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How To Get Six-Pack Abs: A Worthy Goal Or A Fantasy?

The legendary Jack LaLanne and equally renowned Vince Gironda were a fitness trainer and bodybuilder of the same generation. They were of similar height and weight, both showed muscular, trim-waisted physiques and both were revered by their students.

Jack LaLanne was more of a general fitness guru, while Gironda was a bodybuilder well known for his posing routines and extreme abdominal display.

Jack was a proponent of high repetition exercises and once performed 10,000 sit-ups on the fifties TV show, "You Asked For It."

He also completed 1,033 push-ups on another episode of the same show. Jack was very fit and practiced what he preached on his daily Los Angeles television show.

Vince on the other hand was a bodybuilder who, without great size (170 pounds at his biggest), achieved fame because of his great posing and extremely "cut-up" musculature. Vince's abs were the awe of the bodybuilding world. Vince Gironda never performed sit-ups.

What was the secret to Vince's great abs and cut-up muscles? Diet and exercise. The same formula used by Jack LaLanne for his extreme fitness. But why were Vince's abs far more defined and developed than LaLanne's . . . and Vince didn't do sit-ups, while Jack could do 10,000?

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Some of us are not genetically predisposed to highly defined musculature, but we can still achieve that six-pack. How well it shows depends upon the depth of our commitment. A six-pack abs development, one that you can really see, takes a lot of dedication to both diet and exercise.

The first element is diet. Get rid of any fat. In order for the abs to be seen as more than just a hint under that adipose, the subcutaneous fat layer under the skin, you have to get rid of it.

Otherwise, you may have nicely developed abs, but they will be only slight ripples in the lard (I know, I know, that statement isn't nice, but I'm trying to keep your attention).

A bodybuilder's diet is in order: High protein, healthy carbohydrates, fiber and lots of water. To get that six-pack, carbs should be restricted until the fat is gone. A properly balanced diet can then be initiated.

Vince advocated a concentrated diet for bodybuilders that consisted of four days of zero carbs, fifth day free, repeat this for up to six weeks.

We know that zero carbs is nearly impossible to achieve and what's more, it's unhealthy. It may take longer, but a balanced diet will ultimately achieve the results you are looking for . . . if you apply it properly and stick to it.

Supplement your diet with good, soluble oil (wheat germ oil), a protein supplement and natural amino acid supplements like lipotropic compound (Lipo-3).

These supplements will super-charge your metabolism and encourage your body to burn more fat. Drink a lot of water and abstain from caffeine and alcohol.

There is probably more fact and fiction about abdominal exercises than for the exercises for any other part of the human body. Some advocates say that they are not necessary while others will spend a lot of time in ab-specific routines. Who is right? Both are to some degree.

truth about abs

For a visible six-pack, however, it's the diet and a complete body workout routine that does the trick. Some abdominal work is necessary so their development is visible when your diet removes that fat layer that lies under everyone's skin.

You have to exercise the abs to develop them and to have a strong core to prevent back injury. Abdominal exercises that seem to build the muscles better are crunches, bicycle kicks and leg raises.

The Swiss Ball exercises for the core will develop the abdominal muscles very well. Check out some of the other best ab workouts you can do...

Abdominal Exercises to Get Ripped Muscles in Abs

The Hard Crunch - Lie on your back on a gym mat with your knees bent at a ninety degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Fold your arms across your chest.

Exhale as you raise your head, shoulders and chest off the floor, while pressing the small of your back against the mat.

Concentrate on the "crunch" of curling your ribs towards your hips. Pause while contracting your abdominals very hard for a few seconds. Inhale and slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat until the muscles are fatigued. The whole crunch movement should only be a few inches.

The Bicycle Kick - Lie on your back on a gym mat with your legs partially bend. Place your hands behind your head. Do not pull your head with your hands as you exercise. Bring the right elbow over to the left knee while twisting your torso.

Bring the left elbow over to the right knee while twisting your torso. Repeat until complete muscle fatigue is reached.

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Other Exercises that will contribute to your six-pack

Squats - Yes, squats that stress and fatigue the thighs, gluts and lower back, will work your core and abs, too. Keep tension on your abs while squatting and you will be getting a midsection workout as well as pumping your legs.

Front Lever on the Chinning Bar - Grip the chinning bar, palms forward, hands at shoulder width or a little wider. Without bending your arms, elevate your body until it is horizontal (or as close as you can get).

Hold this position for two seconds. Lower your body slowly to the start position. Repeat until the muscles are exhausted.

Swiss Ball Crunches - Sit on the Swiss Ball with your legs bent naturally. With your hands behind your head or over your chest, curl your body forward in a crunching movement. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Your buttocks will roll forward and back during this movement, increasing the effectiveness of the exercise.

Cardio-Vascular Exercises - All forms of cardio will benefit your overall fitness and help burn fat. Use variable resistance, speeds and elevations on the cardio machines for the most effective routine.

Running or sports-walking at a brisk pace, should also follow an interval approach; bursts of speed, followed by a slowdown, then another burst of speed. Vary the speeds and the amount of time spent in each phase of the exercise for the best results.

Throughout your regular exercises, both with weights and floor exercises, keep your abdominals tense.

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Let's review what we've learned

* Six-pack abs can be developed by anyone, but those without a genetic predisposition for muscularity will have to dedicate time and effort.

* Your six-pack abs program should include both diet and exercise as they are equally important to achieve results.

* Your diet should consist of natural foods, not processed off-the-shelf products.

* You should minimize caffeine and alcohol.

* Natural diet supplements will accelerate your progress.

* An intense, ab-specific routine isn't necessary to realize results.

* It isn't going to be easy, but it is achievable by anyone willing to dedicate the time and effort to a long-term program.

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I hope that you have benefited from the information provided. Just remember, a fit, good-looking body is worth the effort. Your payoff will be in fitness, good health and self esteem.