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The Six Pack



One of the most desired outcomes of a personal physical fitness campaign is the six pack. The term 'six pack' refers to the visible appearance of the abdominal muscles, which requires low body fat and strong stomach muscles.

A common misconception in physical training is that focusing a workout on your abdominal muscles is going to create the perfect ‘six pack’ look. In essence, we already have the muscles that form the six pack look. The problem is that for a lot of us it is hidden behind a squidgy layer of body fat. So for most of us, the best place to start is by looking to decrease the amount of body fat that we have. Focusing solely on your abs is a largely ineffective strategy as focusing on small areas/muscle groups is a slow way of decreasing body fat.

There are many more effective training strategies that will help us to accomplish a faster decrease in body fat. Cardiovascular exercises can be very effective (see Importance of HIIT). We will also need to consider our diet. Consuming excessive amounts of carbohydrates and saturated fats are likely to increase body fat rather than help to reduce it, this is something to consider when choosing meals.

The abdominal muscles themselves, like all others, can be increased in size which will help to improve the strength of your ‘abs’ and also be likely to help you to achieve the desired appearance of the six pack. Remember, for increasing the size of a muscle it's not necessarily about how many repetitions you can do. Training with slow, controlled repetitions, maximizing the time your muscles are under tension will help you to achieve muscle growth (hypertrophy).

The abdominal muscles are a large group of muscles. The range of exercises that you do in order to increase their strength and size should reflect this. Sit ups are a simple and effective way for targeting some of the abdominal muscles but not all of them, use a range of exercises in repetitions of between 8-15 to achieve the most beneficial results from your workout and the best chance of finding that six pack that you desire.

Finally, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can achieve whatever you want to achieve but it is going to take time and it is going to take effort. Make a plan and stick to it, set yourself goals, eat smart, train smart, work hard and make good choices!

TU/PA

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