Fitness Magazine

How to Get a Six Pack (without Ever Doing a Sit-up)

By Girlontheriver @girlontheriver
I’m very excited to give you the first ever guest post at Girl on the River. It comes from personal trainer Chris Spring who got in touch when I was fretting about losing my abs during my injury time. I had complained that I couldn’t do sit-ups as they hurt my shoulder (interestingly, my shoulder “went” in the middle of a particularly explosive sit-up, so my favourite ab exercise was now strictly off limits). Hold on a minute, said Chris. Sit-ups are not the path to the truth and enlightenment. Here’s what Chris has to say about how to get a six pack without ever doing a sit-up. How to get a six pack (without ever doing a sit-up)

Could this be you?

“In less than 2 weeks the third AbChallenge is set to commence. The AbChallenge started in August, my brother was set to go to Vegas and had 4 weeks left to reach his goal of getting abs.

So, being a Personal Trainer and the awesome brother I am, I wanted to provide him with some added motivation to reach his goal (and for me to reach mine), so I challenged him. We had 4 weeks to get the most defined abs.We took our before photos and dedicated 4 weeks to working our nuts off to get the results.After 4 weeks we both achieved pretty decent results and had visible abs, and we managed to get these without doing a single sit-up.Sit-ups aren’t the answer!A common myth is that to get a six pack you have to perform millions upon millions of sit-ups, but that’s not true.Firstly, let’s get one thing clear: we all have abs. We are all born with these muscles, they are no different to any other muscle. The problem most people have at getting them visible is due to the layer of fat that covers them.So to get your abs on show, you have to remove the fat first. To make them more visible once the fat has been removed, you have to work them to get them more defined.This is obviously achieved by working the muscle directly.Many believe that by doing a sit-up they are actively targeting the fat on their stomach and that the fat is going to go (not true, you can’t spot target fat loss) and that the sit-up is a great exercise for building abdominal strength.A sit-up will of course work the abs, but the exercise targets your hip flexors to a greater extent. There are many more exercises out there that will target your abs more directly.The main feature of your Core muscles (Abs, Erector Spinae, Obliques etc) is to keep your spine in an upright position, not to provide flexion. So if your muscles are designed to keep you upright, working your muscles in that position is likely to target and isolate them more.What’s better than a sit-up?Compound (more than one muscle being worked) exercises like the Overhead Squat or the standing Overhead Press provides immense pressure on your Core muscles to stabilize your body and stop it from fulling over (the Core main job).If you are looking to target your abs directly, through isolation (single muscle) exercises, the Plank is a great example of a core isolation movement that targets your abs in their natural position. The exercise is performed isometrically (without movement), but yet it provides a great burn and really gets your Core muscles working to keep you in the position.As I mentioned, the sit-up does work your abdominals in that flex motion, but the exercise is often performed incorrectly and can be pretty unsafe and cause lower back pain.So if we take the flex movement of the sit-up, but slightly change the way it is achieved, we can still target the abs muscles the sit-up targets but do it even more effectively.The hanging leg raise (hang from a bar and raise your legs up by flexing the abs) is safer to perform and will work your Core harder. Firstly you have to stop your body from swinging all over the place (this is achieved by the core) and then you have to flex the abs.The Russian Twist will target the Obliques and the Abs by working the body at a different angle and motion compared to a sit up or the hanging leg raise.It’s important to target all your Core muscles by performing a varied amount of Core exercises that targets the individual muscles and not just focusing on performing millions of sit-ups.”So there you have it. You too can have a six pack and you never need to do sit-ups ever again (hurrah). And I have absolutely no excuse to let my midriff flesh out into an unsightly muffin top. Now if Chris could just tell me how to resist the mulled wine and mince pies…

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