Who Coined the Term “Six-Pack Abs?”

The term “six-pack abs” has become so ingrained in our everyday vocabulary that most of us never stop to think where it came from. How did such an odd choice of wording to refer to your stomach become commonplace in everyday speech? Let’s take a look at the brief history of the six pack.

Six Pack Beer

Kind of ironic to think the term that we associate with lean and sexy abs started with beer. In 1949, post-prohibition, one Jacksonville, FL brewery began distributing their beers in bags with six bottles in each. Eventually, the popularity of aluminum, convenience of plastic top packaging, and three-by-two arrangement would spawn the term that we use so freely today.

Cars and the Six Pack

The term six pack then made its way into the automobile industry referring to a type of engine with a special carburetor setup. The carburetor is essential for internal combustion as it mixes air with fuel. A six pack is an engine with three two-barrel carburetors on the intake. The most famous example of this type of setup is the 440 Six Pack, which was first used by Chrysler in the 60s.

Muscle: Six-Pack Abs

Most fitness experts will agree that the documentary, Pumping Iron, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, catapulted bodybuilding into the popularity that it’s achieved today. While the term “six-pack abs” was never explicitly used in the film, it sparked a wild fandom for six-pack ab exercises.

Six-Pack Abs: Who Said It First?

Unfortunately, there is no single person that’s been attributed with first using the term “six-pack abs.” While bodybuilding exploded in the 80s alongside the rush of action movies, one slang dictionary argues that the term didn’t appear until the 90s as a form of Ebonics to refer to a tight stomach.


Given its history, the invention of the term “six-pack abs” was inevitable. All you have to do is hold up the plastic rings of a six pack of beer against your stomach to see why.

Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.

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