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The ab factor:

30 September 2009 3 Comments

absDo you have a problem revealing your rock-hard chiselled abs to the public?

Yes? Why so?

Oh, they aren’t “ready” yet?

Let’s be honest for a moment. They never are ready. You’ve been saying for years, “Just another week, that’s all I need,” or “I just don’t have good abs.” These may be causes of your problem, but perhaps you haven’t considered the following factors:

1. The Genetics Factor

Regardless of what you’ve been told or what you’ve read, genetics is a major factor. It’s not a limiting factor in your ability to attain six-pack abs, but it’s a key factor nonetheless. The shape of your abdominals is decided at birth, so deal with it. I know guys that have twelve percent body fat and still have ripped abs, and guys at seven percent that are still struggling to reveal the bottom of their abs. You cannot change the shape of your abs or make the cuts between your abs deeper using abdominal exercises.

I’ve seen guys doing crunches with the smallest range of motion conceivable in a vain effort to deepen the gaps between their abs. You can’t non-surgically change the shape or orientation of your muscle. Concentration crunches-or whatever you want to call them-are futile, and a nonsensical way to try to develop a deeper cut. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the only way you’re going to deepen your cuts is to fix your diet and lose some bodyfat. Period. This introduces us to the bodyfat factor.

2. The Bodyfat Factor

Next to genetics, this is the most important factor of them all. You MUST lower your bodyfat in order for your abs to show up. You can do all the abdominal work in the world, and even the right type and amount of weight training, but if you don’t reduce bodyfat, you’ll never see your abs and your dreams of having a six-pack will have to be put on hold.

Some people will be able to see their abs start to appear at around ten to eleven percent bodyfat, whereas most will need to be down around seven or eight percent to see signs of their six-pack coming through. This has a lot to do with genetics, and it’s out of your control.

To attain a true six-pack, where your abs are really popping, you’ll have to drop down to six percent bodyfat or less, and that can only be achieved by using an effective resistance training program, metabolic-type work like intervals and circuit training and, most importantly, nutrition. It’s been said before-but let’s say it again-that your abs are made in the kitchen, so get your kitchen in order and start eating clean to get, and keep, those abs lean! That transitions us nicely into the nutrition factor.

3. The Nutrition Factor

Your abs, along with the rest of your physique development, originate in the kitchen. You can’t overcome poor nutrition with training. I know you’ve heard it before, but you’ll still have that cheeseburger and tell yourself you’ll train it off later in the gym. It doesn’t work like that, trust me. You shouldn’t be training to battle poor nutrition. If you do, you’ll be chasing your tail for years. You need to address your current goals: revealing those abdominal muscles, not training hard to stay the same and maintain your current physique. That’s essentially what you’re doing!

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

When it comes to nutrition, you have to “eat clean,” so do it! You know this already, but you’ll have that chocolate bar and make your next training session about compensation, and not about advancing to the next level of leanness. If you want to get your abs lean and develop a six-pack you can be proud of, you need to be strong and resist eating crap!

Supplementing with high quality fish oil has actually been shown to assist with bodyfat loss, especially in the abdominal region. This wonderful supplement has shown exciting results that are about as close to non-surgical spot reduction as you’re going to get!

Keeping yourself hydrated is essential when you want to show off that chiselled six-pack. I know you think water has nothing to do with your abs, but there are a number of reasons I’ve mentioned water here. If you’re dehydrated, your body will retain water. Your body stores water in the only available storage space under your skin. This stored water will actually look like excess fat.

Drinking water will keep you occupied, help you satisfy cravings and actually speed up your metabolic rate. All of these factors are minor, but they add up and contribute to revealing your abdominal muscles.

4. The Exercise Factor

You may be surprised to see exercise or training so far down the list of factors. It’s an obvious factor in your abdominal development, but not the biggest. The primary training mistake people make when trying to develop six-pack abs happens when they’re performing ineffective programs and exercises.

When it comes to exercising or training for the attainment of six-pack abdominals, you need to train using big compound lifts, unilateral exercises, bodyweight exercises, sprint training and metabolic-type work, and you need to incorporate some highly effective abdominal exercises.

The focus needs to be on resistance training, and it must be resistance training for the entire body, making sure you target the body’s metabolic hot spots (your back, chest and lower body). We’re looking to stimulate your metabolism and create an afterburn effect that burns fat after the workout as well as during.

5. The Cardio Factor

Cardio is always going to be a key factor in your quest to achieve lean six-pack abdominals. I have a problem here, too. Too often, people engage in the wrong modes of cardio. They perform routines that are time consuming and damaging to the metabolism, and they burn off precious muscle in the process!

Low intensity cardio training has its time and place. Go for a stroll or walk the dog. Do not go to a gym and creep your way through a “cardio” session. You’re there to train, so do it. Introduce intervals into your training routine, rev up your metabolism, and start burning some real fat.

In order to accelerate fat loss, you need to engage in high intensity cardio routines and start thinking about intensity when it comes to your cardio routines, not duration.

6.The Crunch Factor

This is listed last because crunches and all other “direct” abdominal exercises are the least important piece of the puzzle for achieving a lean set of abs. The biggest mistake most people make when training to achieve ripped abdominals is zoning in on them exclusively.

On the surface, it appears to make sense. Your abs flex your spine, so flexion becomes the primary exercise mode for developing abs. This is the “crunch.” Your biceps can rotate your forearm, but that doesn’t mean you’ll develop massive biceps if you stand there twisting your arms. This also holds true for the abdominals.

These factors are an essential blueprint for you to follow if you’re serious about revealing your abs once and for all. If you follow the principles outlined above, your six-pack is guaranteed.


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