This Pilates Instructor Has A Compelling Reason For Not Wanting What Everyone Typically Wants
The 6-pack is the dream for many aspiring fitness professionals and those that train for them. You see them in many advertisements, movies, and TV. So why wouldn’t you want to work for the 6-pack? A pilates instructor, who is also a personal trainer and nutrition coach, has a response to those that believe a 6-pack is the fitness goal to strive for.
Check out the following article to see her reasoning and why she feels this way. You may rethink your New Year’s resolutions:
By Jennifer Dene – I’m a Pilates instructor, personal trainer, and nutrition coach, and I never want a six-pack. You might find this surprising — after all, my job is to help people feel fit and strong, so why wouldn’t I want so-called perfect abs?
Here’s why I’d rather have a strong core instead of washboard abs:
1. A six-pack is the least important abdominal muscle for spinal support.
When you do a crunch or a sit-up, the muscles that make up your six-pack (the rectus abdominis) contract to flex the spine. This same brace-like position is helpful during coughing, bowel movements, high-impact sports, and childbirth, as it helps to hold internal organs in place.
The core muscles strengthen, cushion, and stabilize the spine. They improve mobility, breathing, digestion, and postural alignment.
Training for a six-pack at the expense of overall core strengthening leads to quite serious muscular imbalances throughout the body. I’ve seen these imbalances show up as back and neck pain, hunch-back posture, or pelvic misalignment.
2. A six-pack can increase the likelihood of diastasis.
When I did my pre- and postnatal Pilates training I was surprised to hear that women with six-packs are more likely to develop a condition known as diastasis — separation of the outer abdominal muscles.
Diastasis occurs when the narrow band of connective tissue that runs between the two halves of the six-pack muscle becomes weakened and stretched.
The intense abdominal contractions required to create a six-pack cause some separation of the recti muscle over time, giving an almost literal meaning to the term “ripped abs.” An overtrained six-pack combined with a weak core can increase risk for this condition that can cause chronic low back pain, lumbar instability, digestive issues, and hernias.
3. You have to maintain a dangerously low level of body fat.
In my experience, a six-pack usually pops at about 10 to 14 percent body fat for women, and 6 to 12 percent for men. This range is hard to reach and sustain for most people, and it can also be downright unhealthy. I work with a lot of women in their 20s and 30s, including brides to be, and I tell them that dropping below 17 percent body fat may stop menstruation and increase the risk of infertility.
4. You have to prioritize your physique over almost anything else.
As an instructor, I’ve had many students who are over concerned with their appearance. In my experience the constant obsession over physique is cause for concern, and maintaining the extreme low levels of body fat required to see a six-pack can lead to eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
So I have to ask, what’s the point? If my abs are strong enough to support my back, rock out a plank, and make me feel confident in a bikini, why would I risk my health for a bit more definition?
How do you feel about 6 pack abs? Share your comments with us below.
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