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There are many reasons why you can’t see you six pack. It is a sad and discouraging situation when you put a huge amount of effort into getting a well-defined six pack and the results are nowhere to be seen.
Getting a six pack is very challenging; at times excruciating and this is the main reason why everyone doesn’t have a washboard stomach.
Many people tend to approach ab training in the completely wrong manner, spending their time following myth training regimes and more often than not, they end up throwing the towel in!
Having a six pack boils down to smart training, eating clean and having the right amount of rest/sleep.
This article will identify 5 key points why training with the wrong approach can be detrimental to you seeing your abs.
#1 – Too much body fat
This might seem obvious but if your % body fat is too high, then you won’t be able to see your abs. Therefore, if your ‘chunk on your trunk’ is too high you will not be able to see what you are packing underneath.
For men their body fat range should be below 10% and for women it should be around the 16% mark.
If your % body fat is too high then you need to increase your energy expenditure and add some cardio HIIT training into your sessions.
HIIT training has the following benefits on burning fat and maintaining muscle mass:
- Burns fat 24 hours after you have stopped exercising
- Increases human growth hormone and testosterone levels
- Improves insulin sensitivity and glucose utilisation thereby reducing body fat storage
#2 – You think that crunches will melt away the fat
A key point to note, is that you can’t use spot exercises e.g. crunches & sit ups; to burn the fat off your stomach area.
This is a training myth and a total misconception that you do a 1000 crunches a day and you will get the perfect six pack.
There no research available to back this myth and spot exercising doesn’t burn the fat off, that covers your abs.
The only legitimate method of burning the fat off your abs, is by gradually burning fat from your entire body.
The best approach for this is to use high intensity interval training, compound resistance movements e.g. squats and a clean diet.
This three pronged attack improves your hormonal control of insulin; high levels of insulin caused by a spike in blood sugars, is a catalyst for the body to store fat.
Men to do tend store more subcutaneous fat in the abs area and pre-menopausal tend to store the fat on their hips and thighs.
Unfortunately, the fat covering your abs is usually the last to go and first to come back. It is very stubborn in nature and this makes it all the more difficult for some people to actually see their abs.
Getting abs requires a lifestyle change, a vast amount of discipline and there is no quick fix. Perseverance and determination are absolutely crucial when on the six pack trail, and again this is why not everyone on the planet has one!
#3 – You are exercising your abs everyday
Similarly to the other muscle in your body, your abs need time to rest, recover and build in order for them to expand. Therefore, stop training your abs every time that you go the gym and think ‘what would happen if you trained your chest every day?’
The answer is; very little growth, as you are not giving the chest enough time to recuperate. Same applies to your abs. The recommended frequency for abs training is between 2-3 times per week, and this allows plenty of time for them to recover and grow.
An added bonus of not training your abs every day, is that it frees up more time for you to do more cardio HIIT and compound weight training. This is far more beneficial for transformation of your abs and is based on training facts and not myths!
The majority of your work out should incorporate the major muscle groups and HIIT cardio, and abs training should really be an add on.
Don’t eliminate working the major muscle groups in the pursuit of a six pack. Research has indicated that compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, rows, clean & presses actually help to burn fat, stimulate muscle growth and they engage the core harder than isolated ab exercises.
Remember that compound exercises make the muscle grow and the isolated exercises shape the muscles!
#4 – Shaping your abs with the wrong exercises
Crunches and sit ups predominately work the top part of the rectus abdominis.
Although building up the top and mid-section of the abs is very important, lets us not forget about the obliques, transverse abdominis and the lower abs.
These muscle are not targeted by certain crunches and sit ups, and the other muscles will start to lag behind if not exercised.
The plank is an excellent exercise for targeting the transverse abdominis, and this muscle keeps everything in the core/waist tight and compact. The obliques run into the pelvis and cause the desired V- cut. A top point is to use a Swiss Ball as this really focuses the core and also use a variety of exercises such as leg raises, twists, lunges, V-ups, supermans etc.
Remember to work all parts of the core, as well as the rectus abdominis.
#5 – You don’t increase the exercise difficulty
Your abs will not grow beyond the beginner’s stage of training, unless you increase the level of exercise difficulty.
Muscle grows and adapts in three ways: by increasing the weight lifted, by increasing the amount of resistance and by increasing the difficulty of the exercises performed.
When developing your abs, crunches and sit ups are very basic and provide minimal engagement in the core region. Therefore, instead of doing more reps with basic movement, why not use advanced exercises using weights e.g. cable crunches, Swiss ball weighted crunches, Ab V-ups with ankle weight etc.
These types of exercises will kick start your ab muscle growth and will increase your success rate when on the six pack journey.