Enter into the world of heavily desired aesthetics, and I’m sure you’ll be able to gain a very familiar sense of desire to achieving a very sculpted Sixpack.

Through the hundreds, if not thousands of Sixpack books promising  crevices of abdominal musculature that resemble the grand canyon, I can almost guarantee they’re misguided, at best.

The late night infomercials, the downright insane sounding claims of the supplements dr oz touts, and the never ending ‘quick fix ” supplements that keep the isles of your local nutrition store anything but lonely. sound familiar? sound crazily unachievable, and repetitive? thats because it is.

Although these claims intend to do their best to send you on your way or maybe they truly do have high hopes of scoring your hard earned money.

Regardless of the motivation behind these erroneous marketing gurus, I’m here to send you on your way to a surefire Sixpack. The right way, the not so easy way, and if everything was what you wanted to hear, i doubt any true work in the realm of the Sixpack world would get done.

Psychologically speaking, the first thing we immediately want to jump to on our quest to abs is an ungodly amount of angles, reps, and most of the time crunches.

Why? because mentally, we have a profound case of idiocy associated with what the real process to dense, deep abs requires. we overlook the threshold of gains, and immediately incorporate some fuckaroundtdis by doing a watered down version of ab ripper x.

Instead of taking the time to understand the thorough principles of our training as a whole, we think we can cure one flaw, through excessive movements in an attempt to ” blast or burn” our way to magazine cover intercostals.

I laugh and speak with such profound certainly because I was that guy…er boy doing crunches in my room late at night in middle school to try and impress the girlies, without realizing that despite these muscles getting a good ol burn, I was anything but close.

Flash forward ten years, and through my own misadventures of trial and error to finally somewhat of a personal abdominal mastery, I can pretty much gather what does and what doesn’t work in terms of withholding a year round sixpack.
abbbbbbs
I could linger on while dragging the steps of how to do this out by a mile, but i won’t. I’ll spare you the anticipation and get to the downright simple, effective, and straight up boring requirement for fulfilling your dreams of vanity, and demigod wants.

1. strength training works as a whole. 

Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you can pretty much gather that progressive tension places a favorable roll in the natural trainees ability to gain lean muscle mass. This is deemed universally effective and truthful by science, and theres a reason its never really mentioned in those fancy bodybuilding mags.hmmm, I wonder why?

When you’re introducing progressive overload within a structured routine, everything is bound to be synergistically worked , especially within the confines of a compound lift. Regardless of that ” one weird trick” sworn to contract the abs, the truth of the matter is most lifts, will undoubtedly engage your core to various degrees leading to excellent abdominal development, as the natural trainee developments his lifts into numbers somewhat impressive such as:

• Military press
current bodyweight x 0.8 for 5 reps

• Incline Bench press
1.2 x current bodyweight for 5 reps

• Weighted chin up
50 percent of body attached for 5 reps

• pistol squats
Holding 50-60 pounds for 5 reps

In most scenarios and training formulas, I can almost guarantee 80-85 percent of one rep max will be plenty in terms of weight determination for successful body composition over the longevity of time.
Believe when I say this :

My core inarguably became something of a greek statue when these lifts made their way up from mediocre to impressive at a relative weight. even often at times with complete neglect to isolation movements for abs.

It surpassed anything I had ever done in terms of combination and supersets with various movements and angles to ” hit the obliques” especially those nonsensical ab machines that take up space in favor of actual result producing machines like the ( bench press, squat rack) hint hint*

that isn’t to say that isolation is completely useless, it has its place, but none when it eludes you from the larger picture, aka the emphasis on generating larger lifts.

2. Contraction

Remember in step one when I said isolation isn’t completely useless? well despite contrary to popular belief, how you display those abs is also a crucial factor in how you develeopment them.
Most people if instructed to try and flex and feel their abs contract, probably couldn’t, this is where I agree with all the relentless movements, not because its going to spot reduce, burn fat and give you a shredded tum tum , but because its going to give you ” mind to muscle”, bro.

You wouldn’t perform the bench press if all you felt was your glutes and calves contract, no instead, you would consciously concentrate on generating contraction to the muscles that are participating in that lift to ensure maximum recruitment,  so why would you attempt to do a crunch ( horrible exercise) if you couldn’t feel your abs? which brings us to my next suggestion:

If you can’t feel your abs contract, I have used Three movements/methods that allowed me direct success to harder and harder contractions for great display.

look in front of a mirror and focus on flexing your abs as hard you  possibly can, it helps to make a fist too. Really take your time and squeeze.

again, we aren’t doing this with in hopes that it will give us a sixpack, were doing this to generate an ability to contract what we can’t feel, that way when it comes time to strip the body of fat via caloric deficit well know we can generate mind to muscle in our designated area, much similar to muscle posing. practice this daily out of the shower, when youre walking, lifting, or simply have the time to do so.

• The plank
plank

 

There are a few exercises that I won’t grill you for and will be held especially high on this list as an effective way of incorporating training for the abs.

low and behold the plank, a static hold, an effective procedure to activate contraction  all along the transverse abdominis aka those neat little squares that create the look your after ! and most importantly to help you activate essentially all areas of the core.

• Hanging leg raise ( bent knee or straight legs)
This is a highly effective exercise if done with enough tension will allow you direct contraction along the transverse abdominis over time.

3-4 sets of 12-15 reps should be sufficient if done accordingly.

Controlling the eccentric and concentric nature of this exercise in particular will be especially effective for this cause.

The reason I love this exercise in particular is its convenience,
You can simply grasp a ledge, a balcony, pull up bar or virtually any other creative obstacle.

3. Calorie Deficit

calorie deficit

At this point in time, if i didn’t mention that sweet little law of thermodynamics you would probably label me a guru who doesn’t have a clue of what universally applicable nutrition sciences consists of.
Im not here to sell you magic water, I’m here to give you the nitty gritty truth of what it takes to actually get, and keep your sixpack.

Simply, consuming less than your body burns is going to remain paramount, regardless of what distribution of macronutrients you choose.

Without coming off harsh, we need to face the reality that unless you’re 10 percent body fat and below, the chances of truly seeing a highly defined Sixpack are slim to none.
again, that shouldn’t be discouragement, it should be motivational of understanding the actuality in obtaining something as realistically as possible.

Through the dawn of time there have been numerous ways to calculate and establish a set caloric intake for these purposes, but one rule thats always stuck with me is combining your current body weight by 10-12 for your caloric intake. How you want to set up the percentages of your macros within the confines of your outcome number is up to you.

do you like high carbs and low fat? cool. Like low carb and a higher fat approach? even cooler. I just suggest that you keep protein intake to 0.1-1.2 g per pound of body weight for satiety, and performance/muscle retention standards. always been a fan of high protein intakes, and always will be.

The rumor is that you won’t have enough room left for fats and carbs to produce adequate hormone levels, I call bullshit. Unless youre eating an IFBB pro bodybuilder’s amount of protein, you’ll have more than enough room for carbohydrate and fat in your diet to produce optimal endocrine function.

so, lets use an example:

You’re 10 percent body fat, 170 pounds, you adjust your caloric numbers based on the 10-12 formula ( using 10 here) and arrive with 1700 calories. Again, determine the split of macronutrient ratios is going to be based on what you feel you can most certainly adhere to the point of ” shredded abs”  think (6-8 percent body fat)

You’ll continue adhering to said caloric intake with the intentions of losing 1-1.5 lb per week, with a not so obsessive watch on the scale.

As we make our way down to low digit body fat, it becomes less about the numbers on the scale, and more so what we see in the mirror ( body composition)

We want as much muscle retention, and as much body fat reduction as we can, without being neurotic of the numbers on the scale, cause it WILL drive you crazy.

Given adequate time, I say adequate because results will in fact vary, With everything set in place at a sufficient rate, I would like to predict that 8-12 weeks is enough to take you from cut to shredded if the above is emphasized very heavily and carefully.

So lets say you follow everything to a t, and there are still obstacles in your path in revealing that hard earned, hard flexed sixpack, Well there are plenty of miniature variables that could be inhibitory on your quest.

water retention, cortisol, training intensity/volume, lack of sleep. and so forth can and will contribute to covering your sixpack with water. Im assuming water here, but its simply impossible for you to gain additional adipose tissue in a caloric deficit.

1. Not enough fiber

for some reason or another adequate fiber for myself and others has placed an integral role at successfully flushing water from within the skin, not even sure if its been proven by science, but
after recommended levels (25-30g) have been consumed, the skins subcutaneous layer tends to flush any excess water out that may be stuck from inadequate levels.
Vegetables, legumes, fruits, and fiber supplements exist on earth for your consumption, and should suffice for these purposes.

2. too much volume.
 I’ve seen people go nuts with their training volume, its as though they think once they begin consuming less food, they magically have more power than they did in maintenance or a higher end caloric surplus.

its already relatively stressful on the body with too steep of a deficit, start adding in excess amounts of volume and you’re asking for acute increases in cortisol, which will account for most of the masked fat loss people seem to mistakenly correlate with fat gain.

This isn’t the case, as calories come down, training intensity goes with it.

My highest priority when reaching shredded condition is putting the largest emphasis on maintaining or even surpassing prior strength goals with a lower volume, higher intensity approach.

Pick two exercise per muscle group and do your absolute best to maintain or surpass the lifts that got you that musculature in the first place.
neurally, hormonally, and mentally you won’t mess yourself up, and you’ll avoid some seriously detrimental effects of overtraining.

3. Drink enough water.
At least 3 clean liters of purified water should be drank throughout this period.
I used to neglect and associate strict aqua advocation as something a guru would subscribe,
but for the longest period of time I held this little layer of water on my lower abdomen and nothing worked, until I randomly started drinking more water and the issue subsided. I peed like crazy, and i imagine excess fluid in which my body sensed as dehydration was released after hydration was recognized. my skin, digestive system, and overall complexion look impeccable. It wasn’t that I was fundamentally unaware of water consumption, its that I simply adhered to the ” drink when your thirsty approach”

4. too much stress
Stress is a silent killer, it internally deteriorates your body, produces free radicals, cause inflammation, and one of all things further elicits excess cortisol, ultimately resulting in even more  water masked fat loss and specifically lowered testosterone. fight or flight is greatly associated with cortisol increase, adrenaline, and various excitatory neurotransmitters that will further reduce your ability to look ” shredded” feel good, and sleep well. Combine that with the constant pounding of excess training, stimulant abuse, and day to day stressors you can’t adapt to,and  you can expect a recipe for disaster.

If you happen to be experiencing any sort of stress that you can’t relinquish I highly suggest adopting a well structured meditation program, supplementing with an adaptogen such as rhodiola, ashwahghanda, or some magnesium or 5htp, and finally adressing the deepest source of your stress for a permanently positive solution. get it under control.

5. Cardio, a cure or a killer?
I’m a believer in staying active everyday with some sort of physical exercise.

its why some countries thrive and others don’t. we as humans are meant to keep moving.
Think about this: you keep moving you thrive, you stop you decay.
Cardio becomes rather problematic when the mass amount uniformed people embarking on a fitness quest think they HAVE to perform cardio to get to their desired fitness goal.
its not true, aside from increasing your cardiovascular health and endurance,
the true root of cardio for the sake of fat loss is further driving up the caloric deficit youre already in for faster fat loss, but it doesn’t equate to magical body composition, in fact you would have a hell of lot more enjoyable and effective time using diet and weights to get you there. however. on your off days I recommended walking as much as you can as easy way to increase the deficit without interfering with strength on your training days.

6. Patience
Patience is going to be the best virtue in determining the outcome of your Sixpack plan. mainly because people grow impatient, give up, binge, or do all sorts of silly things when results aren’t going fast enough, but thats the name of the game, and its kinda no different than wishing a flower to grow faster than it can. 

Youre taking your body to unpresedecented levels of body fat for self satisfaction. Especially if you’re not used to maintaining that level of body fat year round, its going to feel a little new at first, but eventually you’ll adapt and learn to incorporate satiating and strategic ways to maintain your newfound body fat level. 

consistency

with the straightforward, but undeniably effective strategies above, lets recap:

Largest priority should be progressive strength increases on key lifts, as this creates superior body composition as a whole, with great abs following through with it. 

Getting in the necessary calorie deficit to lose the fat, while keeping protein intake higher to ensure lean mass retention and mostly fat loss occurring. 

Incorporating strategic ab isolation movements aka the plank and hanging leg raises to increase contraction ability and mind to muscle in the abdominals 

Using cardio on off days solely as a tool to increase the calorie burn without inferring with strength training and keeping your cardiovascular health in place

Although this guide for abs is straight forward, I can guarantee it’ll be the most blunt, simple, and effective strategies you can take to ensure a definite sixpack. 
All those fancy books, magazines, and podcasts only tell you what you want to hear.
Routines consisting of 50+ ab exercises, neglecting energy balance, and telling you can spot reduce to get results, its all false, and taking you further away from your goals. 

To your and your success, 
stylewithstrength