What Are 8 Pack Abs? How Do You Get 8 Pack Abs
Ab muscles are the holy grail of abdominal workouts. You could even go one step further and say that a good set of ab muscles is the ultimate goal of most people’s entire workout plans. Sure, people will say that the goal of their workout routine is to be “physically fit” or “healthy”, but really they want that sexy 6 pack and the respect and attention it gets them.
Well-defined ab muscles have a specific appearance that gives them the nickname “6 pack”–if you look at the photo in this article you’ll see why. Ab muscles are joined with connective tissue that creates a “peak and valley” look, separating the individual ab muscles and making them stand out against the other muscles and flesh in the abdominal area. The phrase “6 pack” refers to the six bulging ab muscles that are grouped in threes on either side of the belly button.
But for some ab workout enthusiasts, a six pack is just not enough. The elusive “8 pack” abs are just what they sound like–8 individual ab muscles that stand out, rather than just 6. While some people say that anyone can have 8 pack abs, others claim that genetics has more to do with the development of an 8 pack than diet or proper exercise.
Are 8 Pack Abs Possible?
If you look at an anatomical drawing of the area where ab muscles develop, you’ll see that there are indeed 8 individual bulging muscles in the abdomen. What creates the unique “6 pack” or “8 pack” look are the valleys between the muscles created by connective tissue. The reason why most people feel they can’t develop 8 pack abs is that the connective tissue that joins the lowest ab muscles (the 2 that turn a 6 pack into an 8 pack) is not the same as the tissue that joins the upper abdominals. This special connective tissue juts out between the lower ab muscles, thereby avoiding the “valley” look that leads to the development of the “pack” look.
The short answer is that yes, 8 pack abs are possible. As for the best way to develop an 8 pack . . . well, that’s a different story altogether. Opinion is divided about how much your DNA has to do with your ability to turn your sexy 6 pack into an outrageous 8 pack. If genetics is a big component of the 8 pack, then you can workout as hard as you want and slam back protein like a dinosaur and you’re never going to get that 8 pack look.
Your ab muscles are actually a single long “sheet” of muscle known as the rectus abdominus. There are three lines of tendons that hold the ab muscles in place over the intestines, and a long piece of tendon that separates the muscle into two vertical groups–so really, everyone “has” an 8 pack, we just can’t always see it.
People who say you can improve your ab workout to further develop the 8 pack claim that the reason most men just have a 6 pack is that they only work the upper part of the rectus abdominus. According to these people, working out both the upper and lower sections of your abs will lead to an 8 pack.
You do this by first getting rid of the fat that hides the lower section of your ab muscles. Even if you have a well-defined 6 pack, chances are your lowest two ab muscles are hidden under a layer of fat. Most 8 pack enthusiasts claim that a series of 8 ab exercises that work the ab muscles from all angles and in all directions is the only way to find out if your 8 pack can rear its awesome head.
What are these exercises? Here’s a quick list:
- Ball curl-up
- Ball curl-up with knee tuck
- Twisting medicine ball toss
- V raise
- Hanging trunk twist
- V raise with knee tuck
- Single resistance double crunch
- Double resistance double crunch
Different studies give different numbers, but in general it is thought that about 3/4 of your ability to lose weight is tied up in what you’re eating. Your fuel accounts for more of your ability to shed pounds than your actions.
The first thing you need to do is eat six times a day. If you eat quality food every three or four hours, you’ll never be hungry or tempted to eat garbage. This also keeps your metabolism working which will help you lose weight and burn fat. Eat three normal meals and three smaller snacks. Here’s your new eating schedule:
8 am: Breakfast
11 am: Snack
1 pm: Lunch
4 pm: Snack
6 pm: Dinner
9 pm: Snack
So what foods should you eat? A trainer taught me the phrase “ABS DIET POWER.” Each letter in that phrase is a different food that you should be eating.
Almonds (or any nut)
Beans (or any legume)
Spinach (or any leafy green)
Extra protein (whey)
Raspberries (and other berries)
If you eat these power foods 6 times a day and do your ab workouts, you’re on your way to the 8 pack you’ve always dreamed of having.
Unfortunately, my friend, it appears that the last component of developing 8 pack abs is simple genetics. Some people can eat all the proper foods at the proper times, do all the right ab workouts, and still never see those final two pieces of the 8 pack come together.
If you’re lucky enough to have genes that lead to tighter lower tendons in your rectus abdominus, you’ll find out soon after starting the abs diet and proper workouts. If not, you’ll find that out too.
Building a sexy set of 8 pack abs isn’t rocket science. Eat the right foods, do the right workouts, and luck out in terms of your genetics, and you’ll have the 8 pack that blows away any and every 6 pack you could ever see. Stick to your diet, do your workout, and flash your 8 pack at all those 6 pack punks at the gym.