T Nation

What am I doing wrong?

Hey everyone,

I want to get my abs rediculously ripped and get those “deep grooves” in my abdominal region. I am a serious soccer player and run distance 3 times a week (8-10 mph for 30-40 minutes) and do plyometrics 2 times a week. The plyo sessions are 45 minutes of high intensity movements that rivals any strenuous cardio exercise. I also pullups (varied grip) and do abs 4-5 times a week with a red resista-band (those rubber tubes with handles) to do my upper and lower region. I am 5’10 and 158 lbs and have definition in my abs (mostly in the upper/mid ab region) where you can see the boxes in my abs BUT I want those deep grooves in my WHOLE ab region (LOWERS included). I know losing more body fat would assist in this but I am pretty low in bodyfat. I am guessing Im around 8-10% BF. I eat healthy but am not 100% strict in my diet but 90% strict (if you can quantify that). I also take a multi-vitamin, Glutamine, and Glucosamine every monrning. Sometimes I take one of those “fat burners” in the AM. What I want to know is how can I achieve my desired results? I am very dedicated to my training and just aren’t getting my abs shreadded beyond belief. Perhaps you cabn suggest modifcations to my diet, exercises, a different cardio routine that will shed the lbs quicker, etc. I want to achieve this goal so do not mind putting in the work. I await all of you help and input. Thanks everyone.

If you wish to move beyond the ‘normal’ six-pack look, a lot of people find it necessary to employ a more extreme diet. ie, severe calorie restriction and/or massive amounts of cardio or HIIT, coupled with some sort of legal or illegal anabolic protection. Not to say you can’t do it any other way, but either route you take you risk LBM without ‘protection’.

I am in the same boat you are. I am also 5’10" 162lbs. My top abs are just starting to show. I’m also about 90% strict on my diet. I usually have a cheat meal like pizza on the weekend. I do cardio and weight training 4 to 5 times a week. I am just wondering if maybe I just don’t have enough muscle mass to really show off my abs because I’ve always been on the ectomorph side.

Anyone else thinking what im thinking? Gain some friggin weight.whats the point in having ripped abs if you are 160 lbs.

Right with you Goldberg. Gain some LBM. And since you’re a soccer player, I would look into Renegade Training (either at renegadetraining.com or read the various RT articles here on T-Mag). READ any/all articles by John Berardi on nutrition.

HAHAHAHA…that was pretty good Goldberg! I have to agree with you on that one. But, hey my man…try checkin out “awesome abs” by ian king or “ab routine for athletes and babe hounds” (which by the way, is a freakin killer!!)…both of which are in back issues, just type them in the search engine. Good Luck!

Check the FAQ and read the ab articles linked there. T-mag has about a dozen ab training articles available for free.

What do you mean whats the point in having ripped abs at 160lbs? Bodybuilders come in all shapes and sizes?

Someone always posts to put on some weight when a guy that size makes a post. Don’t they? Sure seems strange then that everyone goes nuts and asks a million questions when a guy that size posts a pic in the Photos section showing those incredibly ripped abs.

Seriously guys. A lot of people aren't looking for a 220lb ripped physique. It ain't in the cards for me. When I realized that I had more in common with Jackie Chan than Ron Coleman, life became a whole lot easier. Look around. The athletic guys with ripped abs are getting the women, not the powerlifter looking dudes in this forum telling guys to put on weight and get up to 15% body fat.

Although a lot of guys make fun of 'em in here, the Mens Fitness cover models are what a lot of these guys are striving for. Not many people even care to look like Coleman and those other steroid, HGH, insulin, and god knows what else shooting freaks.

I agree that 160 and 5'10" is a little skinny but cut the guy some slack. He's gonna have to drop some more body fat if he wants really ripped abs. No doubt about it and they don't have to be particularly thick to look good either. Ever seen a 10-year old kid on the playground with ripped abs? It sure wasn't from doing a billion weighted crunches.

So are you guys and gals telling Mike and I that we need to gain a little more LBM before we can have ripped abs or is that just you’re opinion as to what you think looks good(being bigger) in a set of ripped abs. If it is just you’re opinion then what can we do to really see our abs a little more? We know you guys and gals know or we would’nt be here asking these questions.

Hey Mike,if you are a serious soccer player why not spend more time on the pitch practising your game than worrying about a six pack?.
I am guessing that you must be a midfielder,but having played pro in England none of the players ran distance, but they concentrated more on interval training sprints.Just a training tip,good luck with your game.

i totally agree with BP, also 160lbs is very light for that body height. If your ultimate goal is to get the six pack thn you need to get even more ripped. Spot training is difficult. laters pk

whoever said to be a 15%bf muscle man. Usually the goal is to be at most 10%bf for T-men. And who says you wont get chicks at that level? And let’s not kid ourselves about who is a bodybuilder and who is trying to build a body. those are 2 different people. you need to be a certain weight compared to height and bf to be a bodybuilder. take me for instance, i’m a small 207lbs at 5’9" at 9% bf. I’m skinny and in no way consider myself to be a bodybuilder. Sure my proportions are awesome and the girls go crazy but i would not say i’m a bodybuilder, just someone trying to build a better body. laters pk

Exactly, pk!

Let me also add: if you indeed want a physique resembling a "Men's Health" model, remember that photos add 10-pounds. SO, what looks like a ripped 160 lb physique could quite possibly be 10-pounds lighter in real-life. And is it worth it to have a 5'10" 150lb physique with abs?

However, my reasoning on why this person should gain LBM first is not due to a "preference" but to common sense. He already performs a great deal of cardio. Hence, Ike's response (good response, too). This guys' bod has obviously found a set point and is sticking with it. So, he's either going to risk losing ALOT of his LBM by severely restricting calories and increasing cardio. SO, why not go with adding LBM? If he is indeed at 8-10%, he's in a really good position to go into a bulking. He doesn't need to get "mammoth huge" but maybe add 10lbs. Another thing he needs to do is begin a food log. Get his BF measured, so that he knows exactly where he's beginning at. Okay, soooooo, by adding LBM, increasing metabolic rate - making that next cutting cycle a tad bit easier. He's gotta have some muscle to lean up with, you know.

Are you saying that you have a cartoon based on you? Wow.

Read the articles listed above. You are training abs too often, and not heavy enough. To get the look you want, it sounds like you need to focus on making your abs thicker. When is the last time your abs got sore? If you have been doing abs 4 to 5 times a week it was probably a long time ago. Train them heavier, just like other muscles. Good luck.

Let’s see if this works

Sorry (Patricia)

It’s likely a dietary issue. You will need to keep a very accurate food log and slowly drop down calories (say 100 less per day for a week), while bumping up activity by about 100 calories/day for a week. Continue making these small adjustments and see what happens.

Also, you need to switch up your ab routine. It seems like you are doing the same thing 4-5 times a week and that will not cut it. You can train your abs 4-5 times a week, but I would use different motions.

Day 1 - Trunk Flexion

Day 2 - Rotation

Day 3 - Lower Body Flexion

Day 4 - Lateral Flexion

Day 5 - Internal Core Stabilization work (vacuums)

If you've been doing heavy ab work, switch to some higher rep work. If you've been doing light high rep work, switch to some heavy work. There are plenty of articles to check out, but read Coach Davies' Real Abs article (issue 205) and Ian King's Ab series for some exercise ideas.

You may never achieve it… thats a possibility to accept also. But, if you are genetically capable of getting a “six pack” look, then I would recommend listening to Goldberg and Patricia and putting on some poundage of the LBM sort. Additionally, stop working your abs so damn much. Look at your hands - are they extremely muscular from spanking the monkey frequently? I didn’t think so. I would hit Christian’s ab routine for a couple weeks, and combine that with a deadlifting/rowing intensive workout plan. Try benching the way Pavel Tsatsouline recommends it (extreme abdominal flexing for irradiation - believe it or not my abs were sore the first time I tried benching that way…) If you can hit it, do the bear. And drop some of that long term cardio for something new. Kettlebell or dumbell swings are pretty intensive little bastards.
FWIW, I’m 6’1", 189 (as of today…) and about 12% BF - I can still see my “upper abs” so don’t worry too hard about losing definition. good luck.

Honestly i can think if five guys right now who dont train or diet who dont have good genetics who weigh 160 at that height with pretty good looking abs.Those guys are a dime a dozen. now if you were to get up to 175 or 180 with the same amount of bf then wouldnt you look much better. And nobody said you had to become a lard ass. Quit working abs so much, gain some muscle and some strength and see if your physique doenst start looking a whole lot better.