Beach season is upon us and everyone has one desired physique point in mind… the six pack. A six pack is many a gym-goers ultimate fitness goal, but also seems to be elusive to your “average Joe.” There’s something about the lean muscles that attracts our attention time after time, again and again. With summer upon us and the desire to look good in your new summer clothes and bathing suit raging strong, consider the following steps for sculpting out muscles and achieving your own six-pack (1)!
How you can build your own six pack this summer
Keep in mind while performing any of these exercises, form is crucial. Always keep your abdomen tight, pulling your belly button back toward your spine and not straining your lower back.
- Sit-ups with a medicine ball. Lay on the floor, on your back, with your knees bent. Lift a medicine ball over your head, then elevate your core to a sitting position with the ball over your head. Lay down, and repeat.
- Kneeling crunch. Begin in a kneeling position with your right arm stabilizing your shoulder and your left arm extended forward. Keep your left knee on the ground while you kick your right leg back. Breathe out, try to contract your abs, and bring your right knee and left elbow together below you, then out again. Do equal rotations on each side.
- Toe dip. Sit with both of your knees facing in front of you. Lean back so that you’re resting on your elbows, shoulder blades pressed together. Keeping your abdomen tight, place your hands under your lower back and raise your legs while keeping them bent at the knee. Tip your toes to the mat, keeping right angles at your knees, and return to the initial position. Repeat.
- Dead bug. Lay down on your back, then lift your legs, bending at the knee so that your calves are parallel with the floor. Lift your arms upwards, keeping your abdomen tight. In synchronization, lower your right arm and right leg to the floor, then return to the initial position, and lower your left arm and left leg to the floor before returning to the initial position. Repeat.
- Roll back. Sit up straight, keep your knees bent at approximately 90 degrees, and keep your feet flat on the ground. Pull your body against your thighs, stretch your arms out straight at shoulder level with your palms facing downwards. Keeping your stomach tight, curve your spine into the shape of a C. Hold this position as long as you can before returning to the initial position, and then repeat.
- Bike crunches. Lay flat on the ground, facing upwards. Holding your stomach tight, put your hands behind your head and bring your knees up toward your chest. Without putting stress on your neck, lift your head and shoulders off the ground. At the same time, turn your upper body slightly, sitting up and touching your right elbow to your left knee, then laying back. Do several rotations, then repeat on the other side.
- Plank. Lay face-down on the ground. Press up so your hands are under your shoulders, your arms are straight, but do not lock your elbows. Press your legs out and rest on just your toes. Hold this position for as long as you can while keeping your back flat. Be mindful not to round your back up, or dip your hips and put stress on your lower back.
- Twisting roll back. Start in that sitting C position. Then begin to twist your body, simultaneously putting one arm behind your head while you stretch your other arm to the opposite knee. Rotate to the next side, alternating arms. Repeat.
- Reverse crunch. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head or under your lower back for support. Bring your legs up, either pointing straight to the ceiling or bent at a 90 degree angle. You can put your feet together or cross them, whatever is more comfortable. Contracting your abdomen, lift your hips off the ground, pressing your legs up to the ceiling, then lower yourself back down to the initial position without letting your feet touch the ground. Repeat.
While exercise is extremely important in building muscle and shaping out the six pack you want, it’s equally if not more important for you to consider your diet when attempting to increase muscle (2,3,4). That being said, these few exercises are a sure way to get your closer to your desired six-pack this summer!