When it comes to the perfect male physique, time and again our thoughts tend to return to a certain Hollywood icon’s V lines in Fight Club. Indeed, there’s good reason Brad Pitt’s body is a TikTok trend: he’s lithe yet muscular, slim but without losing size. And, of course, he has those highly aesthetic V lines tapering down from his abs. 

To fans of the culty animated sci-fi sitcom Rick and Morty , these V-lines are *ahem* “cum gutters”. To others, they’re the ultimate sign of a dialled-in fitness routine. But just what are they, and how – if you’re so inclined – can you get them? 

Let’s talk about V lines

“V lines are where the obliques meet the transversus abdominis muscles. They are only visible when you have a very low body fat percentage, which can either mean 11% or lower for men, and 14% or lower for women,” explains David Wiener, training and nutrition specialist at AI-based fitness coaching app Freeletics.

Wiener goes on to explain that V lines are “highly sought after” in the health and fitness world, and require a lot of work, effort and commitment to achieve. Think your thrice-weekly 50 sit-ups will do? Think again. 

“The best way to work towards this goal is through a calorie deficit, targeted training and the right mind-set,” Wiener explains, adding that “some people may not find this a sustainable way to live, and therefore it can make achieving and keeping V lines unattainable.”

We have to stress this last part. While we all have obliques and transversus abdominis muscles, having visible V lines isn’t “normal” by any stretch of the word. Getting them requires hard work, pushing beyond your limitations and taking your workout routine to the next level. Needless to say, the benefits are purely aesthetic. 

“Furthermore, a low body fat percentage doesn’t necessary equate to optimum health,” Wiener adds. “I would advise seeking professional opinion with your regime,” he says. “And, genetics can either mean it’s easier to achieve, or a much harder task.”

Still want to get V-‘d up? Read on for Wiener’s tips for unleashing your inner Tyler Durden.

Stay consistent 

First, a reminder that getting V-lines is doable, as long as you’re willing to put the work in, and stick with it. “A lot of people assume reducing body fat is a really hard process, but as long as you are focusing on good nutrition while staying in a calorie deficit, and participate in a good training regime, you will see results,” says Wiener. 

Find your drive

A good place to start is finding your motivation, and making sure you stay reminded of it throughout the long process of working out week after week. “Gaining V lines doesn’t mean putting 110% into your intensity of workouts, but rather 110% into your commitment for a lifestyle change, and the amount of time and motivation you put into your regime,” Wiener explains. Knowing why you’re doing it will help when your commitment wavers. 

Don’t go all out every day

It can be tempting to think that getting an extreme result requires an extreme routine. In some ways, not so. “Gaining V lines can be a tough process, but you do not need to be participating in high intensity cardio every day or lifting really heavy weights,” explains Wiener. “As long as your heart rate is in the cardio zone [70-80% of your max heart rate], you can reduce body fat by low intensity cardio. Although, you do need to be taking part in this cardio for longer amount of time to see results. The recommended 30 minutes a day will simply not be enough to get V lines.”

Choose the right foods, not less foods

Kicking calories will leave you depleted, with no energy to work out so wise up, buddy. “Being in a calorie deficit can mean a reduction in energy, especially if you are participating in more exercise than you normally would,” says Wiener. “However, focusing on the correct foods rather than less food is the answer to you succeeding, and maintaining good energy levels. Eating smaller, more frequent meals which are protein rich and contain complex carbohydrates can help to ensure you stay in a macros and caloric deficit.”

Up the reps

While there’s no need to get excessive, adding five more minutes on the treadmill, or a few more reps per weights round can make the difference. “Adding extra reps into your routine will definitely help encourage V lines and their muscle prominence,” says Wiener. “You need to constantly be working your muscles to encourage the blood flow to your muscles, which will result in your V line muscles being more prominent.”

Plan ahead

The key to staying nourished throughout a training plan is to think ahead. Rather than restrictive diets, the right foods, at the right times, are key. “With the right meals, timing and portion control, you can eat every two or three hours, stay full, and still drop fat around your abdomen,” says Wiener. “Ideal foods to include in your diet include chicken, turkey, salmon, eggs, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.”

Try this workout

Then Freeletics Dione workout is excellent for enhancing cardio fitness and losing weight. It doesn’t require any equipment, just willpower. 

With a (painful) emphasis on toning your abs, it consists of three rounds of 75 jumping jacks, 50 leg levers, 25 burpees, and 50 sit-ups. 

Aim to complete it in under an hour.

Accept your body

Know who cares if you have V-lines? No one, that’s who. If you want to get in great shape, it should be for you alone. And, if you’re doing that, you have to accept that not everyone will be able to unveil their V-lines, and there’s nothing you can do about it. “Everybody is completely different,” says Wiener “Due to genetics, some people simply might not be able to get really visual V lines, and some people might find it really easy to get visual V lines.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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