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Sunday, October 26, 2008

5 Minutes a Day to Build and See Your Six Pack Abs

Having a visual six pack mid section is the number one goal of almost everyone who works out and is the top indicator of a fit person. Having abs that ripple and show is not as hard or as complicated as some would have you think. It comes down to 3 simple steps that requires less than 5 minutes per day. Your mid section is comprised of basically two muscle groups, the external obliques and the rectus abdominis. The rectus abs are the "six pack" muscles and the obliques fill in between your abs and your back muscles. To have a visually appealing ab area you must train both muscle groups. The three largest mistakes people make are over training the abs, under training the obliques and using poor form. These muscle groups work in tandum and to get the most development they must be trained equally. Neither will develop fully with imbalanced training, a lot like bi's and tri's or quads and hamstrings.

The most important single aspect of effective abdominal training is good form. It's more important than the amount of weight used and harder to do with core work because they are not really large muscles, meaning they tire quickly, and for most people they aren't "visible" so you can't see them work as easily. Tired muscle overworked with poor form exercise, trains nothing.

The first step is to train the rectus abdominals. There are plenty of good ab exercises, but I use a cable machine and do Kneeling Cable Pull Downs. These are effectively crunches but done kneeling and pulling a cable down towards the floor. These are excellent because you can keep adjusting the weight, either up or down, to get the best full range of motion while allowing your form to stay good.

The second step is to again use a cable machine and do Woodchoppers. Place the cable high and assume a position that allows you to swing your torso around and down as if to swing an ax chopping wood. Again, using cables allows for correct weight choice.

For the above exercises you could do crunches and use a dumbbell for chops if a cable machine isn't available. Do an AVERAGE 30 good reps of abs, and on each side of obliques taking as many sets as you want every day, meaning today do 60 reps, tomorrow none, and so on. Or do 30 every day.

The third and final step is to get the abs to show. This requires you to, with all else in your life equal, burn an extra 300-500 calories a day. The easiest and fastest way to do this is to not eat it in the first place.

For more info on abdominal training and to learn how to build muscle weight lifting, visit

Steve R. Robbins has been a life long fitness enthusiast. Has the distinction of being able to run a marathon and bench press twice his weight in the same day. All at the age of 50. Editor and regular contributor to

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