After 1000′s of crunches and seven brutally intense ab workouts per week, you’d think it would all add up to that one coveted, magic number — 6.
As in six pack, abs.
It’s a sad, sad sight when someone puts in a TON of effort to sculpt a rock-solid, well-defined six pack, yet the results are nowhere to be found. It can be unbelievably discouraging. What’s an innocent, ab-happy person supposed to do?
One of the most redeeming things about fitness in general is that there’s typically a direct correlation between time, effort, and results. It’s a simple equation — if you do cardio 45 minutes per day, 6 days per week you will lose a lot of weight. Given that you do the right exercises, if you follow a comprehensive chest routine and increase the amount you bench over successive workouts your chest will grow. It’s just the way exercise and training works.
Looking at fitness holistically, for most people ab development is MUCH more difficult. I suppose that’s why you don’t see six packs populating the earth.
Getting a phenomenal set of abs requires smart training, a very healthy diet, and minimal equipment…not ab workouts 7 days per week, ridiculous ab machines, or crunch, after crunch, after crunch.
If you’re used to asking “how can I get a six pack?” you’re in luck – below are the top 5 reasons why your abs AREN’T growing.
The Top 5 Reasons Why Your Abs Aren’t Growing
1. You Can’t See Them.
This might seem brutally obvious, but the most important part of a nice set of abs is being able to see them.
I don’t care if you can do my ULTIMATE Six Pack Abs Workout 18 times over — if your body fat % isn’t low enough no one will be able to see what you’re packing underneath. For men, your body fat should be sub-10%; for women it should be sub-18%.
If you want to get your body fat down to 6-pack levels, make sure to incorporate a solid dose of high intensity cardio and adopt a healthy diet.
2. You Try to Crunch Away the Fat.
There’s NO such thing as spot reduction.
I’m ending this dumb idea forever. You can’t crunch off the fat covering the lower section of your abs — nothing about our physiology supports this misconception.
The only way to strip the fat from your abs is by gradually burning it off from your entire body through cardio, diet, and weight-training. Unfortunately, the fat covering the abs is usually the last to go and the first to come back, which makes getting/keeping abs all the more difficult.
Stay persistent with a healthy diet, weight-training, and cardio regimen and you’ll be able to maintain low body fat permanently. Abs require a lifestyle shift — not a quick fix.
3. You Work Your Abs Every Day.
Give it a rest — STOP training your abs every day, or even every other day.
Like the biceps, chest, shoulders, legs, etc., muscles need time to rest, recover, and rebuild in order to grow. Would you do biceps curls, bench press, or squat 7x per week to build bulging biceps, a hulking chest, or massive thighs? Never.
I recommend doing abs once every 3 days — about twice per week. Not only will this allow your abs to actually recover and grow, but it’ll free up time to focus on more effective things (aka cardio and weight-lifting).
Think of the transverse abdominus as a belt that runs around the waist and sucks everything in tight. Exercises like the plank can help build up the transverse and make the entire torso more compact. The obliques run diagonally along the side of the torso into the pelvis, which forms the “v-cut” everyone craves so much. These oblique exercises can help with that.
The key — diversify, diversify, diversify! Incorporating bicycle crunches, captain chairs, and a variety of other ab exercises into routine can help build all parts of the core region, beyond just the rectus.
Besides, change is key to prevent plateaus. Change the ab exercises you do every 2 weeks.
5. You Don’t Increase the Difficulty.
This is huge. The abs won’t grow at all unless you force them to.
Muscles grow based on the principle of progressive resistance, which means that you need to increase the weight lifted, the amount of resistance, or the difficulty of the exercise if you want to see any results whatsoever.
If you want to get huge legs you need to gradually increase the amount of weight squated; ab development works the same way. Instead of simply doing more reps of a basic exercise (ab exercises should stay between 12-20 reps per set), do it with a heavier dumbbell/weight plate/medicine ball or choose a more advanced exercise.
For example, try crunches with a dumbbell on your chest or sit-ups at a declined angle. Adding a weight or more difficult angle can help make basic exercises significantly more difficult and kickstart brand new abdominal growth.
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