What To Do If Your Client Only Wants to Work on Their 6 Pack?

Yesterday, I headed to the big city (Vancouver) and did an in-service for the personal trainers that are part of the personal training department at the Arbutus Club.

The week before was a private in-service in Richmond and this week it was Vancouver.  It has been a lot of fun doing these small and personal in-services.

I just got another invitation from the City of Burnaby to share some of my tips, tricks and exercises to their group fitness instructors, weight room instructors and personal trainers.  I am looking forward to hearing what they would like me to share.

If you would like me to come out to your fitness facility to share some information on exercises and injuries, just send an email to support(at)exercisesforinjuries.com .

While I was out in Vancouver, I had done a video for you after my in-service at the Arbutus Club.  I thought I had the camera on the right setting for video recording but I guess I just took a picture of myself.

Here is the goofy photo:

I had done the video on a foot issue that one of the trainers had and what she can do about it.  I will re-do the video and get it to you next week.

Now lets get to a question that came up during the in-service.

One of the trainers asked:

What do you do when your client just wants to work on their 6 pack?


#1 – Education on 6-Pack and the Core

Start off with education on the 6-pack and the importance of the core as a whole.

I know this can be tough.  With many of our clients, it is hard to change 20 year old beliefs.  Change needs to start somewhere and you can do your best to get it moving.

Rectus abdominis (6 pack) is important for a healthy body, but equally important are all parts of the core.

Take some time to educate on what the 6 pack is, what the core is and how they work individually and together.

#2 – Muscle Balance and Imbalances

The world will not end and the client will not break if they do some 6 pack or abdominal training but we want to balance out the body by working out all parts of the core.

Focusing on one part of the core will lead to muscle imbalances which will lead to pain, injury, decreased fitness results and poor performance.

I go through things in detail, here.

#3 – Plane of Movement Core Training

When it comes to training the core, I look at training the core in three planes of movements for the healthy and fit client.

Sagittal Plane (Forward and Back Movement)

If your client wants to work 6 pack with traditional abs exercises, that is fine but I want to balance things out by working the opposite direction of the sagittal plane.

I would get them to work on the lumbar extensors (lower back).  For example, I would get them to do Superman’s and back extension exercises to neutral.

Therefore we have balanced out the sagittal plane and we have countered the forward bending (flexion) movement that has been done with the abs exercises.

Frontal Plane (Side to Side Movements)

I would follow up the sagittal plane movements with frontal plane movements (side-to-side movement).

One of the exercises that I like are side planks.

Transverse Plane (Rotation Movements)

Lastly, I would move to transverse plane movements (rotation).

One exercise that I like is moving from a side plank to a front plank.

Sum It All Up

It is always a difficult balance between providing what your client wants, preventing injury and future benefit.

If your client does the 3 sets of exercises above, they will feel their core and get a better burn than if they just did crunches.

Rick Kaselj, MS

P.S. – If you want more resources on abdominal training, core training and back injuries, here are some for you….


That is it.

Have a great day.