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You want whaaaaaat….6 pack abs?

A week doesn’t go by without the topic of abdominal training and the best way to create six pack abs.  I assume everyone must know or have a general understanding of these magical muscles but with continued questions is there really that much confusion out there?  Standing in a grocery line basically reminds me that yes, there is still so much crap out there that how does the general public not have spinning heads and eyeballs popping.  I mean that would be an amazing sight to see but I wouldn’t want to get that close!

I blame the fitness magazines and the infomercials and the online junk & the uneducated fitness “people” but I also realize that as much knowledge as you share people are still going to search out results the old school way if they cannot put the hard work and effort into the right way.  Now, what is the right way?  When you are fighting with stress, lack of sleep, schedules, fast food how can you truly be someone who can eat clean enough to start to see those magical muscles underneath that wonderful layer of fat!  And is that layer truly that bad?

I will let that question sink in for a bit.

Lets make our way back to the 6 pack abs question.  When we look at our core or trunk there are a world full of muscles and connective tissue that plays a role in preventative maintenance, strength, stability, power transfer.


The most popular muscle for the gym dude is the “crunch muscle”.  The Rectus abdominis and the so called “6 pack ab” muscle.  The function is truly to resist extension and in most individuals this means reducing an anterior tilted pelvis.  The obliques add into that anti movement pattern by resisting rotation.  Now if you think about the ability of all these muscles to do their job and stiffen the spine in a strong, neutral position can you understand how much more strength and stability you would have!  If the trunk is floating around like a bowl of jelly and cannot control movement the increased risk to the spine is magnified.  Force transfer up and down to our limbs is decreased (well there goes your slapshot!) and the aches and pains start to sneak in.  Throwing that snowball towards your neighbor’s house now becomes all arm with no core to help transfer power!

Now lets not forget the importance of the diaphragm and the role it plays in the magical core.  When your movement becomes more demanding (sports, workouts) it’s crucial to understand proper breathing patterns and how the diaphragm works with it’s neighbors (abdominal wall, pelvic floor).  If you have a lack of core control and continually flare the rib cage (chest up/extension) you are putting the diaphragm at a disadvantage and well, your training just might suck!  The position determines the results!


We also need to take into account the many other things such as the Glutes and hip function, the Thorax (rib cage area) and how all these areas link their movement together.  They are all neighbors and if one is cranky or lazy then the neighborhood goes to shit!  (Remember if it looks like shit, it’s shit!)

thoracic cage

So if you think about that layer of so called fat above those magical muscles I want you to ask yourself how do you function and perform?  Do you have pain?  Are you a weekend warrior who is able to play their sport and feel amazing the next day or are you walking around with aches and pains the following week only to return to your game of choice and repeat the cycle?  This is where the question really lies.  (Stop worrying about a tiny and I mean tiny layer of fat, there is a difference when it comes to health risk) Do you need to see rock hard abs with no true function or do you need a rock hard core in a sense of it’s amazing function and ability to do the job.  Training with some education behind it (this means good shit not bad shit….. good training!  If it looks like shit, it’s shit!)  This good training can have some amazing side effect of some nice looking abs!

We can definitely spend time on old school abdominal training.  That isn’t a bad thing!  There are benefits (not the topic of the article) what you should be searching out is what is the core and how do you train it away from traditional old school ways.  Are you learning about how to resist motion & how it transfers power?  Have you been taught how the neighbors work together?  The diaphragm, pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, hips/glutes.   If this information doesn’t seem familiar I encourage you to search out further information from a great, highly educated strength coach or trainer.  Oh, and stay away from the grocery store magazines guaranteeing rock hard abs in minutes a day!