From the Greeks and Romans to today’s society, abs have been displayed as a symbol of health, strength, and physical fitness. To cultures like the Greeks whom believed in Gods like Zeus and Poseidon having abs was almost super natural, hence why all their statues were carved with perfect six packs. Today having a six pack is still almost seen the same way, it’s not super natural by any means but still remains almost a symbol of prestige.
After watching the movie 300 did you feel like going to the gym and hitting hundreds of crunches? However no matter how many reps or how many sets you did you still couldn’t see your abs? Well here are potentially 6 major reasons why you still cannot display your hard worked abdominals.
1.-) You have too much weight/body-fat covering your abdominal wall
This shouldn’t come to anyone as surprise. If you have too much subcutaneous (found directly under the skin)bodyfat covering your abdominal area then no matter how many hours of crunches, leg raises or any other exercise you decide to do, you won’t be able to see your six pack. You can hit all the right exercises with the right reps and sets but it won’t help. You need to lower your bodyfat / weight with the right nutrition and training regimen.
2.- You need to mix up your moves
You might be in the single digits of bodyfat but if you haven’t trained your abs from different angles then you won’t have the six pack you imagined was under that hard burned bodyfat. Most people think in one dimension and only see the abs as the little hard boxes in the middle of their torso, however there are external and internal obliques, transverse abdominus and even though theoretically they aren’t your sick pack the serratus anterior which gives you midsection an even more defined look. Even though there are only three different types of body movements that effectively work directly your abs; flexion, extension and rotation, you need to mix up exercises in order to fully activate al these muscle fibers to grow and develop.
3. – You are not training heavy enough
Over the years there has been a hype that your abs need to be trained with ridiculous high amounts of reps. Some would even go up to 500 reps in a workout. If you are training your abs for an extremely high endurance sport that might work fantastically but in all reality your abs react very similarly to any other body part of your body. Would you perform 500 reps of biceps curls in one workout? Exactly. Then start training your abs with some weight so you can make them ‘pop’ more and develop them like your other muscle groups. Include diversity in your weekly workout. For instance in one workout perform all body weight exercises with rep ranges of 15-30 and then on another abdominal training day lower the rep range to 8-12 with heavier resistance on a machine or cable. Increase the difficulty as you progress.
4. – You try to crunch away the fat
Let’s be clear. You cannot lose bodyfat in specific areas of your body by training that body part more often. Bodyfat is lost overall in your body. If someone ever tells you that by performing abdominal exercises they will make you lose bodyfat in your abs then slap them in the face. Joking. Don’t, but do explain to them that this does not occur. The only way to strip the fat from your abs is by slowly and gradually burning it off from your entire body through cardio, nutrition, and weight-training. Unfortunately the abdominal fat is the last one to come off and the first one to come back which can make it discouraging for many whom are on diets to want to work for them. But remember, abs are done in the kitchen. A proper nutritional regimen will aid you many more times than spending hours in the gym trying several types of abs exercises for countless hours a week.
5. – You Workout your abs every day.
This is a touchy subject. Many fitness and physique athletes do train their abs every day at the end of their workouts. However, they’ve been building their abs for years now and because it works for them doesn’t mean it might be the best approach for you. Give your core a rest during the week as you actually do integrate your abs in many other exercises such as squats, deadlifts, military shoulder presses etc. Even though you might not be directly training them doesn’t mean they aren’t getting stimulation. Training your abs 2-3 timer per week directly allowing 2-3 days rest may potentially be the best program for you to follow. As your abs evolve you can shorten the duration of your abs workout and include them every other day.
6. – You don’t make it a lifestyle
As the introduction to the article mentioned, having a lean sculpted abdominal wall and strong core is indeed a sign of a strong and healthy body. However many go through diets to have their abs show and then once they are done with their pre-contest season or diet they start eating junk food more often, stop performing cardio, are less intense in the gym and lose their healthier eating habits. You need to make it a lifestyle to stay healthy and active so that your abs aren’t just a thing of a few weeks were you snap all your selfies for that year. Make it a habit to read articles here on bodybuilding.com to help you stay on track with a lifestyle you enjoy and will keep you healthier on the long run. By applying some of the previous concepts and combining a healthy active lifestyle you will be seeing your six pack sooner than you think!