It will take dedication, time and patience to get a six pack. You need to do two things: lose fat and build muscle. You get this by dieting and exercising consistently. You can have the most toned and muscular abs, but it will not show if there is a layer of fat over them. This article will discuss ways in which you can accomplish both of these goals.
Do sit ups. Lie on the floor, feet on the floor, knees up and hands crossed on your chest. Have someone hold your feet down, or wedge them underneath something heavy. Sit all the way up, lifting your lower back off the floor along with your shoulder blades. Keep your back straight (no hunching). Lower yourself down. Repeat.
- Once this becomes relatively easy for you (i.e. you can do a quite a bit with ease) start adding more challenges. Find an incline bench. Do weighted sit ups. Hold a weight on your chest while you do these. As these become easier, hold heavier and heavier weights.
Do crunches. Lie on the floor (with or without a mat) with your arms in front of your chest or with your hands lightly touching your temples (never behind your head). Bend your knees. Raise your shoulders (upper torso) towards your knees, using strictly your abdominal muscles.
It is very important to not lift your entire back off the floor, as this can cause back strain. Additionally, the extended movement does not help you develop six pack abs any faster.
The most important part of the crunch is the initial flexing of your abs as you lift your shoulders off the floor. As soon as you begin lifting off the floor, exhale through your mouth, ending with a gasp once your shoulders are off the floor.
Pause for a second once you are at the top of the crunch and exhale the last bit of air from your diaphragm while flexing your abs. Lower back down slowly and controlled while inhaling through your nose, just until your shoulder blades touch the ground. Do not let your head touch the ground.
Do leg lifts. Lie on the floor, legs straight out, hands at your sides. Lift your legs straight up (not bending your knees at all) until they’re at a 90 degree angle (or close). Lower your legs and repeat without letting your legs touch the floor.
For more of a challenge, use a parallel bar at a gym to raise yourself up using your arms as support and dangle your legs.
Easy: Just raise your knees to your chest. Keep your knees bent and your legs underneath your thighs.
Medium: Raise your legs to a horizontal position with your legs straight and outstretched. This helps firm up the lower abdomen.
Hard: If you’re truly a monster, try doing leg lifts with a medicine ball hanging from your feet. Or, hang from a pull up bar and raise your legs in front of you all the way up to the bar, keeping your legs straight.
Do jackknife sit ups. Lie down flat with your back on the floor. Place your hands on the ground to your sides for balance; you can pick them up as you get used to the movement. Simultaneously raise your knees and torso so that your knees and face meet on an imaginary line extending from your pelvis to the ceiling. You should be able to kiss your knees at the top of the motion. Your legs will naturally fold, bringing your feet towards your hips, much like a jackknife. Lie back down (i.e. “spread out”) and repeat.
Don’t let momentum bring you down. Slowly put your hands and feet back on the ground. Place a weight between your feet when you think you can handle it.
Try butt-ups. Start in the push-up positions, except with your elbows and forearms on the floor. With your elbows and forearms resting on the ground, slowly move your glutes as high up into the air as possible. Your body will look like a mountain, with your glutes being the peak. Slowly lower the glutes back down into the starting position, being careful not to sag the back below the hips.
Do static holds (planks). Put your body into the push-up position but with your elbows on the floor, and your whole body flat. This position is also known as the plank, and it trains your core (including your abs) to hold the body in place. Hold this position for as long as possible.
Beginners should be aiming to start off with at least 45 seconds, while seasoned ab workers are known to achieve over 5 minute static holds.
To perform the side static hold, roll onto one side of your body and lift into the same position as before. This time, only one arm should be on the ground, with the other arm pointed straight up the air and your non weight-bearing leg resting on your bottom leg. Once again, hold this for as long as possible.
Train your oblique muscles. It’s not as important to work on your oblique muscles at first, but eventually you’ll want to start working these too. These are the muscles on either side of your stomach. There are multiple ways to do this and anything that includes twisting your torso against a resistance counts. There are twisting machines at gyms; you can twist while you do sit-ups; you can do side bends; you can twist side to side with a medicine ball in hand, etc. Be aware though, that many beginners tend to have weak obliques compared to their abs (it simply isn’t used as much in daily life) so go easy on the sides at first.
Do bicycle crunches. Lift your feet off the ground while doing the crunches by alternating each leg in the air. Bring your left knee up toward your right shoulder and then your right knee toward your left shoulder.
Find new ways to crunch, bend and twist in your daily life. Some possibilities include:
Use a stability ball. Do your crunches on the ball to introduce instability to your workout, which will improve your balance too. There are also lots of core exercises that has a pathway. Do this as often as you are comfortable or at times when it won’t look weird. You can bend forward from the hips or, if you’re really into it, bend at the knees too and really “sink” out of the way.
Do an ab roller exercise. Hold the ab roller while kneeling down on the floor. Slowly push the ab roller out away from your body, extending your arms. Go down as far as you can without touching your torso to the ground. Yours arms should be well outstretched above your head.
Try a barbell ab rollout if you don’t have an ab roller. Use an Olympic barbell loaded with 5 or 10 pounds on each side. Get into pushup position, with your hands on the barbell instead of on the ground. Slowly lift your hips and bring the barbell back towards your legs, until your legs are perpendicular to the ground and your glutes are all the way back. Go back down slowly and repeat.
Do pull-ups hanging from a horizontal bar. You will be amazed at the number of muscles around your stomach working with pull-ups. Do 5 pull-ups with your palms facing away from you and 5 pull-ups with your palms facing towards you. This will also build your lats and biceps at the same time.
Add complex core-movements to your workout. That will boost your overall body constitution tremendously. For example, combine push-ups with rows. Go into a push-up position on two dumbbells. Now don’t do a push-up, but instead start to row alternating dumbbells. See how much power you need only to hold balance? Combine exercises! Be creative. Tension is your friend.
Do Push Ups. Check out the various types of push ups like the standard push ups or knuckle push ups or even the diamond push ups, which ever you feel comfortable with, you can google them and do which ever one you wish to do.
Do Dragon flags. It is also known as reverse crunches, and it is the most extreme form of abdominal exercises, Bruce Lee and Sylvester Stallone have done this great workout. Lie on your back on a bench or bed, place your hands behind your head and hold onto the edge of the bench or bed. Balancing on the back of your shoulder blades and not applying full pressure on the back of your neck, tighten your abs like bracing yourself for a punch along with your legs and butt. Raise your legs and lower back off the surface and bring it down to 45 degree angle, not letting your butt touch the surface. Do not bend your hips when raising or declining.
Train your entire core. To build really great abs it’s helpful understand what abs do. Their full name is “rectus abdominis.” The “rectus” bit is Latin for “straight, proper, upright.” Contrary to popular opinion, the abdominals’ primary job is not to curl you up into a ball, but rather to work together with the back muscles to maintain correct posture and stabilization. Some of the best exercises for abs are ones that force your entire core to go into overdrive to support your spine. Some exercises that do this are squats and deadlifts.
Understand what it means to lose weight. In order to burn fat, you need to use up calories. Since there are about 3,500 calories in a pound, you need to burn about 3,500 more calories than you bring in with food or drink in order to lose one pound. It sounds simple, but it’s actually quite hard.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations. A vigorous, hour-long workout will only burn 800 – 1,000 calories. Luckily, being active helps, and if you burn between 600 and 800 more calories than you take in per day, you can expect to lose about one pound per week. You’ll start seeing results in your abs quite quickly.
Understand this before you start trying to lose belly fat: There is no way to target fat loss in any one area of your body. (This is also called “spot training.”) Just like your body deposits fat in many different places, it burns fat in your entire body, not just from your abs or your thighs.
Do cardio workouts. You need to lose some of that extra fat over your abs. Even if you work out and get gigantic ab muscles, if there is still a layer of fat over them no one will ever get to see them. Cardio workouts are workouts that raise your heart rate for a given set of time. Some examples would be running, jogging, bike riding, dancing and rowing. Try cardio workouts often (3 to 5 times per week) for at least an hour at a time.
Try interval training. Interval training is short burst of furious activity followed by longer periods of low activity. Researchers think that interval training helps burn fat better than exercising at the same intensity for longer times: One study found that participants who practiced interval training on their bikes for only 20 minutes a day lost on average 4 more pounds, over 4 months, than participants who cycled at the same speed for 40 minutes a day.
Eat smaller meals late at night. Meals later on in the day tend to get stored as fat not because your metabolism is beginning to shut down, but because late-night meals are often overly caloric snack foods such as pizza or ice cream that aren’t worked off before you go to bed. Your metabolism works even while you sleep; the fact is that most people eat sweets and starches before bed rather than kale and spinach.
Try eating a larger lunch or snacking healthily before dinner. Fresh fruits or vegetables are excellent choices for curbing appetite while offering healthful benefits. A handful of nuts might do the same.
Try drinking a large glass of water or tea right before sitting at the table. Your stomach will feel more full, allowing you to comfortably eat less.
Eat breakfast. Many people skip breakfast because they don’t have time for it. The harm of skipping breakfast from a weight loss perspective is twofold: it causes you to get hungrier later on, and it fails to jump start your metabolism. Eating a healthy breakfast will keep you from eating more later on and put increase your resting metabolism by as much as 10% — for the rest of the day!
Try eating lean protein in the morning. Skip the bagels and cream cheese. Instead, try:
Egg-white omelet with spinach, turkey, and chipotle peppers.
Greek yogurt with blueberries, bananas, and flax seed.
Leftover salmon with whole-grain toast.
Simple starches such as potatoes (hash browns, etc.) and refined wheat (white bread, etc.).
Smoothies. Low fat drinks don’t always translate to lean physiques.
Lift weights. The more muscle your body has, the more calories your body burns, even at rest.  Plus, resistance training is important to limit the amount of muscle mass lost whilst reducing your calorie intake. If you only do cardiovascular exercises (running, playing basketball, football) without weight training, you may lose the muscle mass, including the muscle in your abs.
Keep metabolism steady. While there isn’t any scientific merit to the claim that eating six meals a day instead of three will help you lose weight, there are foods that you can eat that will slow down your metabolism. Avoid these foods to keep your metabolism steady:
Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and rice.
Sugar, which is absorbed quickly, but which brings your metabolism to a crawl.
High-fat foods, such as fast food and fried food.
Drink more water every day. To find out how much water you need to drink as a minimum per day, halve your weight (in pounds) and that is how many ounces of water you need to drink. So a 150 lb person would need to drink a minimum of 2.2 liters a day. It sounds like an absurd amount of water, but you get water from the food you eat, and you can drink teas to make up some of the quota.
Drinking too much water (several liters, especially while sweating) can dangerously dilute certain salts and minerals. If you are exercising heavily and sweating a lot, you will need to replace your salts as well as fluids. Supplement your water drinking with a sports drink or potassium rich fruits such as bananas and apples.
Switch out refined grains for whole grains. In a scientific study, people who ate all whole grains (in addition to five servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of low-fat dairy, and two servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry) lost more belly fat than another group that ate the same diet, but with all refined grains. A diet rich in whole grains changes the glucose and insulin response in your body, which hastens the burning of fat.
Get the right amount of sleep. Doctors are beginning to dive deeper into information suggesting that hormones that control appetite are affected by sleep, or lack thereof. In one study, scientists compared individuals who got 5.5 hours of sleep per night, and individuals who got 8.5 hours of sleep per night. The individuals who slept 8.5 hours per night were able to lose more body fat than those who slept only 5.5 hours per night.
Control your stress. Stress, along with sleep, is helpful in pushing you toward your weight-loss goal. Participants in a study who slept at least 6 hours but no more than 8, and who had the lowest levels of stress, were more likely to lose weight than participants who reported higher levels of stress.