The development of the recently named «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 for all people who are starting or have already been training for a long time to improve their physique.
This goal is perhaps one of the most difficult to achieve, because it involves first the development of abdominal muscles and then bring the levels of body fat and fluids below the average of common people, requiring for this a rigorous and planned manipulation of food intake and training system, Aerobic / anaerobic. That is, 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 midline without much effort and within reach of everyone. Some of these products or methods will have their practical application (although a bit exaggerated, of course) others a rather questionable efficiency.
The purpose of this article is none other than to clarify everything related to «How to achieve a strong, toned, molded middle zone or six-pack». Through experience and logical and scientific arguments we will explain what works and what doesn’t work for us to achieve such a desired physical objective.
First: we must remember that to show something, we have to have it. Therefore, we must plan a training routine that includes movements for hypertrophy of the abdominal muscles. This routine must respect the basic principles of training which are; Intensity, Periodicity, Training Volume and Recovery.
Apart from the most suitable selection of movements that allow the maximum benefit of time and effort devoted to training with the least risk of injury.
Controversial topic has always been and will be the frequency of training. Some say that we should train the ABDOMINALS daily, 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 are trained directly or indirectly more often than others.
I think that regardless of the capacity of recovery 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 development or muscular hypertrophy, both locally of the abdominals themselves, as well as in general, because it would increase the «total» time of training, generating with this, greater flow of catabolic hormones, which is totally opposite to our goal.
It is also important to note that the abdominal muscles also intervene indirectly in various movements. For example: The Biceps Bar Curl, in which every time we lift the bar, we unconsciously tighten the abdominal muscles in order to give the body stability. This is a stimulus for that zone and can be considered as an indirect training for ABDOMINALS.
If we train our legs every day, what will happen? If we train our arms every day, what will happen? If we train our pectorals every day, what will happen? Will they grow? If we train our abs every day, what will happen?
The answer is very simple: Over-training.
They’ll say, «But so-and-so, when he competes, he’s training his abs every day!
I also know many who train their abs every day when they go to compete, but remember that these athletes are under the effects of doping substances that allow them to extend their recovery time and resistance to the workload. Under natural conditions things «change».
After a long time of training and once you have managed to develop an appreciable general musculature, the time comes (if you like) to uncover what has taken so much work. Notice that no matter how many abs you do daily or less frequently, with machines without machines or whatever, we still hadn’t managed to get the «chocolate bar» to show up, as well as the guy from the TV spot or the ones in the magazines. We noticed that our abdominals were harder or tighter, but we could hardly see our abs. What else is necessary to make our happy abs look good?
The answer is obvious: THE DIET.
Relatively low levels of body fat, say 12% below in the case of men and 20% in the case of women, are necessary for the abdominal muscles to be appreciated. Although it is also necessary to clarify that this also depends on the distribution of body fat of the person. That is; there are people with a not so low percentage of body fat (12% or 13% Men) with an appreciable and separated middle zone, as well as there are people with a lower percentage of body fat (for example 10%) and no such separation of muscles in the middle zone is seen as the other person. This can be due to a mainly genetic factor.
To lower body fat levels, we have a unique and intricate path; THE DIET. With some alternatives to help us in that path: CARDIOVASCULAR and SUPPLEMENTATION.
To lose fat; we have to play with three things:
Create a favorable hormonal environment for fat loss, by planning an adequate nutritional model.
Eat less (caloric restriction, since most of the population consumes more calories than necessary).
Spend more calories. (through cardiovascular training)
Supplementation plays an important (sometimes non-vital) role in the planning and monitoring of our plan as it will allow us to move forward more quickly in the process, facilitating the metabolic pathways to make diet and cardiovascular more effective.
As far as accessories are concerned, please forget about neoprene strips or any type of plastic material, such as film, to wrap the abdominal area. When we sweat, we lose mineral salts and electrolytes, which will be recovered once we drink liquids again. No one sweats fat, imagine what it would be like to walk around a gym if they did.
Sweating in a process of Body Thermoregulation, the purpose of this is to lower the body temperature once it has risen above normal levels. By sweating, a kind of watery film is created on the skin, when this evaporates the body temperature drops. If we cover up and sweat from the suit or 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 has had a stroke (cardiac / respiratory) or some kind of cardiovascular accident as a result of wearing the blessed suit.
With respect to creams, gels and surface and local application issues. Some don’t burn fat (only water) making you sweat because you are supposed to eliminate the fat, the others create an effect on the skin giving it tone, but remember that with more than 12% of body fat, whatever cream is applied, you will never see abdominals.
In conclusion: to get 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 by doing thousands of sit-ups.
I hope this serves to give you an idea of where to start and focus on achieving the ideal mid-zone, a stunning Six Pack.