Could the proverbial washboard midsection be the single most beneﬁcial body part to have? I think so, and many would agree. At the beach, big guns, rhinoceros quads, and giant pecs manage to only turn a few heads, but the real scene-stealer that catches the gaze of everyone is a set of chiseled abs. It’s even more true for women. While women have a genetic disadvantage when compared to a man’s ability to show the clear 8-pack development, the keys are still the same. That’s because the result of a woman developing those same 8-pack muscles is a slim and incomparably narrow belly that’s even ﬂat below the belt-line.
The fact is, if you could have only one superbly developed body-part, nearly every man and woman polled would unquestionably say they would wish for a great set of washboard abdominals. Having nice arms or legs, or nicely developed chest muscles or shoulders, is wonderful. But there’s no comparing that to the mass appeal across both genders and at every age, of having an etched set of abdominals. Apart from abs, you could have the most incredibly developed body parts and still look bad. On the contrary, washboard abs simply look spectacular on absolutely anybody no matter how poor the rest of their development might be.
Among experienced men and women that workout and have such different personal preferences in their own physiques, both sexes still covet the elusive 8-pack abdominals. It’s fascinating because these same men that wish they had great abs so often fail to see the fruits of their labor and instead tend to focus their training on big biceps, wide shoulders, and a muscular chest. Women, who also all covet a small, tight waist, may do a few more few sit-ups than the guys, but invariably will over-focus on excessive cardio training under the ﬂawed notion that this alone will sculpt their bodies. It’s a futile script you can see over and over that plagues people in every gym around the world. Yet the abdominal development I’m talking about eludes them.
Classically speaking, everyone envies the guy who takes his shirt off and reveals the proverbial “6-pack” abdominals (a reference to the similarity of a set of deﬁned abdominals to the top of a 6-pack of beer). This is actually a muscle called the rectus abdominus. The intense targeting of this region perhaps has to do with the fact that it visually occupies the center of the body. So it’s the ﬁrst thing you notice when scantily clad. Despite the targeting with sit-up after sit-up, etched 6-pack abdominals are also somewhat rare. In reality there are actually three bands of tendinous connective tissue that separates this muscle into eight (not six) distinct muscle bellies. So if you think about how rarely you see 6-pack abdominals, you may have never seen the even scarcer and monumentally freakier 8-pack abdominals. Yet this is my starting point as a goal for you. If you make it, you’ll be in the most rariﬁed of 8-pack air. If you fall just short and end up with a well carved 6-pack, you won’t likely be disappointed. If you’re coming down from a heavy body weight and higher body fat, you might ﬁnd yourself with a pleasing 4-pack. Even if you don’t see the full carve, if the plan I lay out is undertaken, you’ll at least see a signiﬁcant hourglass narrowing of the waist and a noticeable ﬂattening of the belly. But the point is to shoot hard for the 8-pack and see where you land. Introducing the Triad
Introducing the Triad
So why are 8-pack abdominals so rare? Eight pack abdominals are so rare for two primary reasons:
1) Lack of proper knowledge—Most men and women, and even the vast majority of experienced trainers simply don’t know how to properly develop all the levels of the abdominal chain. To understand how to properly activate the full length of the rectus abdominus, I feel one needs either advanced training in anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, or at least learn from someone who has the proper pre-requisite experience. Such professionals really understand the origin, insertion, and action of the muscles of the abdomen, how they relate to other areas of the body and other activities, and thus how to perfectly develop this region of the body. It’s so much more than just doing a bunch of sit-ups and leg-raises at the end of your routine and then calling it quits. Medical doctors, physical therapists, and exercise physiologists have adequate prerequisite knowledge, yet until now are seldom if ever heard from in this regard. The same holds true when it comes to proper cardiovascular training. If it were all just about spending hours on the treadmill and sweating like a farm animal, all the people that do that in the gym would look great. But one look at a row of treadmills in a gym and the sweat mongers that labor on them, reveals a legion of overweight people with good intentions yet no concept of how to do things right. It’s no different when it comes to diet either. Of course the problem here is that there is so much conﬂicting information out there that it’s next to impossible to stumble on the right eating method and/or supplement regimen. Getting the right guidance from a qualiﬁed and schooled professional will not only make it all happen for you, but do so in record time.
2) Not properly applying the key triad—If you are serious about 8-pack abdominals you can’t overlook the triad of:
(1) doing the right abdominal exercises;
(2) implementing effective eating strategies; and
(3) engaging in metabolic enhancing cardiovascular workouts. There is an absolute interrelationship between exercises to directly develop a washboard abdominal region, impactful dieting, and metabolism promoting cardiovascular work, so much so that the sum of these far exceeds any of the parts. If you just do one of these at the cost of the others, no 2) Not properly applying the key triad—If you are serious about 8-pack abdominals you can’t overlook the triad (1) doing the right abdominal exercises; (2) implementing effective eating strategies; and (3) engaging in metabolic enhancing cardiovascular workouts. There is an absolute interrelationship between exercises to directly develop a washboard abdominal region, impactful dieting, and metabolism promoting cardiovascular work, so much so that the sum of these far exceeds any of the parts. If you just do one of these at the cost of the others, no matter how well, you won’t get your 8-pack. Walk into any gym and just look around at all the minions with fat bellies trying but getting nowhere or being improperly trained by their trainer task-masters, only to see months and years go by with little sign of improvement in the belly region. Unexplainable? I think not. With no attention to the aforementioned triad, 8-pack abdominals are not in the cards. This is actually a critical triad that must all be in place for 8-pack etching to really start happening. In fact, the beauty of this triad is that, once understood thoroughly and completely implemented, it turns months of hard work into weeks and weeks into days. Vastly abbreviating the time-to-reward is a key to success because so many that try end up quitting and falling by the wayside due to frustration and displeasure with results.