This is definitely one of the most common topics in the fitness industry. The elusive six pack abs. Most guys would give anything to reach this point. Most women do not want bulging abs in this form, but they still want to have a toned, slim stomach, and the concepts for creating both are the same.
Athletes should take note here as this is of vital importance for superior athletic performance, no matter what the sport.
First of all, it is important for you to understand that your 'six pack' is actually an 'eight pack'. Ideally, your goal should be an eight pack. Your actual eight pack is actually just one muscle (rectus abdominus), not two or multiple muscles as many people think. The six (actually eight) highly thought after bumps are all a part of the one muscle poking through a grid of tendons that run down the middle and across the muscle at given intervals.
So why are your abs so important? Remember, your abs and core is your body's power center. All source of movement comes from your core in some form. Your core also keeps all of your organs held firmly in place. Without a tight stomach, you will never be able to transfer power from the point of leakage where the feet meet the ground, through the pelvis through to the upper body. Everything starts from the core.
I'm not going to go into any actual workouts to help you with your abs, but I will go over the concepts and information that is absolutely critical to know in gaining your sexy back.
When you think of ab exercises, what is the first thing that you think of? Sit ups and crunches. I'm about to tell you a secret: They do not work. Yep, I said it, sit ups will not help you get a flatter stomach. Why? Because the muscle fibers are the wrong direction! Do not believe me? Lay down on the floor and place your hand on your stomach. Then do the typical sit up or crunch and feel what happens. Your stomach naturally bulges outwards. What most people are looking for is a reduction in girth of their waistline. Sit ups will not help you with that.
In order to get a tight stomach, you have to work your transversus. Your transversus is a thin sheet of muscle that connects to your eight pack and runs around the sides of your body. Along with your internal and external obliques (also along the sides of your torso) these are the main muscles that you need to work in order to get that tight gut that you are looking for.
In other words, exercises that target your sides are ideal in that respect. Once you strengthen your sides as well as add some rectus abdominus strength, your original six pack should be showing. This will most likely also require a drop in total body fat in order to get the really nice definition that you want.
I said that once you do this that your six pack should be showing. But wait a second. Earlier I said that you should really be shooting for an eight pack, not six pack. For most people, getting the six pack is the easy part (relatively). What evades even most of the largest gym rats and fitness buffets are the lower abs. To turn your six pack into an eight pack you must get the lower abs to show.
Many think that the reason they are not getting the lower abs to show is because they are not doing the right exercises. While this is true to an extent, the main reason is simply because of excess fat and possibly even digestive problems. The lower abs is one of the first places people store excess fat, and as such getting them to show requires a very low body fat percentage. This is why even people who have a solid six pack of abs still can not show the final part to officially convert it into an eight pack.
So that right there are the basics of what you need to know about abs in a nutshell. Now take action and get those abs back!