Six Pack Training | London Personal Trainer | Six Pack Trainer

I have been involved in training other people for many years, and in all that time there is one question that almost every client has asked me at some time or another. How do they get that all elusive six-pack that they see on TV and in magazines. Sometimes people will say that they have been training for years and go to the gym regularly yet they still can't get the results they are aiming for. I started to think that if I had a £1 for each time someone asked me that, I would have been retired, and sitting on a beach many many years ago.

Therefore I have decided to dedicate a page of my website to exposing some of the myths around the whole ‘six-pack’ discussion.

Abdominal Muscles Explained

Abdominal muscles explained

First, lets take a look at the pictures below and the brief explanation of the function of these muscles:

LONDON PERSONAL TRAINER

LONDON PERSONAL TRAINER

The main abdominal muscles we are looking at here are:

  • Transversus abdominus – the deepest muscle layer. Its main roles are to stabilise the trunk and maintain internal abdominal pressure. It lays below the abdominal and oblique muscles, therefore it is not visible in these pictures.
  • Rectus abdominus – slung between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. This muscle has the characteristic bumps or bulges, when contracting, that are commonly called ‘the six pack’. The main function of the rectus abdominus is to move the body between the ribcage and the pelvis (bending forward).
  • External oblique muscles – these are on each side of the rectus abdominus. The external oblique muscles allow the trunk to twist, but to the opposite side of whichever external oblique is contracting. For example, the right external oblique contracts to turn the body to the left.
  • Internal oblique muscles – these flank the rectus abdominus and are located just inside the hipbones. They operate in the opposite way to the external oblique muscles. For example, twisting the trunk to the left requires the left side internal oblique and the right side external oblique to contract together.

Another muscle that is also involved in moving the trunk is the:

  • Erector Spinae – this is a deep back muscle that runs along the spine. It works together with the transversus abdominus to increase spine stability and protect against back injury or strain during movement or normal posture. Proper ‘core strengthening’ techniques, learned from a skilled health professional, can support the combined function of these muscle groups.

As you will see from the explanation above, the purpose of the abdominal muscles is not just to ‘look good on a beach’. They play a much more important role of providing support and stability for most of the upper body movements we perform in our day to day lives. Certain types of sports/activities will use these ‘core muscles’ more than most. People who practice these will tend to have well developed abdominal muscles, even if they don’t have a visible ‘six-pack’, these would include for example:

  • Dancers - due to the movements, strength holds and posture required
  • Boxers – lots of upper body twisting and moving i.e. hook and uppercuts
  • Martial Artist – similar to boxing but with the added dimension of kicks
  • Gymnast – similar to dancers but with the addition of more strength work