10/3/16

Six Pack Abs Don't Answer The Questions

I've had a lot of people "challenge" what makes me a professional Strength Coach. Forget the Degrees, the certificates, the results with my athletes, or the experience. What about ME correlates to professionalism. And in all of these times two gold standards always come up - how much can you bench press? Do you have a six pack?

The truth is, neither of those answers truly matter. But it shows us a misconception that follows nearly every athlete that has any notion about a weight room.



For starters, the bench press is an obnoxious lift. It barely transfers to any sports play. Yet everyone loves it. You lie flat on a surface, and then you push a bar off your chest with the watchful eye of your spotter. The explosiveness is left to a small muscle group which, in sport, normally has the assistance of the rest of the body to aid in it's power. I only make people bench press whose high school coaches will make bench press * COUGH football COUGH * And of course my loyal powerlifters.

But that's not even the greatest misconception. The fact that an entire demographic of people worship the aesthetic six pack ruins true performance. I'll tell you the tale of my younger brother and I. I played football, he played basketball. We were identical and yet totally different. I have only had a six pack in desperate times of weight cutting for wrestling and powerlifting. He carried a six pack through a diet of pizza, twinkies, and soda. We were both in shape for our sports, we came from the same gene pool, we both excelled, and yet he had a six pack without dieting and I did not have one even though  I did.

Genetics is a high causation of whether or not a six pack shows. And I don't mean that if your dad had a six pack you will too. I mean whether or not your phenotype characteristics cause a lack of body fat on your abdomen. Few people are graced with this gene. And since only a few people get this blessing, the rest of us have to take in a calorie deficit to reach this and thus we sacrifice something. PERFORMANCE.

Having muscle is a very expensive thing. Having a better body composition - more muscle to body fat ratio - creates a better palate for athletics. But since muscle is expensive we have to eat enough calories to keep them. By forcing the body into a caloric deficit you are telling it that it can't afford to keep those muscles. It is up to your genetics on whether or not your abs will show through. You can cheat that system by eating less, but the system will bite back by taking some muscle with eat. Dog eat Dog world.


The answer to the question of fitness does not need to end at six pack abs. Are they nice? sure. Are they practical? Not always. I guess the point of all of that was to say forget about a six pack, and focus on getting more muscles. You can't change your parents, but you can change your gainz.



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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.