Introduction: How to Get Six Pack, Washboard Abs for Real

Picture of How to Get Six Pack, Washboard Abs for Real

Turn on the TV sometime after about 1:00 in the morning, and flip through the channels. Chances are, you will very quickly be able to find at least one enthusiastic infomercial about a revolutionary new ab training machine or program. Seven minute abs, bowflex, the crunchinator, you name it. Six pack hype is everywhere these days. And there's a reason for it - People keep failing to get the abs they want, seemingly no matter what they try, so there's always a market for more more more!

The problem is, though, that regardless of whether you are being sold a fancy ab machine for $19.99 a month, or your friend is standing over you with a stopwatch while you do intricate, acrobatic lunges and backflips to music, it really all boils down to just that: Hype.

No matter how much you lift weights or exercise your abs, none of it alone will give you a six pack. There has always been and will always be only one way to get a six pack...

Step 1: Cardio!

Picture of Cardio!

Do cardio.

That's it. That's the whole secret. To get six pack abs, you have to do lots and lots and lots of cardiovascular exercise. Run, skip rope, swim, whatever.

What most people don't realize is that unless you have been bedridden for the last ten years, every single one of use already HAS a six pack in us. If you didn't have a six pack, you wouldn't be able to walk or stand up without flopping over backwards and crushing your organs.

The problem is simply that for most people, their muscles are hidden by layers of fat. Thus, your real enemy in your quest to get washboard abs is not your abs; it's your fat. And you get rid of fat with a treadmill, not an ab flex 3000 that you work out on for 5 minutes a day, burning a whopping 30 calories in the process.

Of course, once you've gotten rid of that fat (or if you don't care about looks and just want strong abs), you can make your muscles bigger and more powerful by lifting weights, doing crunches, etc. But none of that has anything to do with whether you or your friends can visibly see any of it, which is what most people are interested in. They are separate issues.

Step 2: Don't Believe Me?

Picture of Don't Believe Me?

Naturally, a lot of folks are skeptical about a treadmill giving them a six pack. It's counter-intuitive. It doesn't "feel" right. Well, that's exactly why there is a thriving industry that revolves around selling people expensive exercise gadgets when they could make do perfectly well with a pair of sneakers to get the results they want.

But don't sit here reading what I have to say and taking my word for it. The proof is in the pudding. Here is a photograph of a professional Sumo wrestler (below)

What do you notice about this man's overall muscles? If you answered, "They're FRICKIN HUGE!" then you are correct. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Now, what do you notice about this man's abs? If you answered, "I don't know. I would need a scalpel to tell you that," then you are 2 for 2. Congratulations.

He has absolutely no visible abs to speak of, despite being a professional wrestler, who spends all of his time and energy day in and out lifting weights and making his body into a physical powerhouse. That's NOT because he has no abs. He could probably do crunches with a pickup trunk strapped to his chest. It's because you just can't SEE the abs underneath all that fat.

If, after all of that, you still don't buy it, then here's a little challenge for you. Go to google, and type in any search terms you want. Your goal is to find a picture of a person who simultaneously has a six pack and a chubby physique. My sumo wrestler here obviously has built forearms and shoulders, and is fat, but I defy you to come up with a similar picture for ab muscles. It just doesn't happen, and if you spend 10 minutes failling to turn anything up, it should do wonders to help convince you that this is true.

So if you want abs to die for, then hit that treadmill, guys! Your job offering at Abercrombie will be just around the corner.


curious youth (author)2011-07-18

i believe this is the image you are looking for. :)

~Aeronous~ (author)2009-09-02

how did i get this by searching how to backflip?

qballcat (author)~Aeronous~2009-11-16

i searched how to write a resume :D

DannytheGreat (author)qballcat2011-05-30

thats awesome

~Aeronous~ (author)qballcat2009-11-17

lolz, o i get it. type in "how to" and this will come up.

Thundertydus (author)~Aeronous~2009-11-25

I searched how to kill ants..

~Aeronous~ (author)Thundertydus2009-11-25

 i kno, type in "how to" and this will come up.
oh ps, get a hammer and try to hit them.

darknessfalls (author)~Aeronous~2010-09-12

how to kill weeds.... what/.

~Aeronous~ (author)darknessfalls2010-09-13


darknessfalls (author)~Aeronous~2010-09-14

well i guess it comes up b/c when i get stunner abs, the weed will kill themselves...

~Aeronous~ (author)darknessfalls2010-09-14


mo5 (author)~Aeronous~2009-09-08


TheCheese9921 (author)2010-05-25

I run cross country, indoor track, track as well as summer practice, that's 365 days a year (only about one week off between seasons) And I don't have washboard abs. I have been doing this for 3 years now now matter how much running and cardio you do you will have to do ab routines weather its p90x or some other workout, abs don't just pop right out, you have to work for them.

Vatterix (author)TheCheese99212010-11-08

well duh you dont have have to do do HEAVY workouts. people just think that you do crunches or you run and you get em...YOU HAVE TO DO HEAVY WORKOUTS OF BOTH. I have a 6 pack cus I run, crunches, situps, leg lifts, and sandbag have to run to get the metabolism up which burns fat and the workouts build the muscle...

snowluck2345 (author)Vatterix2011-05-15

I don't do heavy workouts, I just do gymnastics and I have an 8 pack.

calskin (author)TheCheese99212010-10-12

Sorry for this reply coming really late, but this isn't a completely accurate instructable. The fact is that you only really burn fat for the first 30 seconds of a sprint. After that you also burn muscle. You will burn calories, but it will turn a large pear shaped person into a slimmer pear shaped person.

The key is intervals (google interval training, and youtube underground wellness). Basically, you do 30 seconds of near maximum performance to get your heart rate up very high, and then you rest or slow down for 1 minute.

Also, you need to build muscle to burn fat. And that involves high weight low reps. This doesn't mean you're going to look like a body builder (this is a very hard body type to achieve). The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn just sitting around.

ANTQNUT (author)2009-05-16

I'm sorry but I really do not think this is a very good instructable it's quite superficial actually! sorry but I speak the truth.

brupbacher (author)ANTQNUT2010-06-13

Ending a statement with, "I speak the truth," automatically makes me believe you.

smurfsahoy (author)ANTQNUT2009-07-21

Simple != superficial. The instructable is short and does not have much depth, but that's because there ISN'T much depth to getting decent abs. It's just burning a lot of calories. There's not really anything more to say.

"Superficial" implies that one is merely scratching the surface of something that is actually much more complicated. But if that actual complexity does not exist... then we are left with something entirely different.

Harmonator (author)2009-12-07

I would think a good diet plays a huge factor in this also...i mean you cant keep drinking pepsi and eating icecream every saturday night

rustyshackleford19 (author)2009-09-29

This is a misleading instructable. You are totally right that one must do lots of cardio to get the fat off to show your abs and most people overlook this when they want to get their six pack, but the typical model six pack abs come from working our your abs doing crunches, air bking, and weighted flat bench leg raises. I recommend checking the ab exercises out here:

Sure you have to get the fat off but you have to build the muscle too to make your abs "pop out" otherwise you'll just be skinny with no muscle definition whatsoever. Do lots of cardio, but also do weight training.

650beast (author)2009-05-17

here is what I was taught. 1- we all do have a "six pack" beneath our layers of fat and that cardiovascular exercises can reduce the fat for the muscles to show more. 2- some people simply have small abs. It is a muscle after all, therefore has the capability to enlarge and grow from exercises. That now splits into two sections; weighted and non-weighted exercises. When you do weighted your muscles will grow, but depending on the body type and amount of fat you have, it might just look like you have a fat gut when it is muscle. With non weighted, you have the possibility to remove the layer of fat covering the muscles. 3- Diet. Diet is one of the most important components of having abs that show. yes, you may run as much as you like, but if you go and chow down on fast food for every meal, don't drink enough water, and don't get your fill of the food pyramid, they won't show to their full extent. That's just my 2 cents though.

ILIKEPIE333 (author)650beast2009-07-07

its appreciated

tdown47000 (author)2009-06-21

Hey this is a great Instructable. I never thought of it the way you put it, but this makes complete sense! I didn't say that this works, because I'm going to need time to do some exercising and work on it. However, this is probably the best idea I've heard about abs. Thanks!

godsend1337 (author)2009-06-11

i like this instructable, it shows that before you get 6 pack abs you need to loose the fat to expose them....and it kinda says your not going to get 6pack abs by tomorrow, you need to work for it. great instructable.

Capn howdy (author)2009-05-31

I know that cardio will do it for most people but all I do is cardio and I just can't seem to loose that ab-covering pudge. I run between 6 and 10 miles a day, do martial arts 3 times a week and swim regularly. its all ive got left but that belly flab is practicaly my workout partner at this point.

sqeak (author)2009-03-27

Ive been doing mainly cardio at the gym over the past month and taking lots of drugs and hardcoredancing on the weekend and ive almost got my whole six pack showing ive lost 20kg, not rele doing weights just pushups and chinups. crunches. at least 1 hour of good cardio 5 times a week did it for me. still got a bit more to tone up.

bowmaster (author)2009-03-16

This is the best "get a 6-pack" instructable EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! I read that even 1/2 pound of excess belly fat can completely hide your abs.

Side-winder (author)2008-12-28

you need actual muscles to have a six pack dude. ive always been and probably always will be skinny. no belly fat. the thing is, until i started really working out i didnt have any abs. now that i swim 8-10 hours a week, do crunchs and push ups every day, and do take the occasional run, i have a six pack (looks almost like 8).

theryan08 (author)2008-08-07

I agree also, finally someone puts something else out besides "do a million crunches a day," although as you said crunches do make you stronger. For someone who is not used to cardio (i.e. running) starting with crunches wouldn't be a bad idea: if you can strengthen your core there's a lower chance of injury once you get the fat moving before you burn it off (and try to get in an Abercrombie ad haha).

deweather (author)2008-07-11

I agree it's all cardio. You should add some stuff about your ideal heart-rate and how to calculate it. How should people go about doing cardio the right way. You know...a good instructable.

Weissensteinburg (author)2008-07-11

I recommend you take pictures for yourself, unless you've contacted the people who own these pictures, and asked permission.

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