The good, the bad, and the ugly of creating strong abs.
Shed belly fat, FAST!
Get a six-pack in 7 days!
This is the one amazing abs exercise personal trainers don’t want you to know about!
Sound familiar? Somehow, large parts of the modern fitness industry have become obsessed with abs. We associate a visible six-pack with fitness success and as we see image after perfectly filtered image of carefully honed abs on Instagram, they quickly become our #fitspiration. But why is this? On the one hand, a strong core (including abs, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis) is vital to every other part of your workout routine. It helps with posture, balance, lifting, and just about everything you put your body through. The dirty truth about abs, though, is that you don’t have to see them for them to be doing their job. It’s time we all focused less on worshipping the six-pack and more on building functional strength throughout our core.
In this first article in our abs series, I explore some of the key truths about abs training.
Abs work just like other muscle
We tend to approach abs like they are some strange body voodoo. And that ends up with us following crazy belly-busting juice fasts and obsessing over specific abs exercises to help them ‘pop’. The truth is that you need to work them like any other muscle in your body. Abs grow in response to heavy resistance workouts. Healing and becoming stronger as you work out regularly. There is a huge range of exercises you can do to achieve strong abs, but there isn’t one magic workout that will make a six-pack appear overnight.
Exercise alone, won’t get you a six pack (or even a two pack)
If your goal is visible abs, then you need to understand that all the exercise in the world won’t achieve this goal if the muscles themselves are covered in a layer of fat. This means that diet is just as crucial to upping your abs appeal as exercise. That said, who says a six-pack is the name of the game? Strong abs are a great thing, whether you can see them or not.
You need to work all the muscles of the core
Yes, abs are important, but they should only be one part of your goal for a strong core. The muscles that wrap around your back and that support your pelvis are just as important (if not more important) for protecting your spine and increasing core stability. The best way to achieve balance in your core workout is to choose a multi-directional approach. In other words, 100 sit-ups, isn’t going to cut it. Instead, choose shorter sets of diverse exercises that incorporate twisting and functional movements.
You shouldn’t work your abs every day
There is a school of thought that to achieve perfectly honed abs you need to spend hours each day crunching, planking, and doing sit-ups. Not only is this mind-bendingly dull, but it could be counter-productive or even put you at risk of injury. Abs aren’t some special breed of muscle, and, like all of us, they need their rest days. Want to build strong abs? Then make sure you give them time to repair between workouts.
Genetics play a big part in how your abs look
Some of us are predisposed to carry a layer of excess fat around our middle. And, if you are one of these people, it can be really hard to shift. It may be down to insulin resistance and it may be just because that’s how your body stores fat, but some of us will always struggle to achieve a six-pack no matter how hard we work out. Perhaps it’s time we stopped measuring our success by the number of abs we can count. You can be both incredibly fit and strong without a single ab on display, so who cares if you can’t see them?!
Next week, I will be looking at some of my favourite core exercises. But in the meantime, if you’re dreaming of super honed abs or just an improvement in overall fitness, drop us a line. Our friendly gang of personal trainers make FitFusion PT one of the most fun ways to get your workout on. And we would love to be part of your fitness journey! Until next week, stay amazing.