The following article aims to clarify the essential points to obtain the so-called six-pack abs, aka: six-pack or abs.
We decided to write it in response to strong requests, indicating many doubts, on this subject.
Sculpted abs are a goal sought after above all by boys, even if the figure of the fitness-model girl still requires an abdomen that is not only flat but obviously muscular and defined, which leaves little to the imagination in short.
Women, on the other hand, have the biggest “aesthetic need.” Luckily, men also have a better anatomical dowry (the separation of muscle groups in the abdominal wall) and metabolic dowry (a higher tolerance for low body fat percentages).
Referring to the reading of the article “Male Aesthetics”, sculpted abs, well-proportioned biceps, pectorals and buttocks are almost entirely sufficient to make a man physically a decent model.
So let’s proceed in order, first exposing the anatomical details of the anterior and lateral abdominal girdle.
Male Aesthetics: Training, Diet and Advice
Feminine Aesthetics: Training, Diet and Advice
Importance of the rectus abdominis
The muscle that gives the abdomen its “checkered” appearance is the so-called rectus abdominis, or rather, the two rectus abdominis – one on each side, specular medially.
This characteristic aspect is due to the typical tendinous inscriptions, of which three-four transversal and one vertical, which separates it from the contralateral rectum. To be clear, each rectus abdominis has 3, 4 or 5 squares (it also depends on the individual genetic variation) placed vertically; horizontally instead, it forms a pair with those of the opposite rectum.
However, the rectus abdominis is a unique muscle. There is no upper and lower abs. Arguing the opposite is as anatomically nonsensical as saying the upper biceps and the lower biceps.
Aesthetically speaking, and to a small extent also from a functional point of view, the situation changes. The upper portion has a different conformation, tissue composition and development aptitude from the lower one. Also, performing the straight crunch or the reverse crunch results in a differently located stimulus, but the muscle being trained is always the same.
What are these tendinous inscriptions for? Above all to confer resistance against the outward thrust of the viscera. If this muscle were not crossed by resistant connective tissues rich in collagen fibers, these would tend to herniate outwards – also due to the increase in volume or internal pressure, which occurs during pregnancy or during intense efforts by performing Valsalva (holding the breath on maximal inspiration).
Rectus abdominis and diastasis
By diastasis we mean the fissure of the connective tissue constituting the linea alba. It can occur in genetically predisposed subjects, in males more frequently in case of obesity or in old age, and in females especially following pregnancies.
The lower female predisposition to have a beautiful abdomen therefore also depends on a possible pregnancy. Regardless of weight gain, stretch marks, etc., this can separate the linea alba (as well as due to an increase in internal volume and pressure, also due to the action of certain hormones which determine the laxity of cartilage and connective tissue) and causing the aforementioned abdominal diastasis.
If on the one hand the pre-pregnancy training of the core, therefore as well as the pelvic floor also of the abdominal girdle, is a protective factor from post-pregnancy anatomical-functional complications, on the other hand performing it early or in conditions of full-blown diastasis can result wrong behavior.
This muscle, being on average made up of 50% of white fibers and 50% of red fibers, trains well by alternating sessions with lower repetitions with sessions with higher repetitions (series with overload at 10 repetitions and series at 20 repetitions); that said, for purely aesthetic purposes, the training to be preferred is undoubtedly that of the hypertrophic principle.
The aesthetic “quality” of the rectus abdominis is obtained, as for the other muscles, through a reasonable hypertrophy – with intense workouts involving the greatest number of fibres, with maximum emphasis on the curvature of the spine during flexion of the torso on the pelvis (curving more back possible, without leaning on the legs) – and a high definition (with a negative energy balance, induced by a low-calorie slimming diet and greater energy consumption due to “lipolytic” aerobic activity.
However, it stands to reason that genetics also play an important role. We are not hiding behind a blade of grass but, if the goal is high – percentages of a fitness-model definition – the epidermis must be thin and the sensitivity of the adipose tissue to the action of catabolic hormones high.
However, it is not enough to model only the rectus abdominis; you must also act on the obliques and the transverse.
Importance of the abdominal obliques
If you want to widen your waist, you should work on your obliques, which have a moderate ability to hypertrophy. To do this, you should do more torso twisting exercises with natural load, and gradually increase the intensity to get better results. Lateral push-ups on the cable and on a specific bench with handlebars, as well as intense twisting during the crunch, are to be avoided in both men and women who tend to have a muscularly broad waist.
Importance of the transversus abdominis
A well-calibrated tone of the transversus abdominis is essential to keep the abdomen flat by emphasizing the containing action on the viscera.
Not only that, it seems that a tonic transverse contrasts the dilation of the stomach, emphasizing the sense of satiety. Due to the fact that this is a muscle that helps you breathe out, you can work it out by forcing yourself to breathe out for a few seconds while you are doing the crunch. Alternatively, the more experienced can focus on an exercise called vacuum, – complex but very effective.
In summary, the muscle that gives the image to chess of the abdomen and the rectus abdominis, which must be trained with maximum intensity.
For reduce The waistline you have to yes set tone garlic oblique but avoiding the excessive hypertrophy; The twist with stick “makes everyone agree”.
For flatten the abdomen, moreover, is necessary to tone the transverse running exhales forced of about two seconds in the phase of maximum contraction of the crunch; a excellent alternative and the vacuum. This has a blandly anorectic effect in some subjects, particularly those who are overweight.
At these points, to get six pack abs will be added aerobic activity in “lipolytic” fascia in Association to relative low-calorie diet slimming for the reduction of fat tissue.
For special exhibitions, services or events that require exceptional services, we recommend reading the articles dedicated to female aesthetics, male aesthetics and the preparation of the photographic book.
General page on the anatomy of the abdominal muscles
Example of a six pack abs routine
The routines to get sculpted abs will have to be adapted to the subject as is always appropriate.
Below we will show are just a couple of examples that certainly do not want to replace the work of a Personal Trainer. The series shown will become part of a more complex workout that will also include the other muscles – see the example cards in our articles on male and female aesthetics.
Example I of six pack abs routine
- Crunch 2 x 20 (the following week it will be: sit up 2 x 10);
- 90″ rest;
- Wide and Slow Twist 1 x 90”;
- Treadmill or elliptical x 20–25′ 60–70% Fcmax
The crunch will be performed on a horizontal flat bench, taking care of the roll of the back (multi-vertebral flexion) and the forced expiration of about 2” in the phase of maximum contraction and avoiding blocking the ankles by leveraging them and thus exploiting the ilium-psoas and quadriceps femoris.
Example II of six-pack abs routine
- Reverse crunch on bench 2 x 20; the following week, it will be on incline bench instead.
- 90″ rest;
- Fast short twist with stick 1 x 30”;
- Treadmill or elliptical 20–25′ 60–70% Fcmax
The reverse crunch will initially be performed on a horizontal flat bench, taking care of the roll of the back – multi-vertebral flexion – and the forced expiration of about 2” in the phase of maximum contraction.
The twist will be performed at speed.
The series for the rectus abdominis are few but can be increased in case of rapid adaptation; furthermore, remember that intensity is the key to hypertrophy and not volume.