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Seeking the "6 Pak" Articles Database Articles by Writer Articles Written by ISSA Certified Personal Trainers Seeking the "6 Pak"

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Breathe, visualize and connect. These are three powerful words best used when describing proper technique to perfecting the sit-up and a well-defined midsection.

The Key Components

Practicing the art of breathing is energy in motion and to consciously be aware of the interrelationship between breath and energy is a key component to proper execution. A hard contraction at the top of every movement, and a deep exhale before the negative, puts an extra strain on the abdominal wall forcing the muscles to work harder.

Concentrating on a strict breathing pattern also forces us to focus and diminishes sloppiness, which causes momentum and reduces effectiveness. Every movement should be strict and deliberate with equal concentration on the concentric and eccentric phases of the exercise. This also makes us conscious of proper alignment with the cervical spine, head and shoulders as well as keeping the abs tight with every repetition.

Visualization is also a key factor and actually seeing an illustration depicting exaggerated musculature is highly useful to anyone who wishes to understand the importance of the mind, body connection. A common mistake is to train the upper and lower abdominals as separate muscle groups. They are in fact one muscle with quadrants separated by tendinous inscriptions. We must not neglect the serratus anterior muscles and the external obliques which make up the lateral portions of the "6-pak". Once we know exactly what these muscles look like, we can better isolate and adhere to a well-balanced mid-section, keeping the whole package looking phenomenal.

Abdominal Exercises

I recommend performing the abdominal exercises at a 30-45 º angle from the horizontal position. This range of motion diminishes hip flexor involvement and increases constant tension on the abdominals. To give my clients a feel for the proper form I will hold down their hips when they are crunching up allowing for pure isolation.

The abdominals are endurance muscles and require minimal rest between sets, and if performed properly you should feel the burn around the 12th or 15th rep. I suggest training the abs in a tri-set and avoid overtraining with sufficient recovery days.

For best results vary the exercises and add resistance for a muscle shocker. It is also extremely important to balance training with a clean diet. Eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day comprised of clean staple foods, quality protein, essential fats and low-glycemic carbohydrates is ideal. Avoid overly salty and processed foods as well as alcohol and sugary beverages.

Breathe, visualize and connect! Be in tune with your body; learn the power of mental focus. Perfect these techniques and be committed to your fitness regime. Be positive and motivated and be on your way to achieving the midsection of your dreams.

For any questions or comments regarding this article please contact Sherri at!


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