Abs - All you need to know

One of the key desires of many people that go to the gym is the gaining of a 6 pack. I hear this all the time and it is one of the major demands of the clients that I do get. There isn’t a cut or dry response to the question “How do I get a 6 pack? “ as there as so many varying factors that are part of the process which leads to the attaining of these muscles. Some people may have a body type that isn’t as conducive to achieving a 6 pack as another. This may be an individual that has a body type of an endomorph ; these are people that are naturally more stodgy and in turn would have to go through more work to allow for the abdomen to be revealed. Other people of whom have an Ectomorph or Mesomorph type body will find it a lot easier to reveal abdominal muscle. If you do not know what category you fall into then I’d recommend you google the 3 body types that I have mentioned above and see what category you feel you fall into.

Pre Condition for Abdominal Muscle

This has probably already been mentioned a lot of times to people but it is vital that you have a body fat percentage low enough to be able to reveal abs as doing abdominal exercises exclusively can not and will not get you your 6 pack. According to NSCA-certified personal trainer and chiropractor Ryan Hosler men should be around six to 17 percent body fat, for their abs to be visible. For women, the range is 14 to 24 percent body fat (1) There are however ways to reduce body fat percentage to create an environment in your body that is best to allow for your abdominal muscles to flourish. Do however check whether it is necessary to conduct intensive cardio to reduce your weight or whether you are ready to focus on core exercises with minimal levels of cardio. Types of Training to Reduce Weight

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) - This is the common and most spoken about method to induce weight loss. HIIT is a cardio session arranged as short bursts of very hard work. The whole point of high-intensity training is to kick up the intensity of your cardio. In order to qualify as true HIIT, you’ll need to push yourself to the max during every set. That’s why they’re short—anywhere from 20 to 90 seconds, typically. It’s the opposite of going for a long run where you ration your energy in order to sustain the activity for longer (2)

I take part in these through circuits that I do at home, some examples do exist on my website such as (3) and (4).

HIRT (High Intensity Resistance Training) - This is another style of training which facilitates weight loss. High Intensity Resistance Training might be enjoying a renaissance, but it’s far from new. The fundamental principle of HIRT is using short, intense periods of resistance training (performed with a lot of effort and focus) plus enough recovery time between sessions. In a HIRT style session, you will do a series of strength exercises without rest, followed by a short recovery between blocks of work. Think circuits or giant sets, but in a more structured style. HIRT jacks up your heart rate and keeps the recovery time short, leading to superior calorie burn, muscle stimulation, and fitness adaptations (5). The key difference between HIIT and HIRT workouts is the idea that there is a deliberate focus on resistance activity. Resistance Activity is a form of exercise that improves muscular strength and endurance. During a resistance training workout, you move your limbs against resistance provided by your body weight, gravity, bands, weighted bars or dumbbells. Some exercise machines can also be used for resistance training (6)

I would recommend both styles of training to achieve fast rates of weight loss, they are both very challenging and highly effective. Dieting

A quick word on dieting. This is the most important element of weight loss. I will try and dispel a lot of the rumours surrounding weight loss in a few short words as I want to write about this in more detail in future. But it is important to remember that you need to sustain a caloric deficit and then to adjust that deficit to make sure that your body doesn’t get used to it and in turn render it useless. Don’t pay close attention to meal volume either. What you eat > How many times you eat.

Here is a link to a TDEE (10) calculator to help you find out how much you need to eat to reduce your weight levels. 1 lbs = 3500 calories ; it would be sensible to trim 500 calories from each day to help yourself lose a 1lbs a week and then adjust the deficit according to what you feel most comfortable with.


NOW lets focus on your abs. There are many different exercises you can do to allow your abs to be worked. I am a big believer in comfort and the idea that you shouldn’t feel unnecessary pain at the hands of your workout. The effectiveness of abdominal exercises, whether for aesthetic purposes or for rehabilitation should be done with a good technique of execution, so that the activity does not become inefficient or rather intensify and produce pain in the region of the spine (7). The prescription of an abdominal exercise depends on factors such as on a number of variables such as fitness level, Training goals, history of previous spinal injury, and any other specific factors to the individual. Exercises that actively flex the trunk may not be the best option for individuals with low back pain because they increase the pressure in the intervertebral disc and for individuals with osteoporosis the risk of fractures may increase (7). Exercises such as the abdominal plank leave the spine in neutral position and are used in the prevention and in the treatment of lower back related pain.

The use of Swiss balls for abdominal exercise does prove to be very useful for your abdominal training and the use of this equipment is very beneficial for your lower back also as it helps to both prevent and minimize further episodes of lower back pain (8).

Core Exercises you can do with an Exercise Ball

  • Stability Ball Crunches

  • Stability Ball Oblique Crunches

  • Stability Ball Knee Raises

  • Stability Ball Bicycle Crunches

To tie this together I do hope that you have gained an interesting and new perspective regarding your abdominal muscles. I do also hope you take this new Information on and apply it to your respective workouts

  1. https://www.popsugar.co.uk/fitness/What-Body-Fat-Percentage-Do-I-Need-See-Abs-46145914

  2. https://www.self.com/story/what-is-high-intensity-interval-training-benefits

  3. https://mmfitnessuk.wixsite.com/site/single-post/2019/04/01/Fat-Burning-and-Cardio-Circuit

  4. https://mmfitnessuk.wixsite.com/site/single-post/2019/07/12/Conditioning-Circuit

  5. https://www.technogym.com/gb/newsroom/hirt-home-gym-workouts/

  6. https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-resistance-training-3496094

  7. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316558331_Abdominal_Exercises_A_Review_Study_For_Training_Prescription

  8. https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/physical-therapy/exercise-ball-therapy-lower-back-pain-relief

  9. https://www.jospt.org/doi/pdf/10.2519/jospt.2010.3073

  10. https://tdeecalculator.net/


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