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Why Do Some People Have Four-Pack Abs?

Defined, toned abs — commonly called a six-pack — are an often sought-after goal in the gym. But not all toned abs look the same. Some people sport a four-pack, while others may have an eight-pack.

Let’s take a look at the difference between ab types as well as the diet, exercise, and lifestyle tips that can help you achieve the strongest abs your genetics will allow.

The difference between ab types lies in the structure of your abdominal muscles.

Your abdomen contains four muscle groups. To get toned abs, you’ll need to do exercises that strengthen all four muscle groups. These muscle groups are:

Rectus abdominis

Once toned, the rectus abdominis becomes your four-, six-, or eight-pack. It comprises two connected muscle bands that run parallel to each other, down either side of the abdomen.

The linea alba is the fibrous band that separates the rectus abdominis. It forms the line that runs down the middle of the abdomen.

The rectus abdominis also helps:

  • regulate breathing
  • maintain posture
  • protect your internal organs

Transverse abdominis

The transverse abdominis is located deep within the abdomen. It extends from the front of your abdomen to the sides of your body. It helps provide stability and strength to your entire core, back, and pelvis.

If your transverse abdominis isn’t being worked, your rectus abdominis won’t become defined.

Internal and external obliques

The internal and external obliques help control the twisting and turning movements of your body. Along with the transverse abdominis, they provide a stabilizing girdle for your back and pelvis.

The external obliques are a large muscle group located at the sides of the rectus abdominis. The internal obliques are located just underneath, inside your hip joints. Working your obliques adds definition and tone to your abs.

Is it possible to have a 10-pack?

Being able to achieve a 10-pack is possible for some people.

You need to be born with a rectus abdominis that contains five bands of connective tissue running horizontally across it. You also need to regularly work out these muscles and follow a healthy diet.

Of course, what you eat and how you exercise also play large roles in how your abs ultimately look.

The rectus abdominis muscle has bands of connective tissue (fascia) crossing it horizontally. These bands give the appearance of multiple packs stacked on top of each other on either side of your abdomen.

You’re born with a set number of these connective tissue bands. You can’t build additional ones. Your genetics also determine their symmetry, length, and size.

A person with an eight-pack has four bands. A person with a six-pack has three bands. A person with a four-pack has two bands.

Many people’s rectus abdominis has three intersections. This means that if most people worked at it, they could achieve a six-pack.

But just because you have more or less doesn’t mean you’re stronger or weaker. It’s just your genes.

Some of the fittest people around can’t achieve six- or eight-pack abs. One of these people is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, even during his bodybuilding days, sported a four-pack.

Of course, what you eat and how you exercise also play large roles in how your abs ultimately look.

Many people have a six-pack, but four-pack abs are possible too. It depends on your genes, workout routine, and diet. Here’s what you need to know about getting four-pack abs, including exercises, diet tips, and more.