Can You Get Abs From Running?

How Running Contributes Towards Your Ab Goals

Women on a run taking a break

Running has remained a favored exercise choice for many years. It's an accessible way to stay fit and healthy.

Developing visible abs is something many people aspire to, but can running help you achieve your goal? There is often a lot of confusion about whether running can help with abs development.

In this article we'll discuss the science behind abs and running, its benefits and limitations, and how to effectively incorporate running and other complementary exercises into your workout routine to achieve your desired results at East Park Gym.

The Science Behind Abs and Running

Before we dive into how running can help with abs development, let's first understand the anatomy of the abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles consist of four main muscle groups:

Rectus abdominis: The central, vertical muscle responsible for the "six-pack" appearance.

External and internal obliques: Diagonal muscles on either side of the rectus abdominis, aiding in trunk rotation and lateral flexion.

Transverse abdominis: The deep muscle layer that wraps around the midsection, providing stability and support to the spine.

Cardiovascular exercise such as running is essential for overall fitness and weight loss. Running helps burn calories, improve heart health, and increase endurance. In addition to these benefits running can have a positive impact on the abdominal muscles.

Benefits of Running for Abs Development

Running can help with abs development in several ways:

1. Weight Loss

Running helps create a calorie deficit meaning you'll burn more calories than you consume. As you lose weight, you reduce the layer of fat covering your abdominal muscles, making them more visible.

Studies show that running is an effective way to reduce belly fat, which is considered the most dangerous type of fat in the body.

2. Core Strengthening

While running you engage your core muscles to maintain balance and stability which can help strengthen your abs over time.

Running activates the transverse abdominis which lies deep in the abdomen, providing stability to the spine. A stronger core can also help improve posture and reduce your risk of injury.

3. Improved Body Composition

Running can also help improve your overall muscle-to-fat ratio resulting in a leaner and more toned appearance. 

Studies show that running can help increase muscle mass if done in the correct way.

Limitations of Running for Abs Development

It's important to note that running alone may not be enough to achieve visible abs. A more diverse fitness routine is essential for the best results.

Additionally, genetics and body fat percentage play a part in determining ab visibility. Some individuals may find it more difficult than others to achieve defined abs even with an effective workout routine and proper nutrition.

Incorporating Running into Your Workout Routine for Abs Development

To effectively include running in your fitness routine for abs development, consider the following tips:

1. Frequency and Duration

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as running 5 days per week. As you become more comfortable you can increase the duration and frequency of your runs.


2. Intensity

Incorporate both steady-state running and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to maximize calorie burn and engage different muscle groups.

For instance, running uphill is an excellent way to make your workout more intense and engage your abs. HIIT training involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with periods of low-intensity exercise or rest.

This type of training can help you burn more calories in less time and improve overall fitness.

3. Proper Running Form

Maintain an upright posture and engage your core muscles while running to maximize their involvement during the exercise. Poor running form can lead to injuries and reduce the effectiveness of your workout.

For instance, leaning too far forward can put unnecessary strain on your lower back, while hunching your shoulders can lead to neck and shoulder pain.

At East Park Gym, our expert personal trainers can help you design a running program tailored to your fitness goals and needs.

Complementary Exercises for Abs Development

Incorporating targeted ab exercises into your routine is essential for achieving well-defined abs. Here are some effective ab exercises:

1. Planks

Start in a push-up position, then lower your forearms to the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels.


2. Bicycle Crunches

Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Raise your shoulders off the ground and bring your left elbow toward your right knee. Then alternate and switch sides. Repeat for 10-15 reps.

3. Leg Raises

Lie on your back with your legs extended. Lift your legs off the ground until they're perpendicular to your body, then slowly lower them back down. Repeat for 10-15 reps.

4. Russian Twists

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet resting flat on the ground. Lean back slightly and raise your feet off the floor. Twist your torso to the right and then to the left. Repeat for 10-15 reps.

Our gym studio classes at East Park Gym offer a variety of classes that can help you incorporate these exercises into your workout regime.

Importance of Nutrition in Abs Development

Proper nutrition is crucial in achieving a lean, toned physique. Here are some general guidelines for a healthy diet that supports abs development:

1. Adequate Protein Intake

Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. Aim to include lean protein sources like chicken, fish, beans, and low-fat dairy in your diet. 

2. Balanced Macronutrient Distribution

A balanced diet should include carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats in the right proportions. Studies show that a diet high in healthy fats can help reduce belly fat.


3. Whole, Unprocessed Foods

Focus on consuming nutrient-dense whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. Stay away from processed foods that contain excessive amounts of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats.

Studies show that a plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and maintain overall health.


Here at East Park Gym we offer the resources and support to help our gym members improve their nutrition, ensuring they're on the path to achieving their desired results.

In summary, running can be a beneficial component of a fitness routine aimed at developing abs. However, it's essential to combine running with targeted ab exercises, a well-rounded workout routine, and proper nutrition to achieve the best results.

Remember that every individual is different and the visibility of abs depends on factors such as genetics and body fat percentage.

Are you ready to start working on your abs and overall fitness goals? Our team are here to support you every step of the way. BOOK A FREE GYM TOUR to learn more about how we can support your journey to a healthier and fitter you. 



Frequently Asked Questions Related To: Can Running Give You Abs?

Q: Can running alone give me visible abs?
A: While running can contribute to weight loss and core strengthening, it may not be enough to achieve visible abs on its own. A well-rounded fitness routine that includes targeted ab exercises, proper nutrition, and varied cardiovascular exercises is essential for optimal results.

Q: How often should I run to see results?
A: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as running, 5 days per week. As you become more comfortable you can increase the duration and frequency of your runs.

Q: Can high-intensity interval training (HIIT) help with abs development?
A: Yes, HIIT involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. This type of training can help you burn more calories in less time.

Q: What are some effective ab exercises?
A: Effective ab exercises include planks, bicycle crunches, leg raises, and Russian twists. 

Q: How important is nutrition for abs development?
A: Proper nutrition is crucial in achieving a lean, toned physique. A diet that is high in protein, balanced in macronutrient distribution, and includes whole, unprocessed foods is essential for optimal results.

Q: Can East Park Gym help me design a workout routine for abs development?
A: Yes, our expert personal trainers can help you design a workout routine that is tailored to your fitness goals and needs.