By Andy Low
It will not be an exaggeration to state that everyone dreams of a beautiful and toned six packs.
Without fail, every health magazines will feature articles that examine how to develop a well-toned six packs. Do I hazard a guess that most of the time, the exercise regime does not work for you?
As usual, we did some digging on the truth about abdominal, AB, exercise and present here a research-based article on how to develop a toned six packs.
It will be common sense to work on reducing abdominal fat if we want to be able to see the six packs. Most articles merely focus on the type of exercises to achieve that without explicitly stating whether AB exercises can reduce AB fats.
It has been highly controversial whether AB exercises have any impact in helping to reduce abdominal fat.
A 2011 study by Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that AB exercise does not reduce AB fat. No doubt, the research is based on only six weeks observed training.
However, the results are telling; there was no significant effect of AB exercises on body weight, body fat percentage, android fat percentage, android fat, abdominal circumference, abdominal skinfold and suprailiac skinfold measurements.
The results were somewhat expected based on my personal experience. Insight-fully, what is more, important is that AB exercise significantly improved muscular endurance to a great extent thereby improving performance in individual sports like golf and reduce back pain. Therefore, the well-known fact that core or AB exercises to improve the overall body balance can be established here.
So here we go, the conclusion of the research suggests that to reduce abdominal fat, a deficit in energy expenditure and caloric intake must be attained, AB exercises alone are not enough to reduce abdominal fat and the girth of the abdomen. Therefore, even if you work hard on abdominal exercises, the dream outcome of a toned six pack will not appear, if you do not reduce your abdominal fats.
The best outcome can be achieved by a combination of aerobic and progressive resistance training. This combination has shown positive results in reducing both abdominal subcutaneous and visceral fat.
Based on the research, to develop a toned six-pack, we suggest a combination of
- Dieting, to create a deficit in our daily caloric values
- Aerobics with progressive resistance exercise, to reduce abdominal fat
- Targeted abdominal exercise for strengthening and toning up the abdominal muscles.
- Ensure the daily input of food and output in energy result in a deficit in caloric values
- Consider intermittent fasting to moderate food intake
- Develop a plan to sustain a lifestyle of consistent physical activities and drop in caloric values.
Doing the correct and effective exercises are the key to optimising the outcome. An excellent way to estimate the effectiveness of any abdominal exercise is to measure the abdominal activity by electromyography (EMG).
The following tables rank abdominal exercises in terms of activity as determined by the EMG:
Vertical leg crunch
So there you have it. To develop six packs require you to reduce abdominal fats and work on the right exercises to effectively target those AB muscles, AB exercise along simply will not be effective.
In our next article, we will discuss more on each of the exercises to provide you with greater insight in your journey to better abdominal health.
Vispute, Sachin S; Smith, John D; Lecheminant, James D; Hurley, Kimberly S (2011). “The Effect of Abdominal Exercise on Abdominal Fat”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 25 (9): 2559–64. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181fb4a46. PMID 21804427.