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3 Secrets To Visible Abs They Won't Tell You About!
Having trained thousands of individuals from all walks of life I would say that one of the most common goals among exercisers is to develop a "visible" 6-pack. Perhaps you fall into this category as well. I know I did at one point. Let's see how you can accomplish this goal and discover 3 secrets that you need to know in order to do so.
It's first important to realize that we're not dealing with a 6-pack but instead an 8-pack. Those 2 lower abdominal muscles that most people forget to consider help make up the 8-pack or rectus abdominis muscle.
The second thing to realize is that rectus abdominis muscle is innervated by only 1 nerve. This means that from a neuromuscular perspective there is no difference between the upper and lower abs.
Think back to all those people who have told you to do leg lifts to train you lower abs and crunches to train your upper abs. Although there intentions were honest, there is simply no differentiating this 8-pack muscle. Therefore, when you do sit-ups, or crunches, or leg lifts you're training the exact same muscle - the 8-pack OR rectus abdominis - and the full length of this muscle.
However, like with any other muscle in the body, using a variety of exercises (crunches, leg lifts, plank, etc...) is helpful in order to stimulate individual muscle fibers within the full range of motion of the muscle and to maximize it's performance and strength.
When it comes to visibly seeing your 8-pack there is little use for abdominal exercises! That's right. You can do 1,000 sit-ups a day if you like but your efforts will be in vain. The reason for this is simple.
In order for you to visibly see your abdominal muscles your body fat percentage needs to be around 10% or lower. And the best way to burn fat is by using full-body movements that utilize a large amount of muscle in order to burn as many calories as possible. The more muscle involved in a movement, the more calories that are burned.
Therefore, abdominal crunches are close to useless because they're focused on such a small group of muscles that there is little metabolic effect. Performing a ton of ab work will get your abs strong but they won't be visible if they're hiding behind a layer of fat.
Full-body movements such as squat presses, lunge walks with arm raises, step-ups with biceps, and burpies are great movements that expend huge amount of calories.
Aside from full-body movements, the incorporation of high-intensity interval training is needed to rev up your metabolism and maximize your calorie burning potential.
However, when it comes to shedding body fat, the most important component is certainly your diet. It is beyond the scope of this article to go into full-out detail but simply by eating a higher percentage of living foods that alkalize your body your success will be that much closer.
Let's say that you're working hard to strengthen your abs but you still have a bit of gut that is showing. That's fine. Realize that it will take some time and hard work to get a chiseled waistline. But what if, in the meantime, you could reduce your waist size simply by using a couple of easy-to-do core strengthening exercises? That would be alright, wouldn't it?
Ok, so here's what you want to do. You want to spend time developing and strengthening your trunk stabilizers - namely your transversus abdominis (TVA) and your internal (IO) and external obliques (EO). In conjunction, these critical muscles help tighten your tummy while supporting your spine.
You can get a feel for their activation by putting on a tight pair of pants (drawing in your belly button) and slightly tensing your abs (as if you were about to get punched). This 2-step activation is known as "abdominal bracing".
The easiest way to train the TVA, IO, and EO is simply to abdominal brace whenever you can. In fact, this is how I started out way back in the day. It sounds pretty ridiculous put back in junior high school I simply began "abdominal bracing" (not knowing what it was at the time) in order to get those washboard abs. The funniest part is that I was doing it to impress a girl. Pretty silly I know but it worked.
After much conscious effort, these muscles learned how to tighten and strengthen my core naturally. So, instead of thinking about of activating these muscles, they simply acquired a natural tonicity to provide me with a tight, slim, and strong core. The same can happen for you.
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