I am often asked as a trainer, "what are the best moves for a six pack?" The funny thing is that 90% of the people who ask are well over weight, and even if they had the most amazing six pack it would be heavily concealed. Everyone wants definition in their midsection and they think that they will get there by doing more crunches and sit ups, but it simply isn’t true. Obviously, we must build up a strong core by doing abdominal exercises but the definition does not come from my core routine- it comes from my eating.
When we do sit ups and planks it just burns the fat right off of your stomach right? Wrong. That is a myth that has long been debunked. Our bodies do not lose fat in the specific areas that we target, they lose body fat as a whole. “Muscle cells, however, cannot directly use triglycerides as fuel; it would be analogous to trying to run a car on crude oil. Instead, the fat must be broken down into glycerol and free fatty acids, which then enter the bloodstream. As a result, the fat broken down to be used as fuel during prolonged exercise can come from anywhere in your body, not just the part that is being worked the most.”. Men and women have different fat deposit (or places that fat accumulates) locations on their bodies. Men, for the most part, carry their excess fat on their stomach, chest area, and we can’t forget about those love handles! Most women carry fat on their hips and arms. Now this varies from person to person, but in general this is how the fat deposits are distributed. So, if we focus on eating right and letting our body use those storages then we will actually be able to see the muscle that is underneath.
The primary reason that we need to work out our core is for control and stabilization. Think about it… if I am trying to squat weight and my core isn’t strong enough to hold my midsection in the right form then I won’t be able to squat, or I will get hurt doing it. Controlling our body is of the upmost importance. There is no reason that people should be getting hurt in the gym all the time. Most of the injuries that happen are not because the person is using good form and controlling the weight, it is because they are not controlling the weight and being in a rush. Many muscle tweaks come from us not stabilizing our body so that we can control the weight. This is why your core is so important. It is in the middle of your body and there are not many moves that we do that do not involve the core stabilizing in some way. Even walking requires you to stabilize yourself. Your core is always working, this is why it is such a resilient muscle group that we can train more than once a week or so like the other muscle groups.
So core… What does that mean? I am not just talking about the rectus abdominis, or the “six pack” muscle that most people think of when they think of abs, I’m talking about all of the layers of muscle that are in your midsection. So many people think that they need to just work the front, but we MUST be training the sides and back of our midsection just as much. If you look at all the layers of muscle and the direction that they run then you will see that there is a lot of twisting and extending that needs to happen. Any time we are working out our core we must be focusing on keeping it controlled or else we could strain something or get a hernia. After all, the primary reason that we are working out our core is so that we can control the rest of our body, right? If we can control our body while working our core then controlling our body when we are doing other exercises will come naturally. But how? I have included some great core moves that I have found helpful in building a complete core that will be a great foundation for all of our lives. We must take our focus off of looks and onto getting better and stronger to build a foundation that will last a lifetime.
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Perry E. Targeted Fat Loss: Myth or Reality? Yale Scientific Magazine.
http://www.yalescientific.org/2011/04/targeted-fat-loss-myth-or-reality/. Published April 3, 2011. Accessed November 10, 2017.