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Friday, November 16, 2012


What is the first question that most people ask when they meet a Fitness Professional or Personal Trainer? Usually they point to their belly, or some even lift up their shirt and grab their belly fat, and say that they want to get rid of that, and how many abdominal exercises they have to do in order to get the results.

Everyone has to understand that the abdominal muscle is part of the human body, It composes of the Rectus Abdominus, which is the six-pack and goes all the way down to our pubis, the Obliques, which are positioned on the sides of the Rectus Abd., and the transverse which is positioned underneath, and was discussed in last week’s Blog.

So since all the muscles are part of the human anatomy, no matter at what age you are, or if you can scrub your clothes on it or not, EVERYONE has a six pack. Now whether you see it or not is the issue. The reason why you do not see it in most people is because, above all our muscles, we have a layer of fat. And since most fat deposition is around our stomach, the six pack is invisible. But all advanced weightlifters know that the fastest method of losing fat, is not only doing resistance training, but the meal plan that you adopt with low glycemic carbs, right quantity of essential fatty acids (EFA), and enough proteins, adding at least 40 minutes of any cardio exercise a day, which can include a circuit resistance training program instead of straight up cardio. So doing a million abdominal exercises won’t burn off the fat and give you the six-pack, it will only make it stronger which may be an advantage for the point of view of posture and your body’s biomechanics.
So if you aren’t burning fat, are you at least packing on muscle mass on your Abs so that when the fat percentage is low the blocks will be shown fully? Are you training your abdominal muscles appropriately for that? You see many training their abs every single day, should they be trained every day? In order for hypertrophy to occur of a muscle group, one should not train that body part every day in order for the muscle to grow, so why shouldn’t the six-pack, which is a smaller muscle group, be treated the same way? It was already discussed that the core is being trained when you simply just hold your stomach in to keep the correct posture or even doing so when exercising. That also occurs for the abdominal muscle, so when you are training chest or arms, you are already training your abs. So why do people train it every day?

There is also the discussion about the technique and how the abdominal muscle should be trained.  A summary (Electromyographic Study in abdominal Exercises: a literature synthesis) of scientific articles published online in 2009 by the site Pubmed didn’t really show that there are differences in abdominal muscle activation when changing hip or knee position when doing an abdominal exercise, but many studies recommend that it should be done with knees and hips bent to neutralize lumbar lordosis, or the curvature of the lower back, reduce tension in the psoas muscle (in the hip) to optimize abdominal activation, and reduce compressive forces, especially at an angle of 45º to 90º. If there is movement of the hips against the lower back, a disk injury could occur. Without hip flexion there is greater activation of psoas iliacus, a hip muscle, and other leg muscles, reducing the tension on the abs. The direction which the exercise is done works the muscle that runs in that direction, for example if you rotate to the sides, you will be concentrating the workout on your oblique muscles, but all groups are trained. What can increase the load without using free weights are changing the position of your arms or changing the plane in which you workout,

So if you are doing a million abdominal exercises a day, not getting enough cardio, not eating right, or even not treating your abs as a single muscle group in your routine, don’t expect to count on your genetics for a wash board stomach.

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