The Quickest Way To Get A Six Pack

MMA and 6 packs seem to go together like love and marriage, horses and carts – you get the drift – just don’t tell Butterbean! But seriously, MMA has grown in popularity over the last few years with the advent of the UFC and other organisations, that many people have become interested in the training programs of guys like Georges St. Pierre in the hope of achieving similar physiques (if not even remotely interested competing). So how do you get a six pack, say for instance, you’ve only got 6 weeks before a beach holiday?

best six pack exercisesKnowledge and dedication are all you will need to get the body you want. Being able to see your abdominal muscles will require a total body conditioning approach that increases fatty acid oxidation, VO2 max and focuses on the abdominals as well as large muscle groups. Bear in mind no separate muscle functions in isolation. It’s by activating a mix of muscle groups and planes of motion that you’re going to get a strong and flat stomach.

Now of course if you are 40 pounds overweight, a 6 pack in 6 weeks is a very tall order. But it is achievable to shed that amount of fat in that time. Most of you reading this will have no idea the level of commitment needed to achieve it. Fewer still will have the will power to sustain that kind of diet and training for 6 solid weeks. Before we get into the workouts, here are some simple diet rules:

  • No alcohol. Sorry, but no beer and no beer gut.
  • Eat every 3 hours from the time you wake up up to 2 hours before going to sleep.
  • Consume 30-60 grams of lean protein every meal from fish, meat, poultry etc. No prcessed foods. Whey powder excepted – that is fine.
  • Keep carbohydrates to under 100 grams a day and consume 50 grams before training and 50 about half an hour after your workouts (along with the protein).
  • You will get enough fats from your protein sources, but also add in fish oils.
  • Always stay well hydrated with water.

Rather than complicate the diet any more, I’ll leave it there. Except to say, once every 5 -7 days increase the carbs to 50 grams each and every meal. Also once per week, allow yourself a cheat meal. Doing these two extras, helps to fire up the metabolism again.

The Workouts

In order to get the six pack in 6 weeks you are going to focus on that and that alone. Don’t worry about huge muscle gains and strength increases during this training phase. You should not actually lose any strength however, but you will most likely lose a couple of pounds of muscle. That is normal. Having said that, a small percentage will actually gain muscle as well, but they will be the ones carrying the most fat in the first place. The leaner individuals will get the leanest, and lose a little muscle. A price worth paying for the results.

All workouts will be circuit based. The reason for this is to:

  • Maximise Fat Loss And Muscle Gains In The Same Training Session
  • Train in a way that encourages sarcoplasmic hypertrophy
  • Cause a huge post exercise session oxygen deficit
  • Hit more muscle groups in one session than could be achieved with a standard body part split program

The way the circuit training workouts are set up is quite simple. You choose 3 upper body compound pushing movements, 3 upper body compound pulling movements, and three lower body compound movements. You then work one from each group, in sequence for 3 sets of 6 -15 reps, 10 seconds or so rest as you switch exercises. Then after you have completed your first 3 sets, you rest 2 minutes and go again. You perform 3 sets of each movement. Here is what a workout would like:Dumbbell Deadlift

  1. Dumbbell Incline Press – 8 reps
  2. 10 seconds rest
  3. Dumbbell One Arm Row – 15 sets (each arm)
  4. 10 seconds rest
  5. Dumbbell Deadlift – 15 reps

Rest 2 minutes and repeat the above circuit 2 more times

  1. Cable Standing Chest Press – 15 reps
  2. 10 seconds rest
  3. Cable Upright Rows – 12 reps
  4. 10 Seconds rest
  5. One leg squats – 15 reps (each leg)

Rest 2 minutes and repeat twice

  1. Military Press – 10 reps
  2. 10 seconds restZercher Squat
  3. Bent Over Barbell Row – 10 reps
  4. 10 seconds rest
  5. Zercher Squats – 15 reps

Rest 2 minutes and repeat twice


Perform this workout with 2 days rest in between. So if you did it on Monday, your next session will be Thursday, then again on Sunday etc. That will allow enough recovery time.

Cardio (ish!)

On the non-weight training days you are going to concentrate on high intensity intervals and abdominal work.

It is very difficult to prescribe exactly what you need to do here because everybody’s fitness levels are different. But here are some basic guidelines. Choose ONE of the following cardio workouts on your non-weight training days:

Heavy Bag Punching and Kicking Drills: Work in bouts of 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Keep changing punching and kicking combinations and work to rest ratios, but keep it intense for 25 minutes. Rest every 3-5 minutes for 60 seconds.

Hill Sprints: find a hill (steeper the better) and run as fast as you can up it for 20-30 seconds. Walk back down. Rest 30 more seconds and repeat. Start off with 4 sprints and work up to 12 by week 3.

Grappling DummGrappling Dummyy Work: if you have access to one, these can be used for a great fat burner workout. The objective is to simulate an opponent by doing any of the following:

  • pick up and throw down (slams)
  • ground and pound
  • carry and run
  • slam and ground and pound combos.

Sets and reps don’t matter so long as you just keep going. Work in rounds (either 3 or 5 minutes) with a minutes rest for a total of 15-25 minutes, depending on how fit you are. If you don’t have a grappling dummy, you can use a sandbag, or even a large gym bag packed tightly with damp towels.

Treadmill Intervals: Set the treadmill to the the maximum incline (usually 15 degrees). Find a walking pace that just about allows you NOT to break into a run. Walk for 3 minutes. Get off and rest for a minute. Walk for another 3 minutes. Rest again for a minute. Keep going for half an hour at this pace.

Tabata Protocols on the stationary bike: Set the resistance high enough so that you are puffing hard after 20 seconds of maximum exertion. The way that theses intervals work is that you go all out for 20 seconds and then rest for just 10. Then repeat. This will have you puking at first. Try to work up to 6 minutes.

Skipping (Jump rope): Same timing as for Treadmill Intervals. If you have not skipped before you prbably wont last 30 seconds. But give it a go. By week 3 you should be able to handle 3 minutes on with a one minte rest (that’s boxer timing).

Abdominal Workouts

After completing one of the above cardio workouts, you immediately move into one of the following abdominal workouts:

Medicine Ball WorkoutsMedicine Ball Workout: Get a med ball (4-10kg depending on your level of conditioning) and be creative with it for about 15 minutes. Try the following moves:

  • Side throws and catches into a wall (10 each side)
  • Pick up and slam downs
  • Sit ups with a throw (to a partner or a wall)
  • Leg Raises with ball between feet
  • Wood Chops

Either for an entire 15 minute workout with the medicine ball, or slot it into any other abdominal based workout.

Planks: Use a mixture of standard plank, side planks, planks with feet on exercise ball, planks with one foot off the floor etc. Try and hold each position for at least 20 seconds (60 is your target), and keep switching moves. Again, go for 15 minutes solid, or mix it up with some other ab work.

Ab machine and cable work: If you have good abdominal machines in your gym, use them. Personally for me, I find the most effective exercise to be a kind of half sit up / crunch on a swiss ball, holding a triceps rope attached to a low cable pulley behind my head. You don’t need much weight. Just concentrate on the abs so that they do most of the work.

TIP: Shift the focus from front abs, to obliques and then something that focuses on the lower back and obliques too, such as the hyperextension.

Another good one in the gym is the leg raise on the dip bars.

The theory with all of the above is to just keep going with zero rest for 15 minutes. Put the exercises together as a circuit if you like.

Here is an example workout:

  1. Med ball side throws to partner (10 each side)
  2. Cable pull throughs (15-25 reps)
  3. Leg raises on dip bars (8-10 reps)
  4. Oblique raises with dumbbells (15 each side)
  5. repeat and keep going for 15 minutes

Here is another one:

  1. Sit up / crunch with cable on exercise ball (10 reps)
  2. cable pull throughs using same cable station (20 reps)
  3. Bodybuilder-style kneeling cable crunches from high cable
  4. Back raises with body turned sideways on hyperextension

Repeat and keep going for 15 minutes

And here is one more you could do outdoors:

  1. Med ball throws into wall (15 each side)
  2. Med ball slams to ground (20)
  3. Med ball leg raises (to failure)
  4. Side planks (as long as you can hold each side)

Repeat and keep going for 15 minutes

Weekly Program

So here you have relevant information on diet, weight training / circuits and core workouts. Put these all together over a 6 week period and you will shed more weight than you could imagine. Here is what a typical training week should look like:

  • Monday: Circuit training with weights and body weight moves (upper push, upper pull, lower body)
  • Tuesday: Interval training – either sprints, treadmill, bike etc
  • Wednesday: Ab / Core workout
  • Thursday: Circuit trianing (using different exercises preferably to those you chose on Monday – or different rep ranges)
  • Friday: Interval training
  • Saturday: Abdominal / core workout
  • Sunday: Rest – You will probably need it!


As you get fitter you may want to incorporate other forms of exercise to burn off even more fat. Keep the intensity of this work quite moderate. I suggest walking, swimming, slow jogging etc. This sort of extra work can actually help you to recover form the intense workouts too. You can do them as often as you like for up to 2 hours a day. Some call it NEPA (non exercise physical activity) and it has been shown to accelerate recovery and burn up to 400 calories per hour, so is well worth doing if you have the time.

Best Circuit Training Program On The Internet

If you are looking for an infinite variety of workouts that can take you from couch potato to fighting fit, I recommend Turbulence Training by Craig Ballantyne (Men’s Health). The program is not a one off package but a lifelong course that constantly changes and is updated. It includes membership to his site too. I know it works because I used it to lose over 50 pounds when I got back into serious training after ripping my ACL a couple of years back. I was on crutches for months, feeling sorry for myself and binge eating (and drinking!). The structured approach of Turbulence Training and Craig Ballantyne’s deep insights into the way the human body works, are second to none. Give it a go. Click here now.

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