Just getting six pack abs is difficult, but getting 8 pack abs is just darn hard. It's the same formula as for getting that six pack, but more intense and more targeted.
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If you're wondering how to get abs, check out my How to Get Abs E-Book here.
You need to know the reasons that getting 8 washboard abs is so hard, how much control you have, and what exercises and diet will give you those 8 pack abs. When you have everything working together it's possible, just not easy.
Take a good look at the chiseled picture to the right. The muscles you're seeing there are the rectus abdominus, the core muscles that are closest to the surface of your body and the ones that are your hot abs.
There are actually 10 muscles that make up that group, 5 on either side of the linea alba. The linea albadivides the abdomen down the center, with the other bands of connective tissue defining the 'valleys' of between your abs.
Getting that last 'valley' at the bottom cut and defined is what gives you the 8 pack look.
The degree to which the connective tissue creates the 'valleys' is partially genetic, and varies from person to person. You might have an easy time getting your 8 pack because you chose the right parents; in which case, I hate you ;-)
If you don't have the genetics, substitute elbow grease. It's unlikely, but you may have much less definition in your abs than most people and it'll almost be impossible to get the 8 pack abs. Start by getting your own six pack abs, and then work on getting the last two cut.
If you don't have a six pack already, check out some six pack diet info in my e-book. By sticking to the basics outlined in detail like eating healthy, frequent meals and creating a calorie deficit you can get your 8 pack abs.
Be sure to monitor your progress, either with skin-fold calipers or by taking regular photos. It'll give you motivation to see yourself progressing.
It takes willpower to keep eating the right foods, but hey, you want an 8 pack, right? That's TOTALLY worth eating good, healthy food regularly.
Getting the 6 muscles in the middle will give you the six pack abs look. You have to get the 2 above or below those really well defined to get 8 pack abs.
For most guys with an 8 pack, the additional 2 come from the lower rectus abdominus, since the sternum (breast bone) commonly covers the upper 2. In the photo here, you can see the layout of the abs with the sternum covering the upper two.
To exercise the lower abs, here's the 4 top lower ab exercises you can do to make them bigger:
Lie with your back on the ground, with your hands under your butt. Then, holding your legs together raise them till they're pointing vertical and slowly lower them. Count slowly to 30 as you lower them to the ground.
Then, when they're only a few inches off the floor, hold them there for another count of 30. Its painful, but it does a great job of hitting the lower abs.
Start this exercise lying on the floor, hands at your sides. Take your hands and place them behind your head, lifting your head slightly off the floor.
Then, extend one leg straight out off the ground and bring the other leg's knee up to your chest while bending your torso to touch the opposite elbow to the close knee. So, when you pull back you right knee you bent to (try to) touch the left elbow to that knee.
Then, peddle your feet like you're on a bicycle and alternate you elbow. And go till it hurts something fiery.
For these, lie on an inclined bench and grab the end of the bench with both hands. Then, holding your knees at a right angle, flex and bring them up into a tight crunch, then let them down.
This is great at hitting the lower abs. You can do this exercise on a ball too, but making sure to grab onto something to hold your upper body upright at a slight incline.
Use either an ab wheel or a swiss ball to do this exercise. With your knees on the floor, hold the ball or ab wheel in your hands and let it roll out till you're arms are almost in-line with your upper body. Then, contracting your abs, roll yourself back.
On an ab wheel you will be almost completely extended with a straight body, whereas with a ball you will be elevated more off the ground. This hits the other parts of your rectus abdominus as well.
Now, that's a beautiful outline on how to get your own 8 pack abs. By eating right, doing the right exercises, and with some hardcore discipline you'll be able to do it.
If you want a more complete and structured plan for 6 or 8 pack abs, though, check out my How to Get Abs e-book. It contains exact, step-by-step instructions for how to get ripped, with exercise and diet info.
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
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Brungardt, Kurt. 1993. The Complete Book of Abs. New York: Villard Books.
Geary, Michael D. 2006. The Truth About Six Pack Abs. S.l: s.n.
Venuto, Tom. 2003. Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. Fitness Renaissance, LLC.
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