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6 Myths & Truths About 6-Pack Abs

Let’s Blow These Myths Out Of The Water!

Posted by RyanModernize - May 29th, 2016

If you ask anyone to describe their idea of what optimum fitness looks like, chances are they will include the term “six pack” at some point, and it’s easy to see why. Turn on any movie or open any magazine, and before long, you’ll see the rock-hard abdominals of a ripped Hollywood action star or swimsuit model. Yet, abdominal definition can seem elusive, no matter how hard you work or how many crunches you do. Here at Modernize, we have separated fact from fiction to help you achieve those six-pack abs you dream of.

Myth: I Can Get A Six Pack Through Exercise Alone

The only way you can achieve your goal of having a rock hard six pack is with proper nutrition. It doesn’t matter how solid your abdominals are if they are covered in a layer of fat. By adhering to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is packed full of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, you are certain to shred that lingering fat and give your abs the attention they deserve.

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Myth: Every Workout Needs To Include A Strenuous Abs Portion

No matter what your training plan is for the day, you will work out your core in the process. Whether it is lifting weights or doing yoga, your abs give you the support and stability you need in order to have the perfect form for each movement. Remarkably, they are going to get a great workout regardless. However, if you do wish to have a few focused ab moves with each workout, be sure to switch them up every week so that you don’t injure yourself through constant repetitions.

Myth: Crunches Are The Best Exercise To Do To Get A Six Pack

Crunches are a fantastic ab workout, but they shouldn’t be your only go to if you are serious about getting and maintaining a six pack. Your abs aren’t able to be isolated independently like you can with other muscle groups. Your obliques and the transverse abdominis are right there working alongside your rectus abdominus all the time, so you need to include motions that utilize them as well, such as rotations and static holds. If you only do crunches, you may not achieve the total ab definition you really want.

Myth: I Am Only Fit Once I Have Achieved The Perfect Abs

This is simply not true! Fitness does not translate into one specific body type, and that includes washboard abs. Our bodies actually need to maintain a percentile range of fat in order to operate optimally. Since the only way to see your cut abs is to trim the fat, there are times that overall health can take a backseat to aesthetic. Monitor your own body fat percentage and strive to keep it in the 9 to 18 percent range for men and 19 to 25 percent range for women.

Myth: Give Up, Women! There’s No Way You Can Have A Six Pack

Metabolically, it can be more difficult for a woman to achieve a washboard stomach than for a man, but that certainly does not make it impossible. Since women’s bodies are inherently designed to bear children, there is naturally a larger fat distribution in a woman’s midsection. Yet, through a proper diet and exercise program, a six pack is definitely achievable.

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Myth: Rest Days Are For Wusses!

When you isolate a muscle and really push it to its limit, little tears occur in the muscle. It is your body’s process of rebuilding that muscle that makes it grow bigger and more defined. And the only way your body is able to do its job is if you give it a rest. Abs can be worked a lot, but it’s still worthwhile giving them a break from direct work every now and then.


With proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, and good rest, you, too, can have legendary six pack abs!

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It's said that ectomorphs have the hardest time gaining muscle. Generally, compared with other body types, ectomorphs have smaller...


There are a few things that seem really right about this article!

1) Diet is an essential aspect because it is key to shedding fat that covers muscle.  Exercise is NOT a weight-loss activity but rather a strengthening activity.  Great  abs, as an outward sign of overall healthfulness, requires both good weight (and metabolism) and strength (power and endurance).

2) Proper nutrition to a great degree depends on the metabolism of the individual, but I like how this article recognizes that carbohydrates are the source of body fat and how it suggests a low-carb diet as key to shedding pounds and keeping them off.  Certainly that has been true for me, who has pursued an Atkins-style ultra-low carb diet to switch my metabolism from carbs (glucose) to fat (ketones) as the source of energy.  And there is a limit to how much protein your body can use, typically maxed at 30% of calories used and even for athletes usually in the 20's % range --so a low-carb diet means a high-fat diet, which must be the right kind of fats.  But I recognize there are many superior body builders (such as our Scott Herman himself) who find great success with carbs as a source of energy.  Its just that some people have a metabolism that gives better health through restriction of carbs, which reverts metabolism back to a dietary ketosis that characterized our evolutionary experience over the millions of years before the very recent reliance on grains and carbs since the development of agriculture in the past 10,000 years.  No matter which path, Too complicated for a comment in an abs article so I'll quit this subject for now.  For those interested in the ultra-low carb approach, read authors like Gary Taubes, or Volek & Phinney.

3) Regarding the value of crunches (and some other abs exercises advocated on this and many other body-building sites), I post here a link that argues they are NOT great exercises after all because they stress the lower back and can have some long-term harmful effects on the pelvic wall muscles:

That same source offers instead these 2 similar articles advising alternative abdominal workouts (especially the lower abdominal are that is hardest to sculpt):

Notice this source (Sarah Key) is mostly addressed to people who suffer lower back pain, NOT to body-builders, and so that difference explains much of the contrast in exercise advice.  Both Sarak Key and the article under which I'm commenting are correct to say that attempting to isolate just one of the abdominal muscles for an exercise is unwise and ultimately impossible anyway, and that complex motions using not just the rectus abdominis but also the transverse abdominis and the external & internal obliques.

I leave it to readers to discern what advice works best for their body but I post Sarah Key's "simple back pain" source as information that should be considered.


good job on this article, got some great tips in there :)


I attest to the fact women even ones who have had 2 kids and 2 C-sections where the muscle was totally cut into and torn can have 6 packs naturally =P


Great article Ryan!  the more help with ABS the better!