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Six Pack Abs Are For Actors & Athletes. Not Us.

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” Zig Ziglar

The pain was excruciating… And I was only in my second of who knows how many sets. That’s the thing with the calisthenics at the end of boxing practice. No one know when they’re going to finish.

Each round of abs is a 3-minute round on the timer. A timer without a visible countdown clock. Controlled by a trainer with visions of his fighters puking brings a sinister smile to his face. He gets off on this shit, I think to myself as I roll over, unable to stand up. My abs are burning. As are my shoulders, legs, and lungs.

It isn’t fun. But I learned more about myself and how much pain I can take from that training than anything else I had ever done in my life. In a weird way that pain was freedom. The discipline to show up everyday knowing what I was going to go through prepared me for today like nothing else before it.

Today’s pain still comes from the gym. But I love the gym. I love training. My “calisthenics” today are the hours of work I have to do at the end of a long day that I’d rather dismiss. Disregard. Ignore. “Do tomorrow”.

Without the discipline learned in the boxing ring, I wouldn’t be able to start my own business. There’s no way I’d be able to be my own boss without the valuable lessons learned in those last few excruciating seconds before the bell would ring, signifying an end. Albeit a brief 30 second end. But an end to the suffering nonetheless.

6 Pack Abs Are Reserved for Actors & Athletes. Not us.

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, the most successful actors and athletes work harder than us. I was reading an article about the latest Bond movie, once again starring Daniel Craig. Everyday he was up and working on set at 7. Filming would wrap at 8:30 or 9:00 pm. Following which he’d head to the gym for 45 minutes. Then straight to bed.

Yes, he’s rewarded for his hard work and talent with millions. Wladimir Klitschko (above) is rewarded for his hard work with wins, his health, and again, millions. But in this article we’re talking about one, simple, specific reward: a six pack.

Six pack abs ARE NOT reserved for actors and athletes. They are, however, reserved for those with discipline and work ethic.

Henry Cavil Superman

How to Get a 6 Pack

Discipline.

Underneath our soft exteriors, we all have six pack abs. Some have bigger muscles than others. Yes. But the only way to get the abdominal muscles to show is to get rid of the fat in front of them, hiding them from the light of day. To do this you need one thing: discipline.

An unpopular word in today’s world where “the here and now”, and “I’ll do whatever makes me happy” mentality runs ramped. But discipline is the one thing that will get you to the gym, working hard, suffering, and progressing. It’s the one thing that will get you to eat the right food at the right time when you’d rather have cake.

Getting a six pack isn’t so much about isolating the abdominal region as it is about effectively training the rest of your body. Henry Cavill (soon to be of Superman fame) had discipline in preparing for his upcoming role. And look at him.

The same can be said for Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), and every other actor or athlete that HAD TO get in great shape for a role or a competition.

Do you HAVE TO get in great shape? If the answer is no. You won’t. But if the answer is yes (which is most definitely should be), then you’ll find a way to get there.

Why do you have to get in great shape? It’s a complete waste of your life not to. The confidence, energy, added years and quality to your life is what living is all about. This isn’t an option. It’s a must. Sign up and download the Real Thor Workout. For the next 4 months live with the discipline that each of the aforementioned actors did, and you’ll get there.

Now for some more practical tactics…

Try the exercise above next time you’re in the gym!

Stretch the muscle.

We stretch our biceps when we do inclined dumbbell curls. Our chest when we do any dumbbell bench press. Our lats when we do chin-ups and our shoulders when we do a dumbbell military press. That stretching of the muscle is vital to its development. But we rarely achieve this with out abs.

The bosu ball crunch is a great exercise that gives us this stretch that lacks in so many of the other abs exercises we do.

How to do it:

Lie down with the curve of your back on the ball. Arms straight with your biceps at your ears. Lean back. Way back so you begin to feel a stretch in the abdominal region. Pause. Then slowly start to crunch up, keeping your arms straight with your biceps against your ears.

Constant tension.

You want to get the abs to that point of pain and keep it there for as long as your set lasts. This is why I like separating my sets by only 15 seconds. I don’t want my abs to fully recover before I bang out a few more reps. Set up your stations like the one below and keep moving until your abs set is finished.

Relish the pain. Always try and get one more rep in. Abs are forged in pain, not in the avoidance of it.

Add weight.

The abs are like any other muscle group. You want to be improving by placing new demands on the muscle. If you don’t. Your body will adapt and your gains will slow. Plateau. And finally stop.

Always add more reps, shorten your rest periods, and add weight to your sets. I prefer doing a giant set with my abs exercises. You get more done in less time and you keep the pressure on the muscle with the lack of rest in between sets. Below is an example of a good abs set:

A1. Hanging leg raise

15 sec rest

A2. Abs roll-outs

15 sec rest

A3. Bosu ball crunches

15 rest (repeat 3-4 times)

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  • Spencer

    With the title, I wasn't sure what the article was about at first, but I did enjoy it. Your principals were sound, and the advice good. One thing though, is that I didn't know about stretching the abs. Can you give me some more info on that plz?

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      That's the thing. There aren't a lot of exercises that help you achieve this in a safe way. You want the support of the boss ball to be there for your back as you stretch out the abs. You can get a similar sensation with the hanging leg raise if you tilt your hips forward. Or the decline sit-up if you bring your arms back (I suggest holding a plate as you do this).

      But the boss ball crunch is the best exercise around for "opening up" the muscles.

  • Spencer

    Thanks, I'll keep those in mind, and I will try em tonight.

  • Spencer

    Big differnce! Thx chad!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Awesome – good to hear!

  • kholsu khatun

    This article was most inspiring, am pumped!
    It’s admirable to know what lengths others take to get the results they want, I too wish to be this devoted.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Glad this article achieved what it was supposed to man. Sometimes we all need a kick in the ass. Get at it!

  • http://close-combat-training.blogspot.ca Jawed Iqbal

    Superb! Now I can add more variety to my ab exercises. I was wondering if you had a demo video of the BOSU ball workout? (or if you are planning to make one). Cheers!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Hey Jawed, I don't have one personally, but if you search bosu ball crunch on youtube there are plenty of examples there for you.