November 11


6-pack fact or fiction? Abdominal facts and myths you need to know

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If there's one body part that attracts a lot of attention from both men and women, it's the 6-pack. Today I'm busting some myths and explaining some abdominal facts you should know if you want results.

Unfortunately, like most areas of fitness and nutrition, there's a LOT of conflicting information out there. Not only that but some of the information given through social media, lifestyle magazines and other marketing channels is just plain wrong.


Here's my take on 6 popular thoughts to achieving a 6-pack. Will they turn out to be fact or fiction?

Fact: Fat loss is more important

The secret is there is no secret.

To achieve a chiselled set of abs, look to shed body fat. Focus less on what abdominal exercises you perform.

Body fat around your abdomen will hide your 'developed' abs from view.

abdominal fact - genetics is important

Abdominal Fact: Choosing your parents help

Genetics and body type play key roles in determining whether your abs will ripple in the sun.

Fiction: Quantity that counts

Loads of abdominal reps will build a 6-pack. Nope, sorry, not true.

In fact, it's better to perform the exercises slowly and with control. Use extra resistance if you can. See some abdominal training tips below.

Doing so will really overload your abs and stimulate them to grow

abdominal fact - body type matters

Abdominal Fact: Body type matters

Mesomorphs and ecto-mesomorphs naturally have athletic physiques.

Additionally, they tend to respond quickly to training adaptation.

These body types have a better chance of achieving a 6-pack. 

Fact: ectomorphs often have visible abs.

To get them really noticed though, it's important to make their abs grow.

A suitable training option would be adding resistance to bodyweight abdominal exercises. See some examples below.

Fiction: It's crunch time

Loads of people think crunches are key to building a 6-pack.

Cardio exercise to reduce body fat and compound weight training exercises, such as the squat are just as important.

In fact, research indicates that there can be as much electrical activity in the abdominal muscles when performing a squat as when performing abdominal exercises

Electrical activity is measured by electromyography (EMG) - the more there is the greater the amount of muscle fibre recruited

Abdominal training tips that work for a fact

Once a good level of abdominal fitness has been established using bodyweight exercises add weight.

Try this exercise: perform a standard sit-up, holding a 5kg or 10kg weight disc across your chest

Do 4 x 8 repetitions with 60 seconds recovery between sets

Super-set your ab training


  • 10 crunches,
  • 30 second-hold plank and
  • 10 weighted situps (as described above)

Repeat 3 times

(intermediate and advanced trainers only)

Any other 6-pack tips, or abdominal facts and myths you've heard?

Let me know in the comments below and I'll help you figure out if it's fact or fiction.

About the author

Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs.

He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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