How do I get a six-pack?

You eat less food to reduce body fat. There will be abdominal muscles under the fat, and adding some muscle to this area (resistance training) can make them appear more aesthetic; fat loss is the main predictor, however

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Six-packs; a function of both low body fat and high muscular density

The role of low body fat

The display of abs is more of a function of low bodyfat than anything else. You cannot reduce the fat around your belly without reducing overall fat.[1][2] Attempts should be made to reduce body fat in general, and fat located on the core will generally be lost in proportion to the rest of the body.

At very low body fat levels, a six-pack will almost always be visible. However, without adequate muscle density on the core this six-pack will look somewhat emaciated and reminiscent of skin covering chicken wire.

The role of muscular density

Like any skeletal muscle, the muscles that comprise the abs (rectus abdominus, serratus anterior, obliques, etc.) respond to stimuli and damage and grow in response to said stimuli; given adequate nutrition and repair is given.

The larger the core muscularity, the more likely it is to see the outlines of the highly sought after 'six-pack'. However, until body fat is lost any six-pack at higher body fat levels will appear blurry or otherwise soft.

Are you looking to lose fat and build muscle?


Examine.com offers a multitude of guides that are based on science. We focus on the evidence to give you step-by-step directions on what you need to take, what you may want to take, and what's an utter waste of money.

To help people with exactly what they want to level up, we offer specific guides:

Alternatively, you can get the entire bundle of Supplement Guides. For the cost of just three guides, you get access to 17 different guides that help you optimize and elevate whatever your health goal is.

If you want to figure out how to make your joints and bones feel great, our Guides are the easy, science-based solution for you.



References

  1. ^ Vispute SS, et al. The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat . J Strength Cond Res. (2011)
  2. ^ Green JS, et al. The effects of exercise training on abdominal visceral fat, body composition, and indicators of the metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women with and without estrogen replacement therapy: the HERITAGE family study . Metabolism. (2004)