Can You Spot-Reduce Your Abs?

One of my friends who has lost nearly 200 lbs was facebooking about how she is now going to rehab her abs, shrink her midsection and tighten her core by going through diastasis rehab with The Tummy Team like I did. Then an interesting comment popped up on her facebook comment thread about the notion of spot reducing areas of our body.

This kind of confuses me cuz I’ve been told all along that u can’t spot reduce abs.

U can build the muscles, but it takes the cardio to reduce it.

This must be one of those issues like milk, in the 90’s its bad, bad, bad

and now drink milk cuz its so good

My friend recruited me by tagging me to speak to this question, and before I knew it my fingers were flying at my keyboard. This whole diastasis rehab concept with The Tupler Technique really does fly in the face of current personal trainer’s thought about not being able to shrink just one given area. Here’s what I said.

Tracy, you are right in terms of fat. You cannot spot reduce the fat of any given area. However, you can spot-lengthen or spot-shorten a muscle group. The deepest abs are unlike any other muscle in that they don’t connect bone to bone. Your transverse abdominus (TA) wraps all the way around your body. It’s a circular, girdle-like muscle that literally holds you together. Read more on my site about how this muscle affects the flattening of our stomach … 

So you can focus on any given muscle group to make it stronger, longer, bulkier, shorter, etc. And if you only worked one bicep super hard for the next 6 weeks, that one area of that one arm would respond in form based on whatever function you are putting it through. You might even lose a teen bit of fat but not enough to notice.

The transverse abdominus, though, is quite different! It’s bonded by connective tissue that gets so incredibly injured due to desk jobs, surgery, pregnancy, and stretching-focused sports like gymnastics or baseball where the thrower has to open up their core. So diastasis rehab is basically physical therapy for you abs, pulling them together and healing a part of your body that has become poochy and deflated and bloated.

3 thoughts on “Can You Spot-Reduce Your Abs?

  1. m says:

    Muscle length is genetically pre-determined. You can’t exercise to make a muscle longer or shorter. The closest thing to making a muscle longer is when a weightlifter switches to running, Pilates or yoga, and LOSES muscle, thus appearing less “bulky” & looking “longer”.

    • bethanylearn says:

      M or Timwii (as your gravatar links me to) … so then why do we stretch? Are you familiar with actin, myosin, titin, and tetanus? Filaments of muscle shorten and lengthen. How we leave a muscle at the end of a workout has a lot to do with how that muscle “rebuilds” after a workout, does it not? Just wanting to have a knowledgeable conversation. I tend to put my blogs in laymans terms because most of my readers want simple answers. Your thoughts?

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