Because the transverse abdominis (TVA) is a deep muscle that you can’t see, you might think it’s not worth training when your goal is appearance, but you’d be wrong. You may not have heard of the Adonis belt (also known as Apollo’s belt, Aphrodite’s Saddle, Hercules’ Girdles, or athlete’s girdle), but you’ve probably seen and want one. Therefore, in this article, you’ll find out what it takes to build the sexiest “muscle” there is.
Location and appearance of an Adonis belt
Way down south, just above your pubic area, are two V-shaped muscular grooves that look like they come up into your obliques. Many consider it one of the most physically attractive features on a man. Rather than being a muscle, the Adonis belt is actually a ligament (band of connective tissue), which means you can’t make it bigger. These lines, technically termed iliac furrows, are largely determined by the thickness of your TVA and internal obliques. Therefore, for aesthetic abs, your less visible TVA is important, too.
How to develop an Adonis belt?
Sculpting your very own Adonis belt requires considerable sacrifice and perseverance. Here’s what you have to do.
Lower your body fat percentage with the proper type of training
The Adonis belt is just an anatomical feature that appears when the percentage of your body fat is in the range of 6% to 15%. This will ensure that there is much less fat covering this area, and these ligaments can then be seen through your skin. The truth is you already have an Adonis belt – it’s just hiding under a layer of fat! The exact body fat percentage which enables clear visibility of an Adonis belt varies from person to person and highly depends on where you tend to store the most fat.
Maintaining a healthy body fat percentage is a complex process that involves multiple aspects of a person’s lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and recovery. Some people attempt to spot reduce fat from their abdomen with high-rep abs exercises like crunches and sit-ups. Unfortunately, this is not an effective practice, and spot reduction has been proven to be a myth.
The best type of training for fat loss involves large groups of muscles working together. This type of workout will get your heart pumping much more than localized abs exercises and will help you burn fat faster.
Good choices include running and sprinting, rope jumping, swimming, circuit training, punching a heavy bag, CrossFit-type training, and doing compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, barbell rows, bench presses, etc. So your main goal is to build all-over muscle mass and strength. Both split routines and full-body workouts are useful, so choose the approach that works best for you.
Lower your body fat percentage by changing your diet
The old saying „abs are made in the kitchen“ is very true. Or to be even more precise, abs are revealed by what you’re doing in the kitchen. And if abs are made in the kitchen, it makes sense to start here, right? You can do as many crunches and sit-ups as you want however unless you’re in a calorie deficit (this is assuming you’re not in the single-digit body fat range) you’re never going to see your abdominal muscles. You can spend 120 minutes on a treadmill, but it won’t matter if you eat lots of fast, unhealthy food afterward.
If you want to see your abdominals, you have to get rid of what’s hiding them. To do this, you must accomplish two simple dietary goals: eat enough to preserve muscle and don’t eat so much that you put on fat. Remember, we said “simple,” not “easy.”
Here are a few basic rules to follow to maintain your midsection: fill up on protein and multicolored vegetables.
A high-protein diet makes you feel full longer and helps keep your belly flat, whereas eating too many carbohydrates makes you feel bloated. Eat chicken, fish, or beef with as many vegetables as you want, the more colorful the better. Orange and yellow bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus are all good chokes to pair with a protein-rich main course—a steak, chicken breast, or tuna fillet. Between meals, stick with the protein plan. Snack on hard-boiled eggs or cheese, or make a protein smoothie with soymilk, peanut butter, and a banana.
Go easy on “dry” carbohydrates. After 4 PM, stay away from carbohydrate-heavy foods that come mostly from grains, or “dry carbs.” This means no rice, pasta, potatoes, or bread in the late afternoon or evening. These foods seem to put flab on the belly. You should still eat a big dinner every night—in addition to a big breakfast, a big lunch, and several big snacks. But when the big dinner follows rule number one—grilled tuna with a green salad, for example—you’ll wake up in the morning leaner than the day before.
Eat fiber. Fiber keeps you regular and helps your body better assimilate dietary fat.
Consume good fats. Take in approximately 60 to 100 grams of fat per day, from avocados, olive oil, unsalted nuts, and peanut butter. A huge mistake some people make: They go fat-free and feel deprived. You must give your body good fats to feel full and satisfied.
Therefore, these are 5 nutrition tips for six-pack abs:
- Eliminate sugar. The main problem with sugar is that it causes an insulin spike. Once insulin is present all fat burning comes to a halt. If you want your body to be a fat-burning machine then you have to keep blood sugar levels steady and reduce the effects of insulin. That is not to say that you have to avoid carbs altogether. A quality post-workout shake with carbs in it is a good way to replenish glycogen in the muscle and help you recover.
- Increase protein consumption. While you do need a caloric deficit to lose weight you don’t want to lose the muscle you have built. If you are lowering carb intake then you have to get those calories from somewhere else. Consuming protein in the form of lean cuts of meat is optimal.
- Eat healthy fats. No matter what you may hear, low-fat diets are ineffective. Your body needs good healthy fats.
- Eat whole unprocessed foods. This is good advice whether you want abs or not. Both from a health standpoint and from a dieting standpoint it is best to consume unprocessed foods. These foods have more nutritional value, and when you are reducing calories you need the most nutrient-dense foods you can find.
- Drinks lots of water. Hydration is important whether you are dieting or not. However, when you are dieting it can help for numerous reasons. Drinking lots of water helps you to feel full and reduces hunger cravings.
If you cover the basics on this list first you will make your ab training that much more effective, and you’ll see your abs sooner. How restrictive you have to be in regard to diet depends on many things. However, just when you might start to think it is impossible to get your six-pack there is good news. There are actually superfoods that can help speed up the fat-loss process and bring your abs out for the entire world to see.
- Whole eggs
- Grass-fed butter
- Grass-fed beef
- Wild fish
- Dark leafy greens
Strengthen your transverse abdominis and internal obliques
The transverse abdominis, located under the obliques, is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and wraps around your spine for protection and stability.
As previously mentioned, the internal obliques also form part of the Adonis belt. They are located lower near your hip and deeper, below the external obliques (farther inside you) and on top of the transversus abdominis muscles, running downwards and outwards.
Although abdominal workouts are popular among those looking to obtain a six-pack, the transverse abdominis is often overlooked. There are several effective exercises that can help you to strengthen your transverse abdominis and internal obliques. These exercises will be explained in detail in the next article.