I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of reasons why you want to know how to get a six pack fast.
Maybe you want to improve your posture, or cure yourself of back pain. Or perhaps your dream is to be able to take a huge punch to the gut without getting hurt.
But probably the main reason you want abs is because they look damn sexy.
Whether it’s the kind of washboard abs you can grate cheese off, or a sexy faint outline adorning your midsection, there’s nothing like a six pack to put a twinkle in your eye when you look in the mirror.
I want to tell you about 5 proven, effective ways to get ripped in 4 weeks.
You won’t find any nonsense here, like electric ab stimulators, diet pills or other silly gimmicks. Getting a six pack is not easy. But I want you to choose to get a six pack, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.
Difficult things are worth doing because when we do them, we gain qualities which affect all aspects of our life. Doing difficult things makes us more successful people.
So, let’s begin.
1. Losing weight is the first step
I know this seems like obvious advice. But it has to be said right off the bat.
The fact is, even if you already have abs of steel, no-one’s ever going to see them as long as there’s even just a thin layer of blubber covering your belly.
If you have excess fat and you want a six pack which people can see, your first step is to get your body mass index down to the level where your abdominal muscles can show themselves.
What’s the best way to lose fat?
That’s a big subject, and this isn’t the place to go deeply into it, but you can read about my 5 super effective strategies for losing weight in this article.
All I will say now is that if you want to lose weight, or gain muscle, or basically make any kind of positive, lasting change in your life, you need to harness the power of habit.
Start this by introducing just one keystone habit into your life – say, 15 minutes of intense exercise after work. If you can keep up the discipline you’ll start to notice changes – small wins – which will set off a chain reaction of new habits and new wins.
This is the key to long-lasting weight loss – not a quick fix but deep change which gets to the root of the problem.
2. Get ripped with callisthenics
Check this video. Notice how all these guys are totally shredded with amazing six packs?
Callisthenics means exercises which only use the weight of your own body instead of external weights such as barbells, dumbbells etc. Pull-ups and push-ups are classic callisthenics exercises.
Movements range from being pretty easy – most people can do basic push-ups – to unbelievably difficult – only a handful of people on this planet can do planche push-ups really well.
The point is, doing body-weight exercises will help you get a ripped six pack fast because each exercise requires you to use a very large number of muscles – and this always includes your abdominals.
Let’s compare using a lat pull-down machine to doing pull-ups. They both mainly target your Latissimus Dorsi and Bicep muscles. However, while lat pulldowns don’t really work much else, you’ll notice when doing pull-ups how much you have to bring your abs into play to support your body on each rep.
Same story with push-ups vs bench press. Push-ups hit your abs, bench press not so much.
With callisthenics, whichever exercise you do, you’re always working your abs.
Great exercises for abs include pull-ups, hanging leg raises and extended push-ups (hands further forward than normal). A more advanced movement is the front lever – hanging from a bar with arms straight, you bring your body up so that your legs, trunk and head are horizontal, in one line.
The best callisthenics training equipment you can get is a decent pull-up bar, a pair of paralettes and parallel bars. You can also use calisthenics resistance bands to help you progress with the more difficult movements.
3. Understand how to exercise your core properly
Back when I first started training, I used to think core exercise just meant doing sit ups. I didn’t know much else.
At some point I decided I really wanted to get a six pack, so I started smashing out sit ups – as many as I could, as often as I could. I got pretty good – sometimes grinding out a thousand repetitions in a single session
Of course, at the time I didn’t know I wasn’t just wasting my time by doing so many sit ups, I may actually have been damaging my spine.
Loading your spine and bending it back and forth over and over again is one easy way to cause back problems.
I’m not going to say don’t ever do sit ups because they’re still a good ab exercise and most athletes do them. But these days no personal trainer worth their salt will ask a client to pump out hundreds of sit ups. There are much better ways to exercise your core.
Instead of requiring you to round your spine during the movement, truly effective core exercises should engage the muscles that prevent your spine from rounding.
Doing this trains all the muscles that sit ups do plus some, and in a far more integral way, forcing your core muscles to work together as a group. It also engages your hip and lower back muscles, increasing your ability to transfer power between your upper and lower body – important for sports performance and everyday movement.
I recommend mastering a few plank-based exercises. The plank is one of the best exercises you can do to develop a strong core because of the way you have to tense your entire core to keep your spine from bending.
Doing the basic plank exercise can get easy quickly but there are hundreds of variations you can do to up the difficulty. One of the best ways is to use a resistance band in the plank position, for example, using a mini resistance loop to perform ‘mountain climbers’ as in the photo above.
4. Start using an ab wheel roller
Ab wheel rollouts are the most effective abdominal exercise known to man.
This is because of the way they force your deep core muscles to contract intensively and work together as a whole group. No other core exercise does this as effectively.
But using an ab roller is DIFFICULT. If you’re not used to using one and you do just one set – I guarantee the next day your abs will be sore. Even if you already have a strong core.
The problem with sit-ups and many other ab exercises is that, once you’re used to them, they become pretty easy. With practice, you’ll soon be smashing out several sets of 30+ reps without any muscle soreness the next day – meaning you won’t make tremendous gains.
Doing hundreds of ab exercises is time-consuming and, let’s be honest, boring.
With an ab roller, doing 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps is enough to really blast your abs. Do this three times a week and you’ll quickly develop a nice, even six pack.
If your ab routine is repetitive and takes up a lot of time, it’s unlikely you’ll stick to it. Using an ab roller requires short sessions of concentrated effort – just 6 or 7 minutes and you’re done – minimum time, maximum result.
It’s difficult to become good at using an ab wheel, but remember what we said about doing difficult things?
Rollers are simple contraptions and you don’t need to spend much on one – just make sure it has two central wheels (or one very wide wheel) for stability, and a robust build so it doesn’t break and land you on your face.
5. Work your core during your warm-up and while you rest
Get into the habit of spending 5 minutes working on your core before every workout. This the best time to work your abs, since your body is at its freshest and you can put everything into the exercise.
Also, firing up your core muscles will help prepare you for doing complex, multi-joint movements like deadlifts and squats. A weak core is what prevents many people from lifting heavier weights, so doing some core exercises before your strength workout will help you to maintain proper spine alignment during large compound movements.
Your rest time is also a time when you need to be adding some core exercises. I’m sure you’ve seen people in the gym who’ll do one set and then spend the next 15 minutes playing with their phone or posing in the mirror.
Don’t waste your time when you’re in the gym. Go there to work hard and improve yourself.
If you’re a busy person you may only have 30 or 40 minutes to do a workout, so every second counts. You should be looking to pack as much physical activity as possible into that time. This isn’t just about using your time efficiently, it’s also about burning calories. Burning calories means burning fat, which is what will give you a well-toned physique and rippling six pack.
Lifting weights is one of the best ways to burn calories, but you need to keep your work output high. Doing the odd set and then having a long rest is not a high-intensity workout and will not burn a lot of calories.
Using your rest period to gently workout a different muscle group is a great way to maintain your heart rate and keep burning those calories. This can be as easy as just holding the plank position with a mini resistance band for 1 minute between sets.
Almost anyone can get a six pack in a short period of time. It’s just a question of reducing body fat and doing the right kind of abdominal exercises. I won’t lie to you and say it’s easy, but then again, it’s probably not as hard as you think. And anyway, if it’s not hard, then it’s not worth doing, right?