15 each side Rest 60sec

The set-up is the same as move 1A, except once your draw your knees up, you keep them bent and rotate them one side, then the other, alternating sides for the duration of the set.

Tri-set

This tri-set targets your entire core, which must maintain tension to keep your body stable, as well as your side abs with the introduction of some movements that keep your body guessing.

2A Alternating leg raise

Targets Lower abs

Sets 4 Reps 25 each leg Rest 30sec

Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head, holding your feet just off the floor with legs straight. Raise one leg and lower it again, then repeat with the other leg.

2B Plank jack

Targets Entire core

Sets 4 Reps 25 Rest 30sec

Start in a plank position resting on your forearms with feet together. Jump your feet out to the sides, then back in again. That’s one rep.

2C Superman plank

Targets Entire core

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Start in a plank position resting on your forearms with feet together. Lift your left leg while extending your right arm forwards, then bring them back to the start position. Repeat with the opposite limbs. That’s one rep.

Lower Abs Workout 2

The first part of this workout is a pre-fatigue superset. The tougher hanging leg raise comes first to really test your abs, so when you move on to the slightly easier hanging knee raise, you will already be fatiguing so additional muscle fibres will be recruited to help with the reps. This means you work your abs harder in less time.

1A Hanging leg raise

Targets Lower abs and core

Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 0sec

Hang from rings or a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Brace your abs and raise your legs, keeping them straight, until they are parallel to the floor. Pause for a one-count, then lower.

1B Hanging knee raise

Targets Lower abs and core

Sets 3 Reps 15-20 Rest 60sec

Hang from rings or a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause for a one-count, then lower.

Tri-Set

This tri-set targets your lower abs and your obliques. These reps should be fast yet controlled – the key is to get into a smooth and regular rep movement pattern while maintaining tension throughout your entire core. Be prepared: this tri-set is tough and your abs will burn, so extend the rest periods slightly if you need a little more recovery time.

2A Garhammer raise

Targets Lower abs and core

Sets 4 Reps 20-25 Rest 20sec

Start at the top of the hanging knee raise, then squeeze your abs to raise your knees higher. Lower back to the start, keeping tension on your abs throughout. Ensure these reps are fast but controlled.

2B Hanging knee side raise left

Targets Lower abs and obliques

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 20sec

Hang from rings or a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up and to your left-hand side. Pause for a one-count, then lower.

2C Hanging knee side raise right

Targets Lower abs and obliques

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 60sec

Hang from rings or a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up and to your right-hand side. Pause for a one-count, then lower.

Lower Abs Workout 3

The key to turning a two-pack into a fully-fledged six-pack is to work your lower abs and obliques (side abs) harder than ever before. This superset hits both those regions of the abdominals, but you need to make sure you maintain tension on the working muscles for every rep of every set to reap the rewards.

Targets Lower abs

Sets 4 Reps 15 Rest 10sec

Hang from a pull-up bar or rings with your feet together and legs straight. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up towards your chest. Pause in this top position for a second, then lower your feet back towards the floor.

Targets Lower abs

Sets 4 Reps 15 Rest 60sec

Start at the top of the hanging knee raise position. Keeping your abs braced, twist to one side, then back across to the other side. That’s one rep. Don’t let your knees drop during the set.

This three-move mini-set is based on three challenging variations of the standard plank to fully test those deep-lying stabilising muscles of your core, but with the added bonus of movement to work the lower abs and obliques too. As with all plank moves, engage your abs and glutes at the start of each set, and keep your hips raised without letting them sag.

2A Shoulder tap plank

Targets Entire core

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 10sec

Start in the top of a press-up position with both hands under your shoulders. Brace your core, then raise one hand to tap the opposite shoulder, then do the same with the other hand. That’s one rep.

2B Superman plank

Targets Entire core

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 10sec

Start in the plank position, resting on your forearms with your core tight. Raise one leg and the opposite arm and hold them out straight. Return to the start position, then repeat with the opposite leg and arm. That’s one rep.

2C Plank jack

Targets Lower abs and obliques

Sets 4 Reps 20 Rest 60sec

Start in the plank position, resting on your forearms. Keeping your core braced, jump both feet out to the sides, then back to the start position. Keep each jump smooth and controlled without letting your hips sag during the set.

How To Get A Six-Pack: The Diet And Exercises That Build Abs

Though we wouldn’t quibble with Patrick Bateman in the arenas of business card design, his workout needs a tweak. That washboard stomach 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 faulty 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 surely 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 flex 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 suggests, 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 have not done a single crunch in their life,” says Peter Gaffney, founder of PGPT, London’s leading mobile personal training service.

“The answer, in short, is doing sit-ups has a very low calorie burn. Focus on nutrition and get those big compound movements going to give you that Baywatch six-pack look.”

Here’s how to switch up the traditional sit-up for the moves proven to deliver that six-pack – without trading in your PT for a chiropractor with this ultimate diet and exercise guide.

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 specific areas. When you burn calories, your body finds fuel from everywhere. And – sorry gents – men’s bodies choose to stockpile that extra energy around the middle. Right where your six-pack should be.

That’s why if you want 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 kitchen for a reason,” says Sandy Macaskill, Barry’s Bootcamp co-founder and master trainer. “You could have the best abs in the business 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 diet’ because something you start is by definition something you stop. Much better to make healthy choices part of your ongoing lifestyle,” she recommends. “Cut down on alcohol. Drink more water. Eat smaller portions, more often.

“A simple day could look like this: scrambled eggs first thing, midmorning protein shake, baked salmon and sweet potato salad for lunch, afternoon snack of trail mix, (and while it’s summer) barbecue some chicken and corn for supper and enjoy a glass of wine.”

That doesn’t sound too punishing now does it?

The Fat-Burning Six-Pack Workout

The most effective regime is one that focuses on total-body workouts, which burn as many calories – and as much fat – in as little time as possible.

It’s important that the exercises you choose work your core – the area from your above your hips to below your pecs – so when the fat starts clearing, solid abs start appearing. But equally that the exercises you choose tax bigger (and therefore more calorie-guzzling) muscles at the same time.

Macaskill recommends some serious running training be incorporated into your program. “Interval sprints are a fantastic way of burning fat. Aim for short periods of rest and intense bursts of high intensity. Think how start-stop traffic burns the most fuel. Same deal here.

“To carry it further – the bigger the engine, the bigger the burn. Strength training is therefore crucial. A well designed strength programme helps create a ‘furnace effect’ and keeps you burning calories for up to 24 hours. That’s where you want 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 will do as replacement) and some floor space. Take 30 seconds rest between each move, and two minutes between circuits.

Aim to do the circuit five times over, three times a week. Can’t do that? Then complete as much as possible and work up to it. Any sweat is better than none.

Chin-Up

Reps: 4-6
With arms a little more than shoulder-width apart, hold the bar with an underhand grip. From a dead hang – that’s arms completely extended – pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. Pause, then slowly lower yourself back down until you’re back in a dead hang. If your arms aren’t straight, you’re cheating.

Why it works: Chin-ups target your big back and arm muscles, which ups your calorie burn. But by engaging your core to keep your body locked in position, you also work your abs.

Pro tip: “By engaging the core your body stays nice and firm and avoids any of those unwanted swinging movements which unnecessarily tires you out,” says Gaffney.

Finding 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 possible.

Spiderman Plank

Reps: 10-12 (each side)
Set up in a push-up position, with your forearms flat on the floor directly below your shoulders, and weight resting on your toes. Engage your core to keep your torso flat – there should be a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.

Slowly bring one knee towards the elbow on the same side of your body, using your core to keep your torso from twisting. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side. Get the name?

Why it works: Studies show that standard planks are a good core move. This variation is a great core move. It keeps your heart rate up for increased 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 race. Keep the movement controlled to increase the tension through your core and engage more muscle. And more muscle means 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 plank is at the top of those progressions with amazing strength being worked through the core.”

Toes To Bar

Reps: 4-6
Hang from the bar with an overhand grip. Keep your arms straight and engage your abs to lift your legs up, until they touch the bar. Lower them back down as slowly as possible.

Why it works: Your legs aren’t going anywhere without your core muscles supporting their weight. As that burning sensation in your lower abs confirms. The move also recruits your big, fat-burning back muscles, to help torch the spare tyre that’s covering them.

Pro tip: It’s tempting to swing. Don’t. Bring yourself to a dead hang between each rep for the full, six-pack building benefit. “This is all about lever length. Get those legs straight to give your core a proper burn,” Gaffney adds.

Goblet Squat

Reps: 10-12
Hold 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 weight rests on your chest.

Squat down, keeping your chest puffed out and lowering down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Drive back to standing.

Why it works: Like a barbell squat, this full-body move works every muscle group, for maximum calorie and fat burn. Unlike a barbell squat, loading the weight in front of you puts more load through your core, which has to work to keep you upright.

“This is my favourite go-to exercise 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 upright without falling over,” Gaffney says.

Pro tip: When returning to the standing position focus your weight on your heels, pushing down through them for more power and better balance.

Hanging Windscreen Wiper

Reps: 4-6
Hang from the pull-up bar with an overhand grip and lift your legs until your feet are just higher than the bar. Keeping them together, lower your legs to one side by 90 degrees.

Return to the top position and repeat on the other side. That’s two reps.

Why it works: This brutal move keeps your core under tension throughout and works it in different directions, to recruit more six-pack-building muscle. “This gets the body moving in a transverse movement. It’s not a common movement so your core – unless it’s very strong – will really struggle with endurance on this,” Gaffney adds.

Pro tip: Too hard? Hang from the bar and twist your hips to one side while keeping your upper-body facing forward. Bend your knees and raise them to your chest.

When you can comfortably do 10 reps of these, you’re ready for the real deal.

Dish Hold

Reps: 6-8
Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides and legs extended. Keeping both straight, lift your heels and hands off the ground and hold for 15 seconds.

Why it works: This is a seemingly innocuous move that actually works every core muscle. All gymnasts have superhuman six-packs. All gymnasts do dish holds. Enough said.

“I like to throw this into most workouts. If you are hitting 60 seconds 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 solid burn at the end of a workout,” says Gaffney.

Pro tip: Don’t raise your arms and legs too high. That position that makes your whole body vibrate with tension? That’s the (horrible) sweet spot you’re looking for.

Standing abs exercises are great for working the muscles of your entire core—from your back to your hips—and they’re another great excuse to skip the dreaded crunches. These moves will help you develop core strength because you have to really engage your abs to stay standing tall and stable—they challenge your abs and your balance. And, if you tend to have neck or hip flexor pain when you do core work on the mat, these standing abs exercises may be a great alternative. Of course, if you’re ever experiencing any sharp pains during exercise, stop and check in with your doctor.

While you shouldn’t neglect your floor abs workout entirely, standing exercises are a great way to mix up your regular routine. So give the four-move circuit below a try (be sure to save the Pin below for easy reference). You’ll need one dumbbell—start with a weight that’s five to eight pounds, and go heavier when you can.

The Workout: Do 10 reps of each move and repeat the entire circuit two to three times. Or, add your favorite exercise to your normal training session.

1. Core Stabilizer — do 10 reps

  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell straight out in front of your chest with both hands.
  • Move your torso slightly, and slowly begin to rotate your arms to the right as far as you can.
  • Pause for a second. Then rotate in the opposite direction. That’s 1 rep, do 10.

2. Reverse Dumbbell Chop — do 10 reps on each side

Getting those impressive, shredded abs is a goal that requires dedication and hard work. It may require you to change your diet or daily routine… or maybe both.

© iStock/Getty Images

But some people are not always capable of making such changes due to work, lifestyle, home responsibilities or medical conditions. However, if you are one of them, it does not mean you don’t have the chance get those abs like those of Hollywood stars Jennifer Lopez or Chris Hemsworth.

There is an ab-sculpting program that actually works and is doable for most people. Students, full-time parents and those in the corporate world can do the exercises without worrying about missing their schedules.

The entire program would only take 30 to 40 minutes a day. And another good news is you can do it at home or anywhere that is convenient because you won’t be needing any equipment.

Below are are the top ways to help you get six-pack abs:

1. Prone Plank

© Getty Woman in plank pose in gym It is a known do-anywhere exercise. Put yourself into a full push-up position with your palms on the floor aligned to your shoulders. Contract your abs, extend your arms and legs and hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute.

2. Abdominal Hold

All you need is a sturdy chair. Sit tall on the edge of the chair, place your hands on the edge and lift your butt off the chair, with your toes 2 to 4 inches off the floor. Tighten your abs and hold this position for as long as you can. Keep on repeating the exercise for one minute.

3. The Climb Up

© Getty Sporty young female athlete on yoga mat doing situps in gym. Fitness woman doing abs crunches. You need a 3-foot-long scarf or towel. Lie on the floor, wrap the towel around the ball of your right foot, bend your knee while the other foot without the cloth is on the floor.

For the exercise, walk both your hands up the scarf, slowly lifting your head and shoulders off the floor. Hold for a count of two and slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

4. Squat Thrust with Twist

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and squat down with your arms extended in front of you at shoulder height. Bend the knees 90 degrees then twist your upper body to the left.

Return to your original position and repeat the exercise to the right.

5. The Single-Leg Stretch

Lie your back on the floor with your knees bent. Lift your head and shoulders and curl your chin in toward your chest. Once in position, draw the left knee in toward the chest and place your left hand on your ankle and the right hand on your knee.

Lift your right leg up to 45 degrees off the floor. Extend your left leg while hugging the right leg to your chest.

6. Flutter Kick

Lie on your back and place your legs and arms straight at your sides. Lift your heels about six inches off the floor and do a scissors-like motion by rapidly kicking your feet up and down.

7. Star Plank

Do a push-up position. Try to place your arms and feet apart to make a star shape. Do this as wide as possible and hold the position with your torso straight and abs braced for 30 seconds.

Related video: 3 Resistance Band Moves for Strong Abs (Provided by Health.com)

Want to know how to get a six pack? The one thing you need is not special gym equipment or a new-and-improved fitness supplement. The main thing you will need to have defined abs that actually show is persistence. Nothing beats using the best workouts and having a healthy diet, over a prolonged period. Putting the effort in will make you a leaner, stronger person soon enough but saying this, there are a few things that can speed up the process.

We collected a six-pack of tips that will skyrocket your efforts in making those abdominal muscle humps visible to everyone. Surprisingly enough, most of the list consists of non-exercise related tips, because as they say, abs are made in the gym and revealed in the kitchen. You need to lose belly fat to reveal a six pack.

Then, so you can feel the burn, we have our most popular ever six-pack abs workout from Blok’s head PT Jermaine Johnson –

There’s not much tech that’s essential for six-pack abs – even weights aren’t necessarily needed – but we have also included a guide to gear you might find useful.

How To Get A Six-Pack In One Month

If you think yoga can be learned on the mat, you’re wrong! To learn yoga is to learn yourself, your life and the world around you, which happens mostly off the mat.

Since 2000, I study, practice, teach and live yoga – I grow with it from year to year – hence life becomes more interesting and more meaningful from year to year, too. Through all these years, I observe the evolution of yoga in the western culture and see, how (mostly) wrongly, has been interpreted, taught and practiced. Little is known about how to learn yoga – about its practice, its effect and its application. Yoga is all about finding the simplicity and the meaning in the complexity of life.

But when we look around us, it doesn’t seem so simple, even for those who practice it, and for the most who teach it. Everything about yoga begins in its definition from the original yogic scripture Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

And the value for how to learn yoga, is in this article – showing the value of the above definition and how to practice it in the simplest way, effectively and efficiently.

What is Yoga?

Yoga-Citta-Vrtti-Hirodhah — and its translation is: Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations arising within consciousness.

The 195 Sutras, that the original yoga scripture consists of, are written in a strongly compressed manner with the idea to deliver a profound meaning and a lot of space for interpretation. However, the interpreter must be highly serious and competent, otherwise the interpretation will drastically deviate from what the message conveys.

When the definition about yoga is interpreted and applied the right way, it tells us how yoga is to be practiced and explored. To start the right way, we must know the right destination of yoga, which is Kaivalya: The union between you, the other and the world.

Let’s see how to do that:

Beginning with the famous mainstream slogan “Union of Body, Mind and Soul”, brings up the question, “How to reunite the body, mind and soul?”

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Your feelings – created by outside stimuli result in the creation of thoughts, hence there’s connection between your body and mind. That’s easy to understand, right?

Now this connection and the thoughts must serve and improve the mind, making it capable to 1) understand the soul and 2) to unite it with the body and mind. That’s where our journey towards the goal of yoga (Samadhi) is interrupted – making the main part of the union not easy to understand, even less so to accomplish.

Yoga is More Spiritual than Physical

This is what makes yoga more spiritual than physical. To put it in numbers, yoga is 97% of psychological, philosophical and spiritual nature and only some 3% of physiological, considering that there are only seven out of 195 Sutras referring physiologically to sitting and breathing, of which I talked in my earlier post on Yoga For men.

But before experiencing any spirituality from yoga, there is the mental (emotional) part that needs to be mastered and that part is to establish a connection between the body and mind. How?

The simple thought and realization that you are conscious of how you feel within your body (cold, warm, relaxed, depressed, anxious, happy and so on), means that you have made the union between your body and mind. (below the step by step exercise for that).

But to establish a connection to your soul – to the finest part of yourself – the Self:

You must find out (through thinking) what is the subtlest thing that drives your body and mind – yourself as an individual and use that driver to go pass beyond your physicality and mentality.

It is right here that you use the definition about yoga and the realization – the moment, where you are not analyzing any thoughts or feelings. This is a state of Yoga – a state of union between body, mind and soul, in which your consciousness has ceased to identify with its fluctuations.

Yoga as Creativity and Expertise of the Individual

In such a case, there is no specific (like beginners, intermediate or advanced) technique for learning yoga. The moment of the state of yoga arises for everyone of us in an individual way as everybody’s physique and mental content are different. You might be very well advanced in performing the most difficult asanas for decades but still unable and incompetent to be in a state of union with your body, mind and soul. Whereas, if you are a beginner and possess the grace and other virtues, than it’s easier and quicker to establish that connection.

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As yoga is an inherent part of the human being, firstly, in order to pave the yoga path successfully and effectively, you must understand that yoga is not a technique for performance, but rather a creativity and expertise of yourself.

Your learning process cannot be focused on, nor conditioned by a certain handbook, someone’s instructions or some specific school.

Learning yoga requires your creativity to look within yourself and learn from yourself, become the expert of your feelings, emotions and desires. You, as a beginner might already possess many qualities and prerequisites for creating the union between your body, mind and soul, but your knowledge requires creativity for your growth to reach the state of union and then reap the fruits of that union. Once this happens there is no turning back – you’ll be pulled by the beauty and energy of your on being.

Be Fast Mentally and Slow Physically

As already mentioned, you don’t need to do physical performances like the split or the headstand to be able to immerse in a deep meditation or Samadhi. But you do need enough creativity for your self-inquiry.

Many of my students start working directly with meditation – attending the complexities of the mind, because that’s where the hindrances lie. There, the meditator is able to work on the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the consciousness – where intelligence expands, adversity ends and the individual is ready to pass through its physicality and mentality in order to reach the union with the soul.

But if you’re really a beginner and cannot start with that, then you can start enhancing your creativity on the body-mind level. The exercise follows in the next paragraph.

The greater your creativity, the better your expertise about yourself – the deeper your competence to inquire further into the union with your soul. Sure enough that a more pliable and healthy physical body has some advantages and better preconditions for that, but don’t get discouraged because your body-mind union will open up the way.

So here we are, you are at the moment to enhance your creativity upon that union. Please, take this as a very serious part of the practice as it is crucial for learning yoga – for learning yourself.

The Beginner’s Exercise – Creativity upon Body-Mind Union

The first and most important element to learn and practice yoga is of physiological and psychological nature: Stillness:

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  1. Make sure your body is still and comfortable.
  2. Focus on breathing to initiate observing.
  3. Observe your body and identify the first feeling that occurs to you.
  4. Keep identifying feelings and emotions, but without getting involved with them.
  5. Now create feelings and emotions as you please and let them go.

That’s it! That’s the creativity upon the body-mind union. The validity of this creativity lies in the stillness and observance of that union. In this practice you can learn to understand and catch the moment – the main ingredient of life.

Life is a sequence of moments and knowing that you’re able to manage that sequence is a new level of living life, called dharma – the practical and skillful way of living. An essential character develops as a result of practicing this discipline.

However, be aware that we are still talking about outward elements of yoga – the gross levels (from Yama to Pratyahara) whereas the subtle, inward elements (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) are yet to be approached, learned and implemented. It is on these subtle levels that you can realize the depth of spirituality and the essence of yoga.

It is remarkable how the science of yoga can take you in such heights and depths of exploring life and being. Little is known about the essence and the right practice of yoga in the west. There is a huge knowledge gap between how yoga should be learned and how it is practiced today in the west. You can bridge this gap by practicing the above exercise.

Know that yoga is of a very subtle nature – operating on a subtle energetic level – the level of your mental energies, your thoughts. That means that it is to be learned at that level and not on any other. A body posture alone cannot take you to that level if you don’t apply your creativity and self-inquiry.

Prerequisite for Yogic Success – Union between You and the Other

Yoga is nothing, if our relationships with others are not managed harmonically.

Learning yoga is also learning connecting with the other – with the stranger who’s not you but carries the same “core”, the same heart as you. We as individuals, possess the inborn feature of Ego – the “I-consciousness” that makes us feel separate from the rest of what makes the wholeness.

This separation is the second of the the five “klesah” afflictions – that stand as major hindrance against the union (Yoga) – called “asmita” or I-am-ness / Egoism (Y.S. II.6.), and has to be cultivated and brought to a level of discernment that will lessen our disturbance that comes out the fragmentation between the “I-am-ness” and the “Other-ness”.

This is a crucial concept in Yoga and it is inevitable to be worked upon this hindrance in order to reach the inner “psychological” freedom or the ultimate liberation “Kaivalya” for which Yoga stands for. But, again, if you are beginner in this part, you want to know how to start dealing with all this. Here is the exercise:

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  1. Practice observance from the first exercise.
  2. Realize that the structure of your feelings, emotions, etc. is identical with the one of the other individuals.
  3. Practice witnessing, tolerating and gradually accepting the diversity between yourself and the other individuals.
  4. Observe for so long with equanimity, until you see the uniformity in that diversity.

This is one of the greatest accomplishments a human being can achieve. To be, means, to be in relationship – internally, as well as externally.

Yogic Lifestyle – Union Between You, The Other and The World

Here comes the last piece of the puzzle – the union – on the highest level of worldly existence – between you, the other and the world. This means that Yoga is also worthless if practiced only on the mat. So when learning yoga, especially when practicing the body-mind union, consider if:

You speak the language of nature and how you’re connected to nature and its basic elements? Do you complicate your existence by thinking that you are in the center of the world and require extra attention and acknowledgement?

Thinking this way interferes with the practice of yoga. And surely, you might wonder, what should be done here in order to create that harmony in union? You’d be amazed to know that there is one important yogic movement that needs to be done. That is:

The action of not doing anything but contemplating! Then yoga happens.

Yes, this goes beyond the physicality and mentality of your being. As our bodies play just a tiny part of the evolution of existence, we must not attach to the world in that sense – clinging to worldly life with that insatiable urge that generates worries and anxiety – but rather grow through life with detachment and the attitude that life has been gifted to us with the purpose to realize that gift and attain the wisdom of life.

Go Beyond Your Physicality and Mentality

Attaining greatness like connecting to the world and to your soul, we must pass beyond the thoughts, feelings and emotions, and the influence they have on us. Hence we want to make the mental fluctuations to cease and let yoga shine its light through this yogic movement:

The stillness and the watching within.

Can yoga be understood and achieved in one single session and then practiced continuously, productively and effectively? Of course it can. Your union within yourself, the other and the world is lot simpler and easier than you think. Practice these simple yogic movements diligently, seriously but also effortlessly and your yoga will be flourishing and fruitful. I salute the spirit in you!

More About Yoga

  • 7 Beginner Yoga Exercises for Men to Increase Mobility
  • 15-Minute Morning Yoga Routine for Beginners
  • How Practicing Morning Yoga Transforms Your Life (+10 Beginners’ Poses)

Featured photo credit: Avrielle Suleiman via unsplash.com

Reference

^ Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
^ Wikipedia: Kaivalya
^ Plato Stanford: Klesah

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