The development of the recently called “Six Pack”, that is to say, a remarkable middle zone in separation and density of the abdominal muscles is one of the most sought after goals by all the people who start or who have been training for a long time to improve their physique.
This goal is perhaps one of the most difficult to achieve, because this involves first the development of the abdominal muscles and later bringing the levels of body fat and fluids below the average of the common people, needing for this a rigorous and planned manipulation of food intake and training system, Aerobic / anaerobic. In other words, it is not done overnight and requires planning, perseverance and effort. Through the media we are bombarded daily with methods, devices, pills, accessories, injections, etc. that promise the achievement of the desired middle zone without much effort and within everyone’s reach. Some of these products or methods will have their practical application (although a bit exaggerated, of course) others a quite questionable efficiency. The object of this article is none other than to clarify everything related to “How to achieve a mid zone or molded six pack, strong and toned ”. Through experience and logical and scientific arguments we will explain what is useful to us and what is not useful to achieve such a desired physical objective.
First: remember that to show something, we have to have it. Therefore, we must plan a training routine that includes movements for the hypertrophy of the abdominal muscles. This routine must respect the basic principles of training that are; Intensity, Periodicity, Volume of training and Recovery.
Apart from the most suitable selection of movements that allow the maximum benefit of the time and effort dedicated to training with the least risk of injury.
A controversial issue has always been and will be the frequency of training. Some say that you have to train your ABDOMINALS on a daily basis, others are in favor of a lower frequency, but what we all agree on is that these muscles can be trained more frequently than the other muscle groups. And in fact they train directly or indirectly more often than others.
I think that regardless of the recovery capacity and resistance to work that they have, we must always take into account that hypertrophy occurs at rest if we train them daily we will be breaking with the recovery period and therefore creating a forced error in the process of muscle development or hypertrophy, both at the local level of the abdominals themselves, and at a general level, because this would increase the “total” time of training, thereby generating a greater flow of catabolic hormones, which is totally opposite to our objetive.
It is also important to note that the abdominal muscles are also indirectly involved in various movements. For example: The Barbell Curl for the Biceps, in which every time we lift the bar, unconsciously, tension is placed on the abdominal muscles in order to give stability to the body. This is a stimulus for this area and can be considered as an indirect training for ABDOMINALS. If we train legs every day, what happens? If we train our arms every day, what will happen? If we train our pecs every day, what will happen? Will they grow? If we train abs every day, what will happen?
The answer is very simple: Overtraining.
They will tell me: “But so and so when he competes he trains abs every day !!”
I also know many who train them daily when they go to compete, but remember that these athletes are under the effects of doping substances that allow them to expand their s
u recovery time and resistance to workload. Under natural conditions things “change”. After a long time training and once an appreciable general musculature has been developed, it is time (if you want) to uncover what cost so much work. Notice that no matter how many sit-ups that are done daily or less frequently, with devices without devices or whatever, we still had not managed to get the “chocolate bar” to be seen as well as the type of the TV spot or the magazines. We noticed that the abdomen was harder or more tense but the abs were barely visible.What else is necessary to do so that the happy abs are marked?
The answer is obvious: THE DIET.
In order for the abdominal muscles to be appreciated, relatively low body fat levels are necessary, let’s say 12% down in the case of men and 20% in the case of women. Although it is also necessary to clarify that this also depends on the distribution of the person’s body fat. That is to say; there are people with a not so low percentage of body fat (12 or 13% Men) with an appreciable and separate middle zone, as well as there are people with a lower percentage of body fat (for example 10%) and they are not seen such muscular separation in the middle zone as the other person. That may be due to a genetic factor mainly.
To lower body fat levels, we have a unique and intricate path; THE DIET. With some alternatives to help us on that path: CARDIOVASCULAR and Supplementation.
To lose fat; You have to play with three things: 1. Create a hormonal environment favorable for fat loss, by planning a model
2. Eat less. (Caloric Restriction, since the majority of the population consumes more calories than necessary)
3. Spend more calories. (through Cardiovascular training) Supplementation plays an important (sometimes not vital) role in planning and monitoring our plan since it will allow us to move faster in the process, facilitating metabolic pathways so that diet and Cardiovascular are more effective.
Regarding accessories, please forget about Neoprene girdles or any type of plastic material, such as film, to wrap the abdominal area.
Let’s apply the logic please: the fat does not come out properly through the pores. When we sweat we lose mineral salts and electrolytes, which will be recovered once we return to ingesting fluids. Nobody sweats fat, imagine what it would be like to walk through a gym if it were like that …
Sweating in a process of Body Thermoregulation, the object of this is to lower the body temperature once it has risen above normal levels. When you sweat, a kind of watery film is created on the skin, when it evaporates the body temperature drops. If we cover up and sweat from the suit or the Neoprene girdle, we will not allow the sweat to evaporate and the body temperature will remain compromised until the person decides to remove the suit. More than one of them has had an arrest (cardiac / respiratory) or has had some type of Cardiovascular accident as a result of the use of the blessed suit, with regard to creams, gels and superficial and local application issues. Some do not burn fat (only water) making you sweat because supposedly you are going to eliminate fat, others create an effect on the skin giving tone, but remember that with more than 12% body fat, apply the cream that is applied, never they will look abs.
In conclusion: to be able to see your abs you need to strengthen them and above all eliminate the fat that covers them. This fat is eliminated with cardiovascular and diet, not doing thousands of sit-ups.
I hope this serves to give an idea of where to start and focus to achieve the ideal mid-zone, an impressive Six Pack.
Diego Gallardo Personal Trainer & Advanced Specialist Nutrition IFBB