Beyond the immediate and future health benefits of losing body fat (particularly that mass covering your abdominal muscles) is the aesthetic appeal of great six pack abs. One of the most desired looks for both men and women is the so-called ‘v-cut’ that comes along with getting ripped and having fully developed abdominal muscles. The v-cut (aka the Money Maker) creates a downward arrow effect from the oblique muscles towards the groin. This look signifies a low body fat percentage and visually can illicit quite a response.
Okay, so the question is how do you get that v-cut? My answer to this question takes into account two separate aspects continued below.
The first key to achieving the ripped look as a whole is completely based on diet. If your diet currently consists of soda, pizza, and desserts then you are going to have to face the truth that if you keep eating these foods you will never reach your goal of having cut abs. The v-cut will appear when your body fat percentage is low enough (probably at the 8-10%) range and getting to that point takes a hell of a lot of work in the gym and phasing out junk food in the kitchen.
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A great place to start with your diet is to cut out sugary drinks and sodas and stick to drinking plenty of water throughout the day. From there it is about changing the solid foods that you eat. When you are at the beginning of your transformation it can really be hard to make one dramatic change from junk food to clean eating. When I started I simply began getting rid of the processed food and replaced it with foods high in protein (chicken, turkey, fish, whey protein shakes (not a solid food but still a great supplement)), greens (broccoli, spinach), and got my carbohydrates from whole grain sources instead of white breads, crackers and other snack foods.
Diet is where most people screw up. They put in hours upon hours at the gym and then get tepid results due to poor eating habits. The problem is that people see the word diet and think of it merely as a restriction of what they can eat instead of a lifestyle change that can be extremely positive. Taste wise is you think of a diet as just munching on rice cakes for a few months instead of eating greasy fast food then think again. A diet is the fuel and nourishment you give your body as well as a social experience we encounter daily. So if you aren’t enjoying what you eat you aren’t very likely to stick to eating healthy are you?
The second important part of getting the ripped v-cut look is naturally your abdominal development. Having low body fat is of course very important but there are plenty of skinny people in the world without the v-cut. Therefore, you will need to develop your abs by increasing their volume and definition. Oblique training is important for developing the cut, however, using too much weight can add more mass than you might want and make you look thicker. I like exercises such as twisting crunches, side bends and other types of twisting exercises to work my obliques without adding unwanted mass.
Obviously to build the abdominal muscles effectively training with weight makes sense. A full abdominal routine should be implemented like you would any other muscle group such as biceps or your chest muscles. Training the abs 2-3 times per week is sufficient for developing size and definition, training everyday can simply stifle your progress and leave you overtrained.
One more effective tool for getting the v-cut is cardiovascular exercise. Cardio is a great way to burn through the stores of fat covering abdominal muscles and should be used in conjunction with a resistance training program. When cutting I personally step up my cardio workouts to 4-5 times a week to shed the fat.
As a final note before I wrap up this post I wanted to say that please be aware that genetics will be the ultimate factor in exactly how your abs will look once they are developed and the fat is stripped away. For some people the v-cut is very prominent while for others it isn’t very noticeable. Don’t let this discourage you from developing your body to its full potential and enjoying the health benefits that come with exercising and lifestyle change.