Who doesn’t want to be the runner with the six-pack abs? Let’s face it, most of us want it. But remember: You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for. So can running give you abs?
The bad news is that running alone won’t build beautiful, toned stomach muscles. The good news is that coupled with some other things, running is an excellent complementary activity.
How Does Running Impact Abs?
Running is an activity that engages your core. The more that you engage your core muscles, the stronger they will get. However, that doesn’t mean you are building abs.
Some people mistakenly think you should run to build a better core. The truth actually is you should build a stronger core to be a better runner.
Focusing on Core While Running
If you set out aiming to focus on your core, you will notice some improvements with small adjustments. Think about your breathing, aiming to breathe deeply and not using short, shallow breaths.
As you fatigue, maintain proper form with particular focus to your core. Tightening up your core while running, especially while tired, is an excellent technique to keep your abs working for you.
Lastly, running can help you trim down which heightens your chances of having visible abdominal muscles, for people with that goal in mind.
Does Some Running Help More Than Others?
Some types of running absolutely will have more impact on your abdominal muscles than others. Spending some time at the track working on absolute speed, for example, is more likely to work your core. If you are working on good form and maintaining good posture, you are automatically engaging your core.
Sprint sessions, which are essentially high intensity interval training, has a positive impact on your metabolism. Higher metabolism can mean more fat burn, which can trim a person down. And the impact of that is, you guessed it, a greater chance of visible abs.
So How Do I Get Them?
First, you should do exercises that focus on the abdominal muscles. Some of the tried and true favorites are crunches, planks and bridges. Just know that in isolation, doing sit-ups and crunches until you puke yields few results. That’s right. Building a rock hard core is multifaceted. Your approach must also be!
Next, try incorporating some strength training into your workout. Sometimes muscles work areas beyond what people think. For example, did you know squats build core strength? Lunges also build your core. In fact, as you lift you should always be focusing on keeping your core muscles tight and engaged. That way, you are adding some abdominal aspects to your lifting regime.
Any core specific exercise you do that can have weight added, do so once you are ready. For example, obliques are awesome exercises to whittle away at your waist. Why not add a medicine ball and do some Russian twists?
You can also take simple movements and add dynamic aspects to them. A standard plank is a great move. However, if you want to make it more complicated you can add a shoulder tap to the plank. Focus on keeping your body properly aligned and your core tight!
Add High Intensity Interval Training
As runners, we often neglect other types of exercise. If you’re trying to build abs consider adding some cardio HIIT training. Excellent fat burners, this can help you shed that layer that is covering the abs you so badly want visible!
Many people don’t hydrate sufficiently. Did you know that increasing your water intake can lead to increased fat burning? Also, many people report less perceived hunger when they drink more water. Lastly, your body is a machine that craves water to run properly. Give it what it needs!
Abs Are Made In The Kitchen
If you want rock hard abs, you need to consider what you put on your plate and in your mouth. True, diet alone doesn’t hone us into that perfect body, but it plays a big part.
If abs are what you desire, consider some dietary changes that might facilitate your goal.
Stop eating processed food. If you think about what you put into your body, try to eat food in its most natural form. This means lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as grains as God intended them to be consumed. If you love bread, consider a high density bread made from ancient grains rather than a highly processed white bread.
Grab and go foods like chips and cookies taste great but they don’t help to achieve that body you are hoping for. The more ingredients in a food, the more likely it is that you shouldn’t put it into your body. Especially if you can’t pronounce some of the ingredients!
Refined carbs in particular are a food trap you should avoid falling into!
One of my favorite phrases is that you “can’t outrun a bad diet.” Sure, a treat now and then is a mentally healthy thing to do. After all, treats in moderation won’t sabotage fitness goals. However, if you give in to temptation over and over again, your fitness dreams will remain just that: dreams.
So, Can Running Give You Abs?
The answer is no, just running can’t give you abs. If your reason for running is because you hope to someday have the stomach of an Olympic runner, running alone won’t get you there. But before you give up on that dream, remember: it is one part of a bigger picture.
If six-pack abs are what you want, as you can see there are some steps. Start by cleaning up your eating, hydrate your body properly and add some basic core exercises. After that, get your groove on with some HIIT training, including mixing up your running. If you follow the things, you will be on your way to reaching your goal.