Although building muscle mass might not be of interest to you if your goals are simply to have great abdominal definition and fitness following such a program can offer you a number of benefits if you decide to incorporate it into your training.
Evidence suggests that building muscle with a progressive system of weight training or bodyweight exercises can supercharge your resting metabolic rate (RMR) resulting in you using more calories 24/7 which has the fantastic effect of you burning fat even when not training.
You also have to consider the fact that to reduce the fat surrounding you abs you have to follow a diet that creates a calorie deficit and one of the side effects of such a diet can be a reduction in muscle mass. Now because muscle requires calories on a constant basis it pays to ensure that you keep as much of it as possible while following your six pack diet and the two best tips for this are incorporating progressive resistance in your training and ensuring you get adequate protein.
The other important benefit of building muscle mass while training for six pack abs is that the final results will look far more impressive as generally speaking the contrast between broad shoulders and narrow waist is more aesthetically pleasing than skinny upper body and slim waist.
It is because resistance training can be so productive we have designed basic, intermediate and advanced workouts for you to follow if you wish to, However, if you are unsure about how to go about building muscle mass there are a few simple rules that it pays to follow.
First there are four principles for proper muscle growth namely overload (working a muscle intensely enough to cause growth), progression ( increasing the intensity week by week), adaptation (allowing the right training, diet and rest for the muscle to grow) and specificity (targeting the muscle with specific exercises to cause change).
In simple terms these four principles mean that to cause new muscle growth or maintain muscle while following a diet you need to do the right number of exercise sets and repetitions to simulate muscle growth and then you need to get the proper nutrition and rest to allow the change to take place. To ensure you always follow the four principles here are some simple guidelines.
The number of sets and repetitions.
100 years of body-building has shown that the best resistance programmes follow 10 repetitions per set, 3 to 4 sets per exercise and 3 to 4 exercises per muscle so 12 to 16 sets per muscle in total.
This is what the great champions of the past like Steve Reeves and Arnold Schwarzzenegger found and is what today's champions still practise. The weight used for weight training exercises will be different for everybody but ideally you should find only the last two repetitions of a set really testing.
How often to train.
Because it takes at least 72 hours for a muscle to recover and rebuild from an intense training session each muscle group should be trained no less than once and no more than twice per week. Therefore your muscle building options are training your whole body in one workout twice per week, or using a split system of training half your body in one workout and half in another so that you do two workouts per week to exercise each muscle once. With this option you can do also do four workouts per week but still stick to the rule of not training any muscle more than twice per week.
Besides water your muscles are comprised mainly of protein and as a result building muscle mass requires an adequate amount of protein daily to repair and grow the muscle. The opium amount of protein for muscle growth and maintenance is between 1 to 2 grammes for every kilo of your bodyweight but I find that 1.5 grammes for every kilo of bodyweight works well so for example a 70 kilo man would have 105 grammes of protein per day.
It is also important to remember that you can only assimilate 25 to 30 grammes of protein in one meal so it is therefore advisable to ensure that you have protein in every meal to get the required amount daily. Along with the right amount of protein your diet should also consist of carbohydrates and fat and the correct balance varies depending on opinion but a balance of 50% carbohydrates, 25 % protein and 25 % fat is a good starting point.
Also remember that to burn your belly fat and get the definition needed for you ripped abs you will also need to ensure a calorie deficit of 500 less per day than you would need to stay the same weight.
Which exercises to use
We have designed specific basic, intermediate and advanced workouts to build muscle mass but if you want to design your own programme to build muscle mass the best advice is to ensure that you incorporate as many compound exercises as possible in to your training.
If you are unsure what compound exercises are they are ones that involve many muscles weight training examples would be deadlifts, squats and clean and jerks and bodyweight examples would be the press up, pull up and dragon flag.
As mentioned building muscle mass helps burn fat not only from the calories used in the workout but also by increasing your resting metabolic rate so that your body burns more calories 24/7. Aligned with this is the fact that once you have your ripped abs they will look better on a more muscular physique so the benefits mean getting your six pack quicker and looking better once you have got it.