Weekly Wellness Tip

So You Want 6-Pack Abs???

Posted: February 21, 2011
By: Dr Chaz Ebert

So You Want 6-Pack Abs???

I truly hope this isn’t the 6-pack you’re hoping for! ;)   The desire for 6-pack abs is immense these days.  Just take a look at any magazine stand, I guarantee at least 90% of the health/fitness magazines have a headline on the front cover stating its guarantee to get you 6-pack abs.  Some of these articles are okay, but the majority of them are missing the boat completely.  You see, when you flip to these articles in the magazines, most of them are showing you dozens of different ab exercises  for you to perform thousands of reps.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Now, is direct ab work important in developing a nice flat, toned mid-section…YES!  However, it places a DISTANT 3rd behind proper diet and High Intensity Interval Training. 

That’s right…..if you want a six-pack, DO NOT focus on performing 1000′s of crunches daily (will discuss later).  That’s why people get so frustrated and give up when they don’t see any results after saying, “But I did hundreds and hundreds of crunches everyday, and didn’t see any change!”  They are approaching it completely backwards!  What you need to understand is that EVERYBODY, yes EVERYBODY already has abdominal muscles.  It’s just that people have layers of fat covering up the muscle.  Instead of working on the muscles, you must focus on peeling off the layers of fat so that the muscle definition can be actually seen, leading to the 6-pack abs you desire!

So, how do you obtain those washboard abs?  Simple…follow these 3 steps:

1)  Eat a clean diet!

2)  Perform High Intensity Interval Training

….and a DISTANT 3rd……

3)  Perform direct abdominal work

Let’s break it down.  First and foremost, abs are made in the kitchen!  You can’t outwork a bad diet.  So cut down on the carbs, dairy, sugar, and processed foods and start eating whole foods, mostly plants, and flat-out don’t eat so much! 

Next, research continues to show how much more effective High Intensity Interval Training is than long, slow, boring cardio in burning stomach fat.  Instead of doing 45 minutes of steady-state cardio, perform 2o minutes of interval training.  Pick your exercise (treadmill, spin bike, elliptical, row machine, jumping jacks, kettlebell swings, run in place…whatever you want), go as fast as you can for 45 seconds, then rest for 45 seconds.  Repeat that for as long as you can working up to 20 minutes.  Overall, you save time and burn more fat (even after you’ve completed the workout). 

Third, perform full body abdominal exercises.  Do crunches work the abs…yes, but they put dangerous stress on your spine and promote poor posture.  Instead, perform planks!  In my opinion, they are the best thing you can do to strengthen your core!  When I made this change in my workouts, I saw great results quickly.  Now, I can’t even remember the last time I did a crunch!  How do you perform them? 

Get in this position and hold it for as long as you can.  Keep your body straight, abs tight, and don’t let your hips rise or sink.  Try to work your way up to holding for 60 seconds with no rest.  Once you’ve reached 60 seconds, shoot for 2 minutes.  Or try a stability ball plank like this:

Same concept, just with arms on a stability ball.  You will be amazed at the burn you feel!

Want to work those love handles?  First, eat right.  Second, do your intervals.  Third, perform side planks:

So there you have it….the truth about 6-pack abs.  Hopefully this was helpful!  Summer is just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get started!

Love and Health,

Dr. Chaz

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