Of all of the “body parts” that people train in the gym, none of them are subject to more falsities than the muscles of the midsection. For the purpose of this article I will simply refer to the midsection as the “abs” although the midsection consists of more than just the abdominals.
Having been in the fitness industry as long as I have (17 years), I have seen and heard it all. Well defined abs are easily one of the most sought after body parts by both men and women and rightly so. Nothing displays a lean body quite as effectively as 6-pack abs. They are also notoriously difficult to attain…you have to get pretty lean to see them.
I can walk into any hardcore gym like Gold’s or World’s and big muscles are a dime a dozen but a 6-pack is still a rare commodity. Nothing is quite as impressive to the opposite sex as when you take off your shirt or put on a bikini and reveal 6 defined ab muscles. It’s an attention grabber and most people will automatically assume you work out if you have a 6-pack. That being said, attaining a shredded 6-pack is shrouded in more mystery and myth than perhaps any other body part.
Here a three of the top myths regarding gaining a well defined 6-pack:
MYTH #1: If you train your abs they will get leaner
FALSE! Spot reduction, for the most part, simply DOES NOT HAPPEN. In other words, if I emphasize training my arms they will not get leaner any faster. Your body burns fat from wherever it wants…it’s almost entirely dictated by your genes. If you tend to store body fat around your midsection then this is probably the last place you will lose fat.
Sorry folks…nothing you can do about this fact aside from liposuction. Simply focus on reducing your body fat by following a good diet and exercise program and eventually your midsection will get leaner.
MYTH #2: You need to train your abs with high reps
God, I really hate this myth. It simply won’t die. This myth is an extension of the whole “do low reps to build muscle and do high reps to tone muscle” crap that you still hear some trainers preaching.
First of all, muscles don’t “tone.” Tone is a made-up word that was invented by the fitness industry to sell gym memberships to women (read more about it here). Muscles only do two main things: they build or they shrink. We know now through tons of research and experience that the most effective rep range for muscle building is in the 8-15 rep range. Sometimes a little lower and sometimes a little higher. Do over 20 reps and the muscle building effects of your exercise start to produce diminishing returns.
If you want nice well-defined and conspicuous abs, you need to build them, plain and simple. If you are a beginner, start with easy basic ab exercises but progress to the heavier resistance exercises as you get stronger. Train your abs like you train your biceps or your legs and watch them take shape. Heck, I even used to fall prey to this myth and it wasn’t until I trained my abs with sufficient resistance that I really saw my 6-pack. I would get really lean but my abs just weren’t that impressive. Now I have a full 6-pack at a higher body fat percentage because I BUILT THEM.
MYTH #3: You need to train the abs more frequently than other body parts
Let me be clear: the muscles of your core are no different than any other skeletal muscle in your body. They will respond best to the same type of routine that the rest of your body responds to. That being said, this myth does have some validity. Yes, your abs will respond best to more frequency BUT SO WILL THE REST OF YOUR BODY.
I don’t understand why people haven’t applied this to the whole body. It’s how the old time pre-steroid era muscle gods trained. They discovered that short, relatively intense but FREQUENT training of the whole body produced best results and I have found this to be absolutely true for most people. 4/5 people will get stronger, build more muscle and generally get better results training the whole body 3 days a week vs doing body part splits where each body part is only trained 1 time a week.
Here’s an example: Instead of doing 12-16 sets for your biceps once a week you will most likely get better results training your biceps three days a week for 4-6 sets. Your total volume per week is the same but your frequency of training has tripled and this equals BETTER RESULTS.
The Formula For An Impressive 6-Pack
Train your abs with resistance 2-3 days a week for 8-15 reps and regulate what you eat to get leaner and it will only be a matter of time before you can see an impressive 6-pack! If you want more detailed info, check out my video on how to train your abs properly. At the end of the video I talk about my No BS 6-Pack Formula, which includes detailed workout blueprints, demo videos and a full and detailed explanation and demonstration of my patent pending anabolic triggering concept which is already taking the fitness world by storm.