In theory, believe it or not, obtaining (and retaining) a six pack is a simple two step process. How straight forward it is to apply, follow and actually put in practice these two steps may well be another matter.
1) REDUCE YOUR BODY FAT –
You already have a six pack (rectus abdominus, specifically) The problem is you can’t see it as it lies beneath a layer of fat. As a general rule, most women will find that they won’t see any abdominal definition unless they are less than 18 percent body fat. In fact, some women need to get down to 14-15% body fat or so before they’ll see abdominal definition. For men, ab definition becomes visible at around 10% body fat. The fact that you have fat around your abdomen isn’t necessarily a problem, it is the thickness and density of fat which is most likely the issue. Understand that reducing body fat is the number one critical factor in exposing a six pack, exercise and training are secondary. A 2011 study* published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning found that after six weeks of training abs 5 days per week a group of subjects saw no change in their abdominal fat or body composition. The crucial factor in the study was that none of the subjects changed their nutrition. They trained abs 5 days a week but didn’t change their eating and as a result lost no body fat. HOWEVER the subjects significantly improved their core strength (31 percent stronger) and increased their core musculature density……which leads us on to step two of your quest for a six pack:
2) RESISTANCE TRAINING –
Working your rectus abdominus against an external force (springs, gravity, a ring, dumbbells) will increase the cross-sectional are of the muscle fibres and therefore their density and thickness. Increase the size of the abs (proportionally) and decreasing the fat covering them is your two stage strategy to obtaining your six pack. So while training is secondary to nutrition in terms of a six pack it is nonetheless a crucial factor in getting abs to show. So, what’s best for targeting your abs? Electromyography involves placing electrodes on the skin over the abdominal muscles. Electrical energy triggers the muscle to contract, and this contraction is captured, recorded and analysed. The greater the intensity of the electrical signal, the higher the degree of muscle activity. Researchers* at Auburn University Montgomery in Alabama discovered that three of the most effective ways to stimulate your rectus abdominus (’six pack muscles’) were the V-crunch (drawing your knees in as you crunch up, extending the legs as you lower), the side plank and the standard crunch all exercises that you perform on a regular basis in your classes.
There it is. Book into classes where you are guaranteed to have your core muscles challenged, strengthened and toned and ask us about our range of nutrition services that will help you drop your body fat. If you’re unsure about nutritional programming then have a at the picture above and check out what two clients who have utilised our nutrition services had to say.
Vispute SS, et al. The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat. J Strength Cond Res. (2011)
Green JS, et al. The effects of exercise training on abdominal visceral fat, body composition, and indicators of the metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women with and without estrogen replacement therapy: the HERITAGE family study. Metabolism. (2004)