A legit six-pack—as opposed to just the "Hey, I'm really skinny" type—can't be made in the gym alone, no matter how hard you work. And living on rabbit food to lean out isn't the answer, either.
The trick to carving out 'mirin-worthy abs lies in knowing how to combine the proper workouts with adequate rest and targeted nutrition. You'll probably need to add a little strategic muscle, cut some fat, and prioritize recovery and rest. Don't be surprised if fewer ab workouts and more food reveal the muscles you want to show off this summer!
Leg raises and cable crunches are fantastic ab exercises, and are definitely deserving of their places at the top of our "10 Best Muscle-Building Ab Exercises". Both help develop the muscles of the rectus abdominis, which will make it easier to see the "blocks" of your six-pack.
But, as fitness model Alex Carneiro points out in his article "Beginner's Foolproof Guide to Six-Pack Abs", you don't really have to hit them every day, especially if that means you skip out on other big-payoff moves. Many of the exercises you do for other body parts activate your core, and some of them, like front squats and pull-ups, downright roast it. So don't forget to work your full body, even if your target area is right in the middle.
Developing the right muscles is only one part of the equation. Revealing them is the other, and one that will probably require you to lose some weight. Following a calorie-restricted diet will help you trim fat and boost muscle definition, but take it too far and you could lose significant muscle mass—which is definitely not the goal.
A well-designed full-body weight-loss program, a diet rich in high-protein foods, is the perfect one-two punch. Some of our most popular cutting programs are:
- Kris Gethin's 4Weeks2Shred
- Jim Stoppani's Six-Week Shortcut to Shred
- Ashley Conrad's 21-Day Clutch Cut
- Arnold Schwarzenegger's Blueprint to Cut
- Ripped Remix 28-Day Total-Body Fitness Plan
Most importantly, remind yourself every day why you're working this hard. Whether it's to impress friends during swimsuit season or to compete on the stage, knowing your sacrifices have purpose will keep you going. Use the Health community to cheer you on during your journey!