Monica Fink | The Elusive and Coveted “6-Pack Abs”
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The Elusive and Coveted “6-Pack Abs”

Posted by Monica Fink in Fitness 06 Jun 2015

“Monica, how do I get 6-pack abs?”  Answer:  You already have them. The rectus abdominis muscle, also known as the “six pack”, is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the human abdomen. While the “six pack” is by far the most common configuration of the muscle bellies of the rectus, there exist rare anatomic variations which result in the appearance of eight (“eight pack”), ten, or asymmetrically arranged segments. Now that you understand the anatomy of a major component of our abdominal structure, you also understand that each and every one of us already has a “six pack”. What most people are lacking is a level of body fat low enough

so that this musculature is exposed. Creating a flat and defined abdominal area requires a two-part approach. Crunches, sit-ups, and other core exercises will strengthen the abdominal muscles and over time can make them thicker or more pronounced (depending on a person’s genetics). However, abdominal/core exercises will not burn the fat that overlays those muscles. Losing excess body fat is the only way to uncover your abdominal muscles…and each individual body loses excess body fat in the order that it wants to. For most people, wherever you carry the bulk of your excess body fat is where you lose it last (yes, I know it’s unfair), and for most men that’s in the belly.

 

 

 

 

Bottom line, every person has a unique level of body fat necessary to achieve in order to get those six-pack abs.

 

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Fat burning workouts are what’s needed here – and I’m not talking about cardio.  One of the most effective methods for accelerating fat loss is what I refer to as “sprint” or “burst” training.  You may also be familiar with the phrase “high intensity interval training”.  They all refer to a brief

period of ultra-intense effort followed by a longer phase of more moderate effort.  This can be achieved using many formats – high intensity weight training circuits, interval training using hills or stationary cardio equipment (i.e., treadmill, stairmill), or best of all, old-fashioned sprints.

 

Sprints are one of the most effective exercises to develop strong and muscular abs and they literally teach your body how to be an effective fat burner. 

 

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Unlike steady state aerobics, sprint training produces a metabolic ripple that leads to enhanced fat burning for days after the workout is over. Sprints and sprint-style training methods burn more calories during the actual exercise session, create a greater “after burn”, and set into motion biochemical reactions that turn on your fat burning machinery. This concept is popularly known as the metabolic afterburn effect. The intensity of sprint training releases powerful substances, including adrenaline, testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH), that may be one of the key benefits leading to fat burning for hours and even days after the workout has ended.

 

Finally, sprinting also trains the body to be a more efficient fat burner at rest and at lower intensity exercise.

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