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The Step-By-Step Blueprint to Six Pack Abs

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Take your pick:

  • Gerard Butler in 300
  • Brad Pitt in Fight Club
  • Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love
  • Marisa Miller, whenever

Common denominator? A killer sets of abs…and maybe a little visual editing/Photoshop.

Everyone’s abs develop differently — the product of varying genetics, anatomy, and muscular structure — but the same universal fact holds true: a well-developed set of abs is the most widely desired body part by men and women alike.

It’s no wonder that Americans drop hundreds of dollars annually on ab-specific products and fat-burners (think the Ab Roller and Hydroxycut, respectively), and crunch away endlessly with the hope of waking up one day with a carved-out midsection.

With all of the hard-work people put into sculpting a six-pack, the real question is: why do so few people have the washboard abs they’re looking for?

Go to the beach and look around, how many unfamiliar people do you notice with a 6-pack? To be honest…probably a lot, but I’ll bet you 95% are in a cooler.

Marisa Miller, Marisa Miller abs, marisa miller six pack, marisa miller midsection, marisa miller pictures

Unfortunately, here’s the reality of the situation (no pun intended):

  • Building abs takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication — 3 months minimum for most people
  • There is no single “magic” exercise, machine, pill or diet that’ll get you six-pack abs — it requires a combination of many factors
  • Abs exercises only make up ~ 20% of the six-pack process
  • There are so many misconceptions about how to develop a six-pack that people often waste a lot of time, effort, and money focusing on the wrong factors, and quite often things that are counterproductive

My goal is to help clear the air, clarify what actually contributes to a ripped midsection, and reveal the most effective, proven methods for developing one. Hopefully this’ll save you A LOT of time, money, and frustration, and more importantly get you on the fast track to the midsection of your dreams.

It’s a long, tough journey, but trust me…the destination is oh so sweet.


The Anatomy of Six-Pack Abs

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the different components of the abdominal region and their functions. Contrary to what people may believe, the abs doactually have a real purpose other than upping sex appeal. Strong abs help:

  • Naturally correct posture so that the body is in proper anatomical alignment
  • Strengthen the lower back and reduce back pain
  • Provide a strong center of gravity, which provides balance and stability
  • Transfer energy from the lower to upper body — this is critical for all sports and physical activity

  Abs Anatomy, anatomy of the abs, abs diagram, abdominal anatomy, ab parts

The abdominal region is made up of 4 muscle groups:

Rectus Abdominis

The rectus abdominis (RA) runs vertically down the midsection from the chest to the pelvis and forms what we know as the “six-pack.” The RA is responsible for any movement that involves bending forward (flexion) or backwards (extension), as in a traditional sit-up or crunch.

Example Exercises: Crunches, Cable Crunches, Sit-ups, Hanging Knee Raises


External and Internal Obliques

The obliques run diagonally along the sides of the midsection, stretching from the middle back all the way to the pelvis. They’re responsible for all horizontal rotation and torque (think golf or baseball swing), and aesthetically form the “v-cut.”  Stronger obliques can help flatten out love handles.

Example Exercises: Cable Woodchoppers, Pulse-Ups, Bicycle Crunches, Side Planks (additional examples here)


Transverse Abdominis

The transverse abdominis (TA) is the deepest ab muscle and surrounds the entire midsection, sort of like a built-in ab belt. Although the TA itself isn’t visible, it acts to compress the belly, which produces a really tight, compact look. A strong TA is absolutely critical if you want a flat, strong core.

Example Exercises: Planks and plank variations, Ab Roll outs


Serratus Anterior

The serratus anterior sits above the obliques and below the chest/lats. They look like finger muscles that run diagonally along the upper half of the midsection. They support any movements that engage the RA, chest, and lats.

Example Exercises: Dumbbell Pullovers, Lat Pulldowns, Standing One-Arm Crunches, Bicycle Crunches


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Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto

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