There’s no secret that there are gimmicks galore when it comes to trying to find that perfect way to get the six pack abs you desire. Some say the right diet will do it. Some say there is a magic number of sit-ups. And still others say there’s a fairy-tale pill you can take and in a week, you wake up with dreamy abs. But no. You don’t need just a fancy diet, or sit-ups, or some proprietary diet pill, but more than likely you do need some combination of food and workout changes. Like for example, working out the Transverse Abdominus muscle.
Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. However, learning what it is and what it does can greatly affect your chances of getting the six pack abs you are trying so hard to chisel out.
This muscle is behind your ab muscles. If everything you do focuses on those muscles that actually show, and nothing to support what is behind them, you might as well be wasting your time because your six pack abs will either be all for show or won’t last very long if they even show up at all. The real strength of your six pack abs lies in the strength of the Transverse Abdominus muscle behind those abs.
Transverse Abdominus Exercises
So how do you strengthen your Transverse Abdominus? There are three really great exercises I’ve found that work great for this: the Modified Plank, Scissor Kicks, and the Focused Crunch. Let’s take a look at each of them!
The Modified Plank
While this is a really tough exercise and you may have to work your way up to something like this from easier planks, you will definitely see results once you can start to pull it off. Make sure you are doing it correctly, in proper form, not only to get the best results but also to ensure no injuries.
To start, put yourself in a “pushup” position, with your toes and palms on the floor, feet hip-width apart. Lift one leg as high as you can and lower your chest until your elbows are at 90 degrees and then raise back up to complete a pushup. Lower the leg you had raised and then raise the other one to complete another pushup. Your first goal should be 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Increase your repetitions as needed to challenge yourself.
There is a reason why Scissor Kicks are a favorite exercise among drill sergeants. It helps to build up strength in the core, including the Transverse Abdominus.
To start, lay flat on your back with knees bent. Place hands under your buttocks to raise them up off the floor slightly and then raise your head. The exercise will lose effectiveness if the head is not raised. Straighten the legs out and lift one until the heel is approximately 12 inches off the ground. As that one is then lowered, raise the other one to approximately the same height. Your first goal should be 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Increase your repetitions as needed to challenge yourself.
The Focused Crunch
The Focused Crunch should not be confused with a traditional ab crunch or even a typical sit up. This type of crunch is specific to working the Transverse Abdominus muscle. It is important to use the hands as instructed to make sure you are working the correct muscle.
To start, lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat just as if you were going to do a traditional crunch. Place your hands on your abdomen just below your belly button and to the sides. Tighten your core and pull your lower abdomen down, as if toward the floor. Don’t move your pelvis, but your chest should come up slightly. As soon as you feel your muscles tighten slightly, stop. If you pull too tight, you will be tightening a different set of muscles altogether. Hold isometrically for 10 to 15 seconds. If just starting this exercise for the first time, shoot for 10 repetitions. Don’t overdo it. This is one of those exercises you won’t feel until the next day.
You shouldn’t discount the exercises that aren’t specific to working the Transverse Abdominus as not being helpful to your six pack abs cause. Both pushups and pull ups require you to tighten your core as you perform the exercise which helps to create definition in the abs. If you are working on getting rid of any fat you may have around the mid-section, you will, of course, need to lose that with cardio. But it is important to do the right kind of cardio. High intensity interval training, or HIIT, has been proven as one of the most effective forms of cardio training when exposing highly defined and chiseled six pack abs.
Eating Right Can Help as Well
Even though you may be working hard to strengthen the right muscles so you have the six pack abs you’ve always wanted, there’s more you can do to make the exercises you do effective. While following a strict type of diet may not be necessary, you can always tweak your current diet to get the most out of it.
Eating Enough Protein
Making sure you get enough protein in your diet will help you in two ways. One, it helps your body to burn off the body fat that may be hiding the six pack abs that you are trying so hard to achieve. Two, protein also helps you build the lean muscle that the Transverse Abdominus will be comprised of as it is strengthened through the exercises listed above.
Many people are led to believe that all carbs are bad carbs and will always make you fat. This is untrue. It depends on what types of carbs you are eating as well as when you are eating them. Carbs with a lot of starch in them, such as sweet potatoes or oatmeal, can help your body to sculpt those six pack abs and have the least chance of being turned into fat if you eat them immediately after a workout.
Ready to See Those Six Pack Abs?
Feeling more confident in your ability to create lean and mean six pack abs? With a little bit of hard work and a lot of self-discipline, you will have a six pack the guys and girls will be drooling over in no time at all.
What’s your favorite workout to help with abs or diet secret? Let us know in the comments below.
Proudly serving the Katy, Fulshear and Richmond Texas area, Beat Strong Fitness and Nutrition offers nutrition and group interval training classes based on high intensity interval training, or HIIT.