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Do I Need To Do Abs Exercises For A 6-Pack?

No, but it's a good idea anyway. The idea of targeted fat loss has been an age-old debate. But

when it comes down to it, the only way to see your abdominal muscles is to lose body-fat.

We all have 6-pack abs under the body fat, although most people will have what bodybuilders call "plates" rather than wash-board ridges.

To get those wash-board ridges and deep separations between the muscles require diligent weight loss and abdominal exercises. The photo in this is of me from the Lehigh Valley Classic 2019 competition. I was less than 4% body fat and had dropped from 218lbs down to 178lbs. Add onto that shaving off body hair and a deep competition spray-tan and viola! Easy-peasy! (Not easy at all.)

To accomplish this took me 20 weeks of strict dieting, counting every calorie, ensuring that I wasn't dropping body-weight too fast (an indication of muscle-atrophy rather than fat-loss), strenuous workouts, no alcohol, lots of love and support from family and a pack of disposable razors.

To learn about how to lose body-fat and retain as much muscle as possible, read my article on

Keep reading to learn more about the exercises you should do.

The main abdominal muscle groups, and I'm sorry guys and gals, their true purpose is functional and not just nice to run your fingers over. They are:

  • Transversus Abdominis – These are deep within the abdominal wall and while they aren't seen on the surface they're crucial for core strength and proper posture. It's true function is to stabilise the trunk and maintain internal abdominal pressure.

  • Rectus Abdominis – These are the ones you know and love. The transversus abdominis, when exposed, make up the six-pack. The separations between the muscles that you see are actually caused by tendons. The purpose of the rectus abdominis is to contract (bend) the body between the ribcage and the pelvis.

  • External and Internal Obliques – The external oblique muscles allow the torso to twist, but to the opposite side of whichever external oblique is contracting. For example, the right external oblique contracts to turn the body to the left. The internal obliques flank the rectus abdominis and are located just inside the hip-bones. They operate in the opposite way to the external oblique muscles.

Here's a marked up version of the photo above labeling the minor muscle groups:

Let's dig into the exercises I prefer and those that I stay away from doing. I'll be demonstrating each of these in upcoming videos on the Muscle-Nation Youtube Channel.

Prefered Abs Exercises:

- Abs Wheel

- Lying Leg Raises

- Hanging Leg Raises

- Cable Crunches

- Upper-Abs Crunches

Not-Prefered Abs Exercises:

- Sit-ups -- Terrible for the lower back, especially for those (including myself) who have lumbar region arthritis.

- Traditional Crunches -- Again, rough on the lower back and often the momentum from rocking diminishes the effectiveness.

- Twists -- As a bodybuilder, my goal is to have as thin a waist as possible. Twists tend to work the obliques and may thicken the waist. However, twists can be great core strength exercises.

- Planks -- A decent exercise for building core strength but once you advance to the point that planks are easy, I find using the abs wheel far more effective at both building strength and muscle.

There are a ton of other exercises for abs. Some good, some not so much. And as you can tell from my other articles, I find the simplest, most direct movements that target exact muscle groups and protect joints to be the most effective and efficient means to muscle growth.

Let me know your favorite abs exercises in the comments below.

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