Can You Get Six-Pack Abs From Running?

When it comes sculpting our mid-sections, fitness experts agree that dynamic, full-body movements combined with targeted moves like planks and abdominal holds are some of the best ways to carve that elusive six-pack.

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But can you also get abs from running?

It’s a question that that marathoners and cardio junkies have been asking for decades, but the answer isn’t as simple as you’d think.

On the one hand, professional runners all agree that a strong core is essential to running performance. In an article written for Runner’s World, John Hanc observed how members of Team Running USA would solely work out on their abs for 45 minutes in the morning as part of their running training. He also cites a Olympic marathon runner who said that a strong core helped to reduce tiredness and fatigue during running.

Meanwhile, American runners Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall also agree that a strong core is central to supporting other muscles.

But while the world’s top runners all seem to have rippling six-packs, physical therapist Toni Dauwalter explains that running is not necessarily the secret to washboard abs.

Can Running Give You Abs?

Running is an excellent cardio exercise that burns fat (including belly fat) and reduces the risks of cardiac disease and diabetes. A 20-minute sprint interval workout every day will likely help you lose belly fat, and therefore flatten your tummy and reveal those abs you have underneath.

For best results, however, you’ll want to combine cardio sessions with targeted ab training, which has the sole aim of building up the muscles in your mid-section. That way, you’ll actually have defined abs to show once you’ve shed that layer of fat around your tummy.

Of course, it goes without saying that diet is the most important factor when it comes to achieving six-pack abs.

Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

No matter what your exercise regime may be, there are two universal truths you can’t ignore when it comes to building your abs: 1) You can’t spot reduce fat and 2) You can’t out-train a bad diet.

“Asking your body to lose fat in one area is like trying to remove a cup of water from one corner of a filled bathtub,” says personal trainer Lecia Whitlock. “The overall water level will go down, but there won’t be a divot in one corner of the tub.”

The good news? Achieving a toned tummy is easier than you think. The key is to clean up your diet and shed fat all over (including around your mid-section) to reveal your abs beneath.

Of course, regular cardio and strength conditioning are important if you want to achieve that super-cut look, but diet is a deal breaker. If your diet isn’t clean, then your abs will never show.