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We want to make sure you get the best value for money possible at Reach. If you’re only in the studio a couple of times a week then we need to use that time as effectively as possible. So, we don’t do much that you could potentially do at home (if it’s a priority for you) – this includes abs!

Most people don’t have the equipment at home to do deadlifts, back squat, bench press, seated military press, pull ups, skull crushers etc, so they will be the primary focus of PT. We do put in some ab work here and there, but it it’s mainly be things that you can’t do at home (for example Dumbbell Hanging Knee Raises and weighed incline sit ups) or we might do the odd 5 min AMRAP.

We get asked about this A LOT! so here’s some information about abs and “toning up” the belly area.

1: Body Fat

We all (should) know that it doesn’t matter how many sit ups you do, your abs (we’ve all got them) will only reveal themselves if body fat levels are low enough. So, if that’s a goal for you, nutrition is where it’s at! Your body fat needs to be low enough to see your abs (and other muscles) and that comes through nutrition.

The same applies if you’re not particularly bothered about seeing your abdominal muscles and just want to reduce the amount of fat that’s on your belly. The ONLY way to achieve that is through a calorie deficit.

2: Training

Visible Ab Muscles

As we’ve already said, if you want visible abs then the first step is to reduce body fat until you can see them. If you want a “six pack” then you also need to pay attention to training them. Like any other muscle, the bigger it is, the more prominent it is. If you’re going to reduce your body fat down to levels where you can see your abs then there needs to be something there to see.

Think about old man Steptoe. He is very lean. Hardly any body fat. But he’s also got very little muscle and bloated belly because Wilfrid Bramble was an alcoholic. So, yes, he doesn’t really have a lot of belly fat, but he’s hardly got what you would call a six pack.

Reach PT: Abs

Developing Ab Muscles

In the same way that some people have big quads, big calves or especially well developed glutes, some people are genetically blessed and have a prominent six pack, naturally. If they also have low body fat levels then this may be prominent or, if not, it may be hiding underneath. But, just as you can with quads, chest, arms etc, you can develop your abs, regardless of your starting point.

Reach PT: Abs
Reach PT: Abs

Back squats, pullups and deadlifts will definitely help to develop a strong core and work your abs to some extent, but, like any muscle, they need enough stimulus in order to grow. In the same way that, although the triceps will be worked with exercises like bench press and military press, they are not the only muscle working during that movement, so the stimulus will be distributed. That’s why we need things like skull crushers, tricep extensions and French press to hit the muscle more directly.

How To Train Abs

Training abs for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a week, is probably about right for most people but, as with all training, it depends on the person and their fitness level. For some people, 100 sit ups might be a warmup. For other people it may take them a week to recover from that, so it needs to be appropriate to your ability.

The Client Resources area on the Reach website has plenty of Ab workouts that you can do at home.

Remember, though, your abs are just like any other muscle. They will soon get used to what you are doing, so if you want them to grow then progressive overload is important. Abs are probably the one muscle/s that people get wrong when training. They just do the same high-rep circuit a few times a week ad infinitum with no progression.

If you want them to develop so you can see them then you need to ensure you are progressively overloading the muscle. You can do this by:

– Increasing the resistance
– Increasing the number of reps
– Increasing the number of sets
– Increasing the number of sessions
– Decreasing the rest time
– Perfecting your form
– Improving mind-muscle connection

So, if you want to train your abs then check out the Reach Ab workouts here.