Your 3X3 Plan for 6-Pack Abs
By Dana Leigh Smith
There are tons of articles on the web filled with foods and exercises that promise to deliver six-pack abs.
While having access to all the best intel is great, it can also be totally overwhelming. Whether you’re a wellness newbie or looking to amp up your results, it’s not always clear how to get started and it isn’t realistic to overhaul your entire routine overnight. For this very reason, we recruited three of the top names in fitness to help us put together the 3x3 Plan for 6-Pack Abs. The best part? Following it won’t give you headache—but it will deliver the results you crave. Simply incorporate the three exercises and three fat-burning foods below into your existing healthy lifestyle and watch the flab melt away.
MEET THE TRAINERS
Dan Roberts is one of the UK’s top trainers. He specializes in whipping A-listers into shape for photo shoots, movies and appearances.
Former pro-Cyclist, Jimmy Minardi is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and founder of Minardi Training. He’s a go-to fitness guru for celebs like Dylan Lauren, high-powered CEOs and politicians.
Treadmill Incline Sprints
20 sets of 30-second sprints with a 30-second recovery
Why It Works
“Sprinting builds muscle which helps burn fat quickly. Also, the action of driving the legs initiates the abs and core” explains Roberts. “The faster you go and the shorter your recovery, the more your abs will develop.”
How To Do It
Step 1: Keeping your feet on either side of the belt, set your treadmill to a 10 percent incline. Then, set the machine to a challenging speed. This is typically at least two miles per hour faster than your distance running speed. So, for example, if you typically jog at 6.5 MPH, you’re full-on sprint speed will be at least 8.5 MPH.
Step 2: Hit the ground running for a solid 30-seconds. Then, slow the belt to a comfortable stroll and step your feet off to either side once you feel comfortable. Recover for a total of 30 seconds before repeating this pattern 19 more times. These circuits should take you exactly 20 minutes to complete.
Warm up with a 5-minute walk before you start the sprint circuit. If the suggested speeds and inclines are too easy or challenging for you, adjust the settings accordingly.
3 sets of 10 on each side
Why It Works
“The Washer Machine is a unique exercise that builds stability, balance and core strength,” explains Cardiello. “Unlike traditional core exercises you do while lying down, this move is a full body exercise, which is more challenging and boosts calorie burn.”
How To Do It
Step 1: Begin in a traditional push-up position with feet shoulder-width apart. Then, place your right hand behind your head, keeping a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
Step 2: Brace your core and rotate your right shoulder down and under your body toward your left elbow, and then back up along the same path towards the ceiling.
Step 3: After completing 10 reps on this side, switch and perform the exercise with your left hand behind your head.
Medicine Ball Incline Sit Ups
3 sets of 10, with a 30-second rest in between
Why It Works
“This is one of the few ab exercises that engages every muscle in the stomach, while also working the arms and back muscles,” says Minardi. “The downward slant and weight add an extra challenge to your abs, which can really help them shine through.”
How To Do It
Step 1: Find a slant board at the gym and hook your feet under the foot pads.
Step 2: Hold a medicine ball over your head and recline all the way down, engaging the core.
Step 3: Then, lift up from your core into a sitting position, keeping the ball over your head.
Step 4: Hold this contraction for a moment and then slowly lower yourself back down.
Increase the angle of the board or the weight of the ball for more of a challenge.
Home-Baked Organic Turkey
Eating lean meats, like turkey, has been shown to rev the metabolism and boost satiety, which can reduce your overall caloric intake and help your abs pop, explains Roberts. He suggests cooking up a bird over the weekend, cutting it into slices and storing it in the refrigerator so you have your protein prepped and ready for your weekly lunches and dinners. To add flavor to his meat, he likes to sprinkle on some paprika and basil before putting it in the oven.
“When fat loss is the goal, I recommend eating fish, like wild salmon or tuna,” says Minardi. “Fish is an excellent source of protein and has essential amino acids that aid muscle growth, which in turn can help you fry flab. Also, the healthy fats and vitamin D in fish has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease." To reap the benefits add smoked salmon to your morning omelets, canned tuna to a veggie-packed salad or get tuna sashimi with a few slices of avocado for dinner.
“Broccoli contains phytochemicals that increase testosterone and fight off body fat storage,” says Cardiello. “Not to mention, it also has more Vitamin C than an orange and contains high amounts of antioxidants that help repair muscles and boost the immune system. This vegetable is a must-eat when you’re trying to get lean.” Add broccoli to your a.m. eggs, throw some into your salads and stir-fries, or roast it with some garlic and olive oil to serve with turkey or fish.
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