Why Your Abs Aren’t On View…..Yet!
Getting a six-pack has long been a goal for many men and women, and a selling point for every kind of fad diet, slimming pill and stomach sculpting equipment!
Whilst a few of these products and processes can aid in the shredding of fat, most are nothing more than junk backed by well thought out marketing which focuses on the emotional value many placed on getting a six pack.
And if you think this article is all about vanity, you’re ABsolutely wrong!
Your abs provide vital support and stability to your body and to assist in many movements and tasks you need to do on a daily basis.
There not there just for lifting weights and looking good.
So, now we’ve established ‘abs’ are good, let get straight to why your abs might not be on show, and how we can get them seen.
Below I’ll look at why your abs might not be showing at present, and how you can fix this:
1) TRAINING ABS – TOO MUCH OR NOT ENOUGH!
You’ve probably heard a lot of untruths on this topic – I’ve heard some crackers!
- “You don’t need to work abs if you do cardio”
- “You can work abs as often as you want, for as long as you want”…
The truth, however, is less excited and more common sense!
Your abs react to working out like any of your muscle groups.
So, they need to be worked hard, and they need rest and recovery.
And if your goal is to build strong and defined abs, while getting leaner, your focus should be on hypertrophy training.
People often consider the abs as one muscle, but this is not the case. The abdominals are a muscle group made up of the following.
Thus, different exercises are needed to work the group properly (don’t just do hundreds of sit-ups!):
- Transverse abdominis: Used to stabilize your core.
- External obliques: Situated on both sides of the rectus abdominis. These muscles support twisting movements.
- Rectus abdominis: Muscles used to support core movement, and group of muscles most commonly referred to as the six-pack.
- Internal obliques: Also located on both sides of the rectus abdominis. They perform a similar function as external obliques, but contracts on the same side as rotation.
WHAT TO DO:
- Train your abs at least twice per week, with a minimum of 2 days break between the sessions.
- Complete various exercises which target the different areas of the abdominals.
- Complete 3-4 sets of each, and 10-14 reps (consistent with hypertrophy training guidelines).
2) YOUR HOLDING EXCESS BODY FAT:
No matter how trained and strong your abs are, if you are holding excess body fat you won’t see them!
If you’re weight training and doing ab exercises, you will have six-pack under the surface.
WHAT TO DO:
- Start on a fat loss plan. Combine training with enough cardio and dieting (calorie deficit) to burn fat and build muscle to get lean. This is absolutely the quickest and best way to get six pack abs.
- Do this for as long as it takes. If you have fat to shift, realistically you should be able to shed almost 1kg each week.
Another metric is body fat percentage. At 15-20% body fat for women, and 10-15% for women, you should start to see ab definition and a six pack.
3) YOUR DIET PLAN:
If your eating the wrong things they will hide your abs.
- Eating too many calories.
- Overdoing the carbs.
- Consuming to many cheat meals.
- Not having enough water.
If you are doing any of the above on a regular basis you will be lowering your chances of getting a six-pack.
WHAT TO DO:
- Stick to a structured meal plan with daily calorie goals and ideally macronutrient goals ( fats, protein and carbs).
- Limit treats and cheat meals.
- Ensure the majority of meals contain vegetables, lean meat (or vegetarian alternative), fish, chicken, whole grains and nuts. And drink loads of water!!
4) YOU ARE DOING TO MUCH CARDIO:
Do all distance runners and cyclists have six packs? NO!
The reason for this is that whilst cardio burns calories and fat, if you do to much it also begins to ‘eat away’ at your muscle tissue!
This is known as the catabolic effect.
This is why many such athletes are lean and skinny, but don’t have a six pack!
WHAT TO DO:
- Do no more than 45 minutes of steady state cardio per day.
- Ideally mix up your cardio training – HIIT is a great alternative to spending endless amounts of time on one machine.
Do you need a diet and training plan to help you get shredded? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
As usual, any questions fire them over.
Ian David Worthington
Creator, Owner and Coach at GymWolfPT.com