Zac Efron built an incredible physique for his role in Baywatch alongside Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
Most people would struggle to out-muscle The Rock, but it was Efron’s six-pack abs that really stood out and this super lean and defined look on his abs that many of our clients at Ultimate Performance want to emulate.
While it’s important to remember that a properly-structured diet is absolutely key to getting lean enough to see the abdominal muscles and the classic six-pack look, there are key exercises that will make those abs ‘pop’ like Efron.
Why This Workout Works
When looking to build a six-pack, it’s important to know that there are a few distinct layers of muscles around our midsection.
But for this Zac Efron-style abs workout we will focus mainly on the rectus abdominis, the elusive ‘six pack’ muscle.
Another superficial (visible) muscle of the midsection is external oblique, however we will not be targeting it directly.
The reasons are that:
- We can’t avoid using our obliques during isometric abs exercises anyway.
- Targeting obliques with direct work and dynamic, loaded exercises (different twisting and bending movements) carries a risk of over-developing these muscles to the point where they would actually increase our waist size.
Two basic functions of rectus abdominis muscles are spinal flexion and compression of the abdomen (basically, ‘bracing’). What this translates to is that we get our abdominals to work when we perform any type of ‘crunch’ movements, initiated from the top of the torso (crunches) or from the bottom of the torso (reverse crunch, leg raise).
Our other option is to place our trunk in the position when our abs will have to engage isometrically (statically) in order to maintain stability and integrity of the trunk.
In order to develop abs optimally and get a six-pack Efron would be proud of, we’ll train this muscle in both functions.
We will also try to hit both ‘fast twitch’ and ‘slow twitch’ muscle fibres of our abs and this is why we’ll use different repetition ranges. The programme outlined below is suited for all levels, with the notion that beginners will have to skip the A series exercises until they develop enough strength to cope with demands of these advanced movements. Intermediate trainees can try the A exercises in their most basic form, and progress from there.
The ‘B series’ exercises pair up the movements where the abs shorten in opposing directions: in B1 the muscle shortens from insertion to origin, in B2 the muscle shortens from origin towards insertion.
The C series exercises combine isometric with isotonic (dynamic) contractions in Workout 1.
In Workout 2, the C series exercises work the abs in their stabilising (bracing function) where stability is challenged by forces acting unilaterally one side at the time.
Here are two workouts to help you get abs like Zac Efron:
How to Perform the Exercises
This guide is aimed at trainees with a good knowledge of the exercises and how to train safely and effectively.
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