6-Pack Abs for Athletes | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

How to Finally Get Those 6-Pack Abs

June 5, 2012

Must See Strength Training Videos

As an athlete, you already know that building beach muscles won’t do much to improve your on-field performance. However, you still want something to show for all that time in the weight room, right?

Many people obsess over Sit-Ups and Crunches and embark on marathon cardio sessions in the hopes that their abs will just pop out one day. Unfortunately, most of that hard work is misspent energy. By following a few simple principles, you can develop the core strength you need for your sport and start seeing those abs you’ve been secretly trying to sculpt for years.


You develop core strength through discipline at the gym and six-pack abs through discipline at the kitchen table. Building abs that show is all about removing body fat from your waistline through your diet. To do this, you need to minimize fat and sugar consumption and use stored fat for energy.

Opt for complex carbohydrates to provide maximum energy over a long period of time rather than junk food that delivers only an instant burst of energy. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Oatmeal
  • Flaxseed oil

Just don't overdo it. Consuming too much flaxseed oil—or other healthy fats found in avocados and nuts—can slow fat loss. Learn more about the right food choices in my book, Take It Off, Keep It Off. Maintain a strict diet at first to get the physique you want, then shift into maintenance mode with regular exercise and a more lenient diet.


Get into the habit of doing 15 minutes of fasted cardio (cardio on an empty stomach) every morning, and watch your body start to change shape. When you work through a short workout on an empty stomach, you’re using stored fat for energy. If you eat breakfast and then do cardio, you’re only burning off some of the food you just consumed. Work out smarter, not harder, not hard.

Core Workout

Build your abs through weights and abdominal work, both of which engage the body's core (the muscles around the spine). All that's required is a commitment to lift weights on a regular basis and a daily five-minute abdominal routine. Women often shy away from weightlifting because they’re afraid of building bulk; but for women, there’s nothing better for developing body shape, posture and tone than lifting weights. For more detailed information, please check out my video on YouTube, where I demonstrate and discuss the ins and outs of abs.

I followed these principles to build my own six pack after gaining 90 pounds on purpose and losing the weight again. Connect with me through Facebook and Twitter for more of the weight loss principles I discovered.

Photo: Simplyshredded.com

Paul James
- Paul "P.J." James is a health and fitness expert. His book, "Take It Off, Keep It Off," provides eating plans, training routines and step-by-step instructions...
Paul James
- Paul "P.J." James is a health and fitness expert. His book, "Take It Off, Keep It Off," provides eating plans, training routines and step-by-step instructions...
Must See
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,306,780
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 19,126,688
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 2,727,808

Featured Videos

James Harden on Becoming a Franchise Player Views: 72,546
Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 28,813
Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 574,257
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,880,088
Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,359,483
Colby Lewis's Four-Seam Fastball Technique
Views: 5,011,383
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,834,380
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,880,088

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Train Like a Pro: Peyton Manning's Core Workout

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

When Not to Try Unstable Hockey Training

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Mike Boyle: 4 Small Muscles That Can Lead to Big Gains

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

Get a Full-Body Workout With Just 2 Exercises

Grab a Broom for This Fast-Paced, Full-Body Workout

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

12-Week Resistance Band and Chain Workout

Save Your Shoulders With These Barbell Landmine Exercises

Can You Survive This Insane 100-Rep Push-Up Challenge?

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

4 Simple Golf Core Exercises to Increase Your Driving Distance

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Exercise

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

The Best Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

3 Simple Strategies for a Better Workout

Improve Your Squat Depth With 5 Easy Warm-Up Exercises

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

What Happens When You Do The Same Exercise Every Day?

Build Awesome Arms With This 15-Minute Workout

Build Wrestling Strength With the Gable Lock Isometric Hold

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

The 3-Minute Total Arm Pump

Increase Your Explosiveness with the Power Curl

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Build Max Power With These Pulling Exercises

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

3 Keys to In-Season Baseball Training

Todd Durkin

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

4 Exercises From NFL Players to Build True Game Speed

Train Like a Pro: Damian Lillard's Basketball Core Workout

Prevent Volleyball Shoulder Injuries With These Exercises

How to Improve Shoulder Strength and Flexibility

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises