As the years went by I have met hundreds of people from various countries. Even though they have completely different beliefs, there is a subject which is universal to all of them. The most common feature that almost every man and woman dreams of, is the perfect six-pack. I’m not going to lie. I tried different things in order to have abs too. However I had many disappointments until I understood what really works.

The Life Upgrades - Six Pack

There are a few factors that you need to pay attention if you want to have visible abs. But before we explain each and every one of them in details, let’s explain the anatomy of abs because most people think that is just the six-pack that they can see.

First of all everyone needs to understand what these muscles really are. Every muscle in the body is the same thing. They are soft tissues made of stretchable fiber. The genes you are born with are the ones that decide on what your muscles will look like when you exercise them correctly and eat healthy. The DNA already has chosen what you will look like when you grow up. Some people find it difficult to lose weight, others to gain muscle mass, others to become ripped to the point of 3% body fat, others cannot have an excellent blocky six-pack and others might even have eight-pack which is less common to people. That is why is wrong to try to be exactly like someone else and instead try to be the best you can be every single day of your life.

Now let’s see what the muscles in that area look like. In the middle section of the abdomen area we have the upper, middle and lower abs. That is called “Rectus Abdominis”. This is the part that helps the most for the body to flex to different directions. The exercises that work this part are the ones that you bring the upper half of the body upwards like “crunches” and the ones that you raise your lower part upwards like “raising legs”. Then they are three separate muscles to the sides of the abdomen area, which in general are called “Obliques”. The first one is the “Transverse Abdominis”. This one is the deepest of the three. It is wrapped around the spine for protecting and stabilizing it. Also is the one that helps in the function of the core. The second one that is the middle one is called “Internal Abdominal Obliques”. This one wraps around the waist and it runs up and towards the midline from its origin. The third one is called “External Abdominal Obliques”. This is the largest of the three. Also is the one that covers the other two and is attached to the ribs. To exercise these three muscles you use exercises that twist the spine or flex it to the sides like “wood chops” or “side bends”. Here is what abs look like:

The Life Upgrades - Six Pack Abs

Apart from the above muscles there is also another one that most people do not even think about it when it comes to abs. However a nice six-pack is even better with that muscle. That muscle is called “Serratus Anterior”. This muscle is located at the posterior-lateral ribcage and it is the one that is connected with the “External Abdominal Obliques”. The exercises that work that muscle are the ones that you push with your hands against your body or pull over the weight in front of you like “push-ups” or “dumbbell pull overs”. This is what this muscle look like:

The Life Upgrades - Serratus Anterior

Now let’s move to those factors:

  • Genetics
    These decide what everything will look like and how they are going to function. Hormones, the shape of your body, your characteristics etc. From the day you were born it’s done and you can’t do anything about it. I always wanted to have full visible eight-pack but now I know that does not gonna happen and I accepted it. You should also accept it and move on.
  • Somatotypes (Aka body types)
    It’s part of your genetics but I wanted to explain it more. Males can go as low in body fat as 3-5% and females as low as 8-12% and be healthy because your body needs fat to function properly. Males put on weight mostly at the abdominal area, creating an “apple” or an “android” shape, therefore making it hard to have a six-pack. On the other hand for females is more common to store fat at the peripheral area or hips creating a “pear” or a “gynoid” shape.
The Life Upgrades - Body Shapes

Somatotypes except of the genders are also divided into 3 divisions. They are the “Ectomorphs”, the “Mesomorphs” and the “Endomorphs”. Each one has different features and that’s why they need a different approach. Mesomorphs can get abs easily if they exercise and eat enough. Ectomorphs need more food and high intensity workouts because they are too skinny and they have a fast metabolism. And lastly Endomorphs need to lower their carbohydrates intake and combine cardio with weight training.

The Life Upgrades - Body Types
  • Nutrition
    It’s the most important of all. Most people think that exercising is more crucial and that is wrong. If you want to see improvement on your body, then you must have in mind that nutrition takes 80% and exercising 20% part of that transformation. Have you ever heard the saying: “Abs are made in the kitchen”? The body works with whatever you give it to work with. If you eat only junk food then you will become fat, but if you eat healthy foods then you will have a fit body. Just by changing a few bad habits in your lifestyle into good ones you can lose a few kilos. It’s simple as that.
The Life Upgrades - Nutrition Comparison
  • Exercising
    Now that you took into consideration healthy eating let’s complete your healthy lifestyle with exercising. Working out will burn the excess fat stored and make those abs strong and visible. As we said before it’s like every other muscle. So don’t overdo it, you won’t see results faster. No more than 2-3 times per week and try to hit your abs from different angles by using different exercises to work every part of it. Also make sure to work out your whole core (lower back aka erector spinae included). If not you will have muscle imbalances and even pains.

Here are 3 ab workouts to try out:

And if you like before and after transformation here’s mine:

  • Resting
    Last but not least is resting. It’s the second most important after nutrition but most people don’t care about it. Imagine for a moment your body as a car. To work properly it needs petrol, oil and stuff to move. Also it needs to keep working regularly, because after some years it won’t work if you don’t use it. After a few months you need to take it for service to check if everything is working properly and the mechanic does the appropriate modifications. So petrol is the food that you give to your body to work out. Exercising is like using your car. If you don’t work out, then you will have health problems easier. Finally fixing those problems will help your car to keep functioning. Working out only and not resting will create some serious health problems. We talked about these in more depth in this article if you want to learn more.

Hopefully by now you know that you must NOT do what others do because you are different from other individuals and healthy lifestyle is the key to having that six-pack. For the genetics though I’m sorry but I can’t do anything about them. Just do your best and you will look great with or without clothes on.

Share this article to inform more people and tell us your thoughts in the comments below: Did you ever consider all of the above? Are you eating healthy and resting enough? Do you have any other tips that worked with your body? Did you like the workout and transformation videos?