Oh, those abs! Six pack, some call it. Make no mistake, we all like a firm, fat-free abdomen. A flat gut, marking those little squares … It does not matter if you are a man or a woman, there are many of us who have fought to have a dreamy abdomen, unsuccessfully in most cases. If you are one of those lucky ones with an enviable abdomen, endowed with a Greek god genetics, you have my permission to stop reading this paradox, we don’t like you bien.
Jokes aside, today we have to talk about that area of the body that we all know, let’s talk in silver about ABDOMINALS.
Yes, we have all heard many things about abs, but it is mandatory to know what they are, what they are for and how to keep them in shape. Here we go.
What are abs? 🤷🏻♂️
The abdominal musculature, as its name suggests, is located in the area of the abdomen. Let’s say it includes the area from under the chest, or pectoral muscles, to the groin. It is part of what today is known as “core” ( core English), the trunk, so that we understand each other, but we should never confuse one thing with the other. The abdominals are part of the core, so it is made up of more muscle groups, such as the lower back, the so-called lumbar square. It is important that we know this concept. The core is formed by the rectus abdominis (the tablet), obliques, pelvic floor, diaphragm, multifidus, the transverse, which is responsible for protecting, as a corset, the internal organs and many others that are also responsible for stabilizing the spine. All this is VERY important, since we cannot focus on exercising the front of our body to mark the abs, we have to train the entire core, compensate all the muscles because it is not just about the aesthetics, this great muscular area balances the body, keeps us erect, having this area strengthened will make us have a firmer and more resistant structure. All the core muscles have the main function of stabilizing our body when making any movement.
Let’s know the muscles that make up the abdominals:
Mainly four groups.
Abdominal rect. On the front, those that make up the famous “tablet” or “six pack”.
External obliques. Lower external part of the abdomen, on the sides. They form the also known “V” that many also pursue.
Internal obliques. To the sides of the rectum.
Transverse. As we have said before, as a girdle or corset, in the lower internal part of the abdomen. They protect the abdominal sac, the internal organs.
Why we accumulate fat in the abdomen? 🤰🏼
Basically by genetics. This is why we accumulate fat in this area of the body. There are different somatotypes, three types of bodies for us to understand each other. These three patterns explain the tendency or predisposition to accumulate more or less fat and to develop more or less muscle:
Ectomorphs. Slim people, who do not take fat or wanting. Surely you know someone like that, who eats kilos of junk food and never gets fat. On the other hand, they also have a hard time gaining muscle. They have an accelerated metabolism, so that the assimilation of nutrients does not allow them to gain neither fat nor muscle mass.
Mesomorphs . These are the ones who envy, those touched by a divine hand at birth. Low level of body fat, slim waist and muscular torso. They find it easy to gain muscle mass but not accumulate fat.
Endomorphs . The fatties. Great bone structure and thick waist. Tendency to accumulate body fat.
Maybe you do not identify with these somatotypes, but you have to understand that it depends on the level you are at, or even be a mixture of two of them. In the case of men, who genetically tend to accumulate more abdominal fat, it may be that you have that beer belly but have a firm torso and muscular arms, which is frequently seen.
On the other hand, if you are a woman, you can see yourself with wide hips and buttocks, an area where women accumulate more fat, and thin arms. Or even with a moderate but well distributed body fat level and you don’t look “fat”.
Where I want to get is that humans accumulate more fat in areas determined by genetic predisposition. But let’s not just blame it on genetics. Also stress and poor restful sleep or lack of hours of rest have to do with fat accumulation. Not getting enough rest causes a decrease in the hormone leptin, responsible for the feeling of satiety, and increases the hormone ghrelin, responsible for weight gain. Of course, to complete the triangle, of course, food and exercise. Eating wrong and not exercising, of course, are synonyms of fat accumulation.
How can I get a flat or muscular abdomen without fat? 🙇🏻♂️
If you ask yourself this question, is it that you do not belong to two of the three somatotypes explained above, or because, due to other factors, you have excess abdominal fat. And this is where the first myth to dismantle comes. We cannot lose localized fat. This is so, or at least without surgical help. We have read and listened to it countless times as a slogan: ” Do these exercises for a flat abdomen” Doing abs like crazy to “burn” the fat from the gut does not work. The body, when performing physical activity, will consume energy, when it needs to pull the fat reserves, it will do it in a general way, not in a specific area. So, by doing sit-ups, you will be strengthening that muscular area but not burning fat. What happens with our abs is that we do not see them, but they are there, under that layer of fat that our skin has. So do sit-ups? Of course, to strengthen the muscles, but not to lose guts. For this purpose, diet, rest and exercise. What type of exercise? Well, combining cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling or skipping rope, with high-intensity HIIT-type exercises (I explain them in one of my posts) and weight-bearing routines. A body with greater muscle mass has been shown to consume more calories at rest. Don’t focus on doing only cardiovascular exercises because you will degrade muscle mass. Work your whole body, compensate for your physical work.
Be careful with creams and gels. Sorry, they don’t work. And in addition to scientific studies, I speak from my own experience. I am a little “human guinea pig”, many times I experiment with some products. It is not the most recommended, not at all, but sometimes we have all gone through a time of despair, you resort to anything, fat burners, thermal gels, thermogenic … The only thing that really works is willpower and perseverance. If you are clear about your objective, you must also be clear that what you must change is your lifestyle because miracles do not exist. So don’t have those potions, please. Don’t throw the money away.
Exercises to strengthen the core.
And I’m talking about core because we can’t focus only on the abdomen. As I explained before, the abdominals and all the muscles that make up the core are in charge of stabilizing and keeping the body erect and firm. Therefore, among the exercises to be performed, we will include exercises for the lower back, the lumbar square. Nor will we forget to work all the areas of the abdomen: oblique, straight, transverse …
It seems to me that there is no one left who does not know how to do the typical abs. I’m not saying I can, but I know 😂. You lie on your back, semi-flexed legs, hands behind your neck and come on, up the trunk. We have learned it in gym class since school, but the modern ones call it “crunch” or “sit-ups”. Fortunately, we have come a long way and today we can say that there are many more effective and above all less harmful exercises to exercise the abdominals. With the typical shrinks we excessively bend the column and we can suffer damages. In addition, these exercises subject the muscle to an unnatural movement, stressing it. The abdominal muscles are prepared to stay firm and flat, to keep the body erect, contrary to what we do with the shrinks.
Griddle. Don’t panic, it’s not about doing housework. It is an isometric exercise (with your own body weight), in which we will exercise the abdomen, in addition to many other muscle groups, in the correct posture for them. We will also avoid injuries and they are more accessible to everyone, since we can add difficulty by increasing the tension time or with loads. The starting position is face down, resting your forearms on the floor, with your elbows at shoulder height. The torso should be aligned, forming a plankfrom head to toe. We must hold the position correctly for a certain time, we will tend to destabilize and modify the position, losing its effectiveness and causing injuries. So it’s about holding the position as long as possible and resting when we can’t hold it. There are a number of variants to completely strengthen the entire area, such as the side plank.
I leave you a link for you to get to know the exercise. Remember that the most important thing is to achieve perfection in the performance of each exercise.
When we have mastered this exercise, we can use devices to work more intensely on the abdomen. It is the abdominal wheel or AB Wheel.
It costs very little and we can find it in many places, in Decathlon, of course. I have one and it is very good for working the abdomen, but for those who have just started or have not exercised in that area for a long time, I recommend starting with the normal iron, without apparatus. I also leave you a link to exercises with the abdominal wheel.
But as I mentioned before, we need a perfect, complete training. That allows us to exercise the core fully. I provide you with a video so that you can train properly.
We all have abs, to show them, you have to exercise them and remove the layer of fat that hides them.
We cannot eliminate the fat located in the abdomen, the fat is eliminated in a general way.
To lose fat, we will take care of our diet, eating a healthy diet with a caloric deficit so that the body takes energy from fat reserves.
We must work the whole trunk, the core, and not focus only on the front.
We will combine core workout routines with cardio routines, HIIT routines, and weight exercises.
Avoid reducing gels and creams that are useless.
Be scrupulous when executing the exercises to avoid injuries and correctly strengthen the core.
Getting adequate rest is very important!
And above all, willpower, perseverance, that is the basis to achieve our goal.
Much encouragement to all, do not forget to follow Foodactiva on Instagram, surely you see something that motivates you to continue.