It’s probably the most common fitness and physique goals, having visible abs.
Almost everyone has abs on their body goals checklist. Those who don’t, probably already have a visible 6 pack and are just anxious about maintaining it.
If you are in the group that’s still trying to achieve a flat tummy and are struggling to do this, it might just be due to a few factors and strategies that are working against you or you are implementing incorrectly.
Many people do make common mistakes and a lot of these are based on popular myths and misconceptions when it comes to abs and revealing them.
The first popular misconception when it comes to revealing one’s abs is to do with reducing belly fat, and the big myth here is that targeted belly fat reduction is the way to go.
Fat loss is systemic and general throughout the body, you cannot target one specific area unless you use unnatural means such as liposuction.
The second most popular misconception is that the reason your abs are not showing is that they haven’t been growing.
While you can indeed grow your abs, having them defined and visible will always be a question of body fat.
Your abs are already pretty well-formed. They are one of, if not the hardest working muscle groups in your body because they are under almost constant tension.
That means your abs are probably in great shape, but revealing that shape is more about reducing belly fat, and reducing belly fat is all about reducing total body fat.
In this article, we’re going to look at the 5 main reasons you might be struggling to show off those washboard abs, allowing you to pinpoint problem areas in your habits or routine.
Too Much Focus On Ab Training
The number one hindrance in being able to visibly display one’s abs is usually to do with the excessive focus on just training the abs.
It seems ironic, but the more ab specific exercises you focus on, the lower your potential for actual conditioning and growing them.
That’s because abs are best trained in collaboration with other reliant muscle groups.
Abs are also just part of the core muscle group, the front part of the core. Your core has sides and a back, so if you’re just hitting the front, you are creating imbalances both in strength and growth which will affect the appearance of your abs even when body fat is lowered.
Stop focusing on situps and crunches and delve into compound movements such as squats and even pull-ups, all of which effectively target the core.
Limited Variation In Exercises
Added to the concept of excessive abcentric exercises is the limitation on the types of exercises and even methods of training you engage in.
Simply relying on the same type of lifts and movements, even the beneficial compound movements will yield less optimal results.
Your abs are designed for versatile function, so expressing their full hypertrophic potential will mean placing your body in a variety of unique conditions.
Try out some functional mobility training like pilates or primal movement.
Learn a dance style or martial art, mix your resistance training with HIIT.
There are so many ways to enjoy exercise, all of which are likely to stimulate your abs.
The last consideration when it comes to exercise for abs is that you might in fact be overtraining.
Many people can’t wrap their heads around the idea of too much exercise, but it is possible.
The consequences of overtraining can have an effect quite opposite to what you would like to expect from working out.
This is mainly because your recovery protocol is totally compromised leading to poor muscle growth and a likely accumulation of body fat.
If you are recovering slower and experience disease, chronic fatigue, and unexpected weight gain, even while training hard and eating well, it is possible that you’re just training too hard.
Chronic Metabolic Stress
Metabolic stress is necessary for the required training adaptations to take place in terms of building muscle and burning fat.
When you exercise, the momentary shock to your metabolism stimulates this, however, when that stress becomes a running thing, the health implications become unfavorable.
Chronic metabolic stress or metabolic syndrome is often caused by a combination of poor diet and a lack of excess in physical activity.
Insulin resistance can ensue, leading to the accumulation of body fat, especially around the belly, making ab visibility more of a challenge.
It is fair to note that such a condition presents more urgent concerns than the vanity of having great abs.
Visit a doctor and get the relevant tests and treatment done.
The last and maybe most discouraging factor in limited ab visibility is you’re just not genetically predisposed to it.
That isn’t to say you can never lower belly fat to a healthy level.
It simply means that not everyone has a generic six-pack configuration when it comes to their abs.
Insertion genetics play a big role in how your muscles look even in peak condition.
For some people, the stereotypical “shredded abs” look just won’t happen.
But that’s the thing, we shouldn’t really be concerned with a generic look, we should be more concerned with what it means to have a low enough body fat to reveal underlying muscle definition.
It means health, it means wellness and it means someone willing to put in the time and effort in a smart and managed way.
Having visible abs is a question of training smart more than training hard because training hard can incorrectly target the wrong aspects of abdominal development as well as cause overtraining, a situation that does anything but benefit ab visibility.
We hope that these tips offer support and insight.
Until the next one.