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  • Jennifer Penney

Abdominal Spot Reduction

Is it actually possible to spot reduce your abs?

Yes! and no. Let me explain...

When it comes to seeing muscle definition in your abs, that is often dependent on body fat percentage. So, no, you can't force your body to lose only/primarily the fat surrounding your abdominals (unless you're talking about liposuction.) You can, however, change how you control your core and how you hold your body and this will change the appearance of your abs. And the good news is some of these changes can take place instantly.

Let's start with body fat. I like to use the analogy of a swimming pool. Your body is the pool and your body fat is the water in the pool. Your body (just like a pool) will have a deep end and a shallow end. When you drain the pool, obviously the deep end will be the last place to empty. Everyone has slightly different areas of their body that act as their "deep" or "shallow" end of the pool but the point is... you can't drain the deep end first.

Now let's move on to muscle and muscle definition. Picture your core (abdominal/6 pack area) like a freshly made bed. Someone has put a grape under the covers of your bed. The grape is your abdominal muscle (I'm wildly oversimplifying!) and the covers (sheets and blankets) are your body fat. There is a big, fluffy comforter on top of your bed. Will you really see the grape underneath the comforter? Probably not. Since the comforter is so fluffy, you can't tell the grape is there. But, what if you put two bunches of grapes under the covers? You'd probably start to see something, just like if you build more abdominal muscle you will see it better through the upper layer of body fat. Now, what if you left those two bunches of grapes there and also took off the fluffy comforter and just left the top sheet? Now you will see that 6 pack...

Those are the basic facts surrounding muscle definition and you probably have heard all of this before. That's why a blend of cardio, weightlifting and diet is so essential. But what happens if your body fat is already fairly low, you do tons of abdominal work but your abs still don't look great? This can often be fixed by changing the abdominal exercises that you do and targeting different abdominal muscles.

Maybe you have very defined upper abs but your lower abs pooch out? You have trouble ever feeling exercises meant to target your lower abs. Your lower abs never feel sore after doing an ab workout. Or maybe you can't seem to get rid of the tummy that came along with your babies? You feel like you still look 3-4 months pregnant especially at the end of the day or after a big meal? Or your ribs and core feel wider than they did before you had kids and/or you've gone up a bra band size and can't seem to change that.

These scenarios can all be fixed with proper exercises! This is how you can spot reduce your abdominals. No, we aren't really changing the amount of body fat you have and you may not even need to build more muscle. You just need to change the way you utilize the abdominal muscle that you already have.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I discuss the four main abdominal muscles that need to be in balance for your core to look and feel great. And, coming soon, my 6 Week Abdominal Reboot class...

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