How To Get Six-Pack Abs. Isn’t that what so many people seem to be interested in? Having a six-pack (or even an eight-pack) seems to be the ultimate body physique goal.
It also happens to be what sells many health, fitness and beauty magazines and books. With enticing headlines like;
“Get Rock-Hard Abs In 3 Easy Moves”
“Six-Pack Abs In Minutes A Day”
“Just 8 Minutes A Day With Our PDQ Ab Trainer And You Will Look Amazing”
I’m sure you have seen ads and headlines on TV and in magazines. If it were that easy to get a flat, sculpted mid-section, almost everyone would have one. Clearly, that is not the case.
What you will discover when you read this post is that there are two critical aspects to abdominal and core strengthening.
1. Getting flat, defined abs for the physique you desire.
2. Strengthening your core (all abdominal muscles, lower back, pelvis, and upper thighs) to keep your spine healthy, strong and flexible. And to allow you to perform all of your daily activities (lifting, bending, twisting, pulling, pushing) without injury.
In my opinion, these two very different goals merge together nicely.
Myth #1: Doing endless crunches will not make your core strong and will do almost nothing to help you get a defined midsection.
Fact: Research has shown that the “crunch-type” sit-up is one of the most ineffective moves to activate and strengthen the ab muscles.
Working to get a six-pack by focusing on lots of specific abdominal exercises often causes the negative side-effects of weakening your spine and damaging your posture.
Myth #2: You can isolate upper, middle and lower abs to work on spot reducing or training.
Fact: Your abdominal muscles all work together – both to create movement and to prevent too much movement. You can’t effectively spot train or spot reduce different ab muscles.
The ideal abdominal muscle workout moves will be ones that involve multiple muscle movements. The good new is that there are so many to choose from.
Almost all exercise is core exercise. Hiking, swimming, weight lifting, yoga, Pilates, Zumba…
Most Weight Lifting Exercises Work Your Abs & Core
Myth #3: A strong, bulky six-pack will help strengthen your back and prevent back pain.
Fact: Focusing on building a strong rectus abdominis (front of your abs six-pack muscle) can actually distort your posture, weaken your spine and cause back problems.
To build a strong core and prevent back pain, you need to work all of your abdominal muscles and pelvis, upper legs, and back. In my many years of clinical experience, I would also advise you to include neck and upper back exercises in your core routine to really “bullet-proof” your spine.
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Myth #4: Doing long sets of crunches and other ab exercises every day will help you get a defined “six-pack”.
Fact: Your abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique and transverses abdominis) are a muscle just like any other. Some people will work them every day. Our research and personal experience tells us that to get nicely defined abs, you need to really work them and then give them time to rest.
This means incorporating exercise moves that will give some resistance to your muscles. (example: captain’s chair leg raises, hanging bicycle leg raises, weighted incline-bench sit-ups)
Myth #5: You Can Exercise Your Way to a Flat, Sculpted Abdomen.
Fact: Maybe you have heard the expression, Abs are made in the kitchen. There is no way around it. Men need to get their body fat % to around 10% to see abdominal muscle definition and women will have some ab definition at 20-22% but for 15-17% will look much more cut.
How Do You Get to This Level of Body Fat Percentage? Clean Eating – Plain and Simple.
Tip 1: Test this…Stop eating carbs after lunch (or whatever your midday meal/snack is). You can still have veggies and salad for dinner (or your last meal of the day), but avoid rice, bread, pasta, rolls and fruit.
We have tested this extensively and have found that you can actually see the difference the next morning when you look in the mirror. You should look leaner with more ab definition.
Tip 2: Make sure you are feeding your body with enough protein. For fat and weight loss and muscle building, eating 5-6 times each day (with meals and snacks), will help keep your body fueled to have more consistent energy and be free to lose weight.
You will want to have some type of healthy protein every time you eat – meals and snacks.
Tip 3: Don’t fall for the “Avoid Fat In Your Diet” myth. You actually need healthy fats to lose weight and fat. I know that it is counter intuitive, but that is how your body works. Healthy fats…nuts (not peanuts – to many people have sensitivities to these and they can cause weight gain), nut butters, avocados, coconut oil, omega-3 fish oil (from wild caught and sustainable sources), chia seeds.
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