Can Running Give You Abs? Unraveling the Truth

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Cross Training For Runners
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David Dack

Does running give you abs? It’s a burning inquiry that often pops up in conversations with readers and friends alike.

Well, my friend, let’s dive into this topic and uncover the truth. Brace yourself, because I’m about to reveal the relationship between running and those elusive abs you’ve been dreaming of.

Now, here’s a life lesson that applies just as much to fitness as it does to anything else: you don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for.

Building a six-pack while incorporating running into your routine is indeed a worthy goal. But remember, it takes dedication, effort, and the right approach to achieve those chiseled abdominal muscles.

In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating connection between running and abs. By the end, you’ll have a clear answer to the burning question of whether running can truly give you abs. But that’s not all—I’ll also dive into the function of the core when running, how to strengthen your core muscles, the benefits of running for your abdominal region, and much, much more.

Consider it a comprehensive guide to unraveling the mysteries of running and abs.

Ready? Let’s go.

Does Running Give you Abs?

Well, my friend, the short answer is a resounding no. If you laced up those running shoes with dreams of attaining a ripped and chiseled six-pack like an MMA fighter, I hate to break it to you, but you’re heading in the wrong direction.

But fear not, because I’m here to shed some light on the matter and show you how running can still be a fantastic complementary activity in your quest for killer abs.

Let’s get one thing straight—running alone won’t magically sculpt your abdominal muscles into a work of art. But don’t despair just yet! With the right training approach, proper diet, and a few other essential elements, running can play a valuable role in your ab-building journey.

Allow me to explain.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the cardiovascular benefits of running. When we say cardiovascular training, we’re referring to any form of continuous exercise that gets your heart pumping for a sustained period of time. And let me tell you, running takes the crown as one of the best—if not THE best—options out there. It’s convenient, accessible, and can be done anytime and anywhere. If you can walk, you can most certainly run.

Now, here’s the interesting part. Running is a calorie-burning machine. Clocking in at approximately 100 calories per mile, it’s no wonder that many people turn to running as a means to shed those extra pounds and trim down.

As you embark on your running journey and gradually lose weight, your body composition starts to change. And voila!

You’ll begin to notice improved definition in your abs. So, while running won’t directly give you abs, it can contribute to a leaner and more defined midsection as part of an overall weight loss journey.

But hold your horses—we’re not done yet. Running not only engages your leg muscles and gets your heart pumping, but it also works your core muscles. That’s right. Your abs are put to work as you maintain stability and proper form while pounding the pavement.

However, as much as I hate to burst your bubble, running alone won’t be enough to build that awe-inspiring six-pack you desire. It’s a multifaceted process that requires attention to various factors. More on this later.

Can Running Give you Abs – The Tools You Need

If you want a sculpted core while running, buckle up because high-intensity interval runs are your golden ticket.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is like a fiery explosion of cardio activity. It’s all about giving your all for short bursts of time, ranging from 20 seconds to two minutes, followed by well-deserved recovery periods. And guess what? Research has proven that this type of training is a game-changer, especially when it comes to building muscle in the lower body.

Here’s the science behind it: HIIT ramps up the production of growth hormones that are responsible for burning fat and preserving muscle. The best part? This hormone party continues even hours after your workout, working its magic on your muscles. So you’re not only burning calories during your run but also reaping the benefits long after you’ve laced down those running shoes.

But wait, there’s more. Intervals not only torch calories and build muscle, but they also keep your metabolism revved up for hours on end. Think of it as a metabolic bonfire, keeping those calorie-burning flames dancing long after you’ve finished your workout. And we all know that a higher metabolism means more calories torched. It’s a win-win situation!

Now, let’s get practical with a simple speed workout example. Picture this: you’re at the local track, ready to unleash your inner speed demon. Try out 15 to 20 reps of 100-meter sprints, each one leaving you breathless. But remember, take those 30-second walking breaks between sprints to catch your breath and keep the momentum going. And don’t forget to kick things off with a dynamic warm-up, like a 10-minute routine that prepares your body for the speed fest that awaits.

How Often Should You Run For Abs

So, you want to know how often you should hit the pavement to sculpt those enviable abs? Well, my friend, if you’re serious about rocking a toned midsection through running, here’s the golden rule: aim for a minimum of three runs per week, each lasting between 20 to 30 minutes. But hold your horses, don’t go all out from the get-go, especially if you’re new to running or haven’t dabbled in speed work before. Take it easy and gradually build up your endurance.

Your Genetics

Brace yourself, because here’s a truth bomb: not everyone is genetically predisposed to flaunt a sparkling six-pack. It’s not a personal failing on your part; it’s just the hand your DNA dealt you. But fear not, my friend! Even if you don’t have the genetic blueprint for a six-pack, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the incredible benefits of running. After all, exercise is about more than just looking good—it’s about feeling strong, healthy, and empowered.


Repeat after me: you cannot outrun a crappy diet. No matter how fast your legs can carry you, if you’re fueling your body with junk, those abs will remain hidden beneath layers of belly fat. Running alone won’t magically melt away the consequences of a poor diet. So, sooner or later, you’ll have to bid farewell to those extra calories and make some dietary adjustments.

Listen up, here are the diet rules to live by on your quest for abs:

Eat Enough

Your body requires a certain amount of calories to function optimally, but you don’t want to overindulge and nourish excess body fat. It’s a delicate balance, but with a little discipline, it’s absolutely achievable. If your ideal body weight is 160 pounds, follow a nutrition plan that supports that weight—no more, no less.

No Junk Food

If you want to stay within your daily caloric limits, processed foods have got to go. Instead, opt for whole, natural, and unprocessed foods. Load up on colorful vegetables, lean proteins, fresh fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains. Give your body the fuel it needs to thrive.


One crucial element to consider is protein—the holy grail for muscle growth. It’s like the building blocks that your body needs to rebuild and recover after a grueling workout.

During that magical recovery window—the hour following your sweat session—protein plays a vital role in helping your body readjust to training. So, aim to consume around 1.2 to 1.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Keep in mind that protein requirements can vary based on factors like exercise intensity and duration. Overall, the harder and longer you push yourself, the more protein your body will need to sustain your efforts. High-quality protein sources include lean meat, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts, and the mighty quinoa. Your hard-working muscles will thank you for the nourishment.

Strength Training

If you want those abs to truly pop, you can’t skip out on training your core muscles with targeted exercises. It’s time to get acquainted with exercises like bridges and planks that put your core to work. Consistency is key here, my friend. Make these core-focused exercises a regular part of your routine.

Think of it as building a strong foundation for a magnificent structure—your core is the solid base that will support your sculpted abs. Just like a skilled architect, take a multifaceted approach to developing your core strength. Don’t limit yourself to running alone. Combine it with strength training exercises to achieve optimal results. Together, they’ll work harmoniously to help you reach your goals.

Does Running give you Abs – To Conclude

Alright, my fellow abs enthusiast, let’s wrap things up with some final thoughts on building those rock-solid core muscles through the power of running. Are you ready? Here’s the secret: think like a sprinter!

If you want to see your abs emerge from their hiding spot, it’s time to incorporate some speedwork into your running routine. Intervals, hill repeats, or even a playful fartlek session will do the trick. These high-intensity workouts will ignite your muscles and kickstart the fat-burning process. But hold on, my friend, that’s not all.

Remember, building killer abs is not solely about running like a speeding bullet. Your diet and cross-training workouts also play crucial roles. So, make sure to fuel your body with wholesome and nourishing foods. Say goodbye to junk and processed goodies, and say hello to fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and the good kind of fats. Feed your body the right fuel, and it will reward you with the energy and strength you need.

But wait, there’s more! Don’t limit yourself to running alone. Cross-training is your secret weapon. Incorporate strength exercises that target your core muscles into your routine. Planks, Russian twists, and other ab-strengthening exercises will take your abs to a whole new level of awesomeness.

Now, my friend, I invite you to share your thoughts and questions. Did you find these tips helpful? Are you ready to sprint your way to those enviable abs? Drop your comments below, and let’s keep the conversation going. And before you go, I want to express my gratitude for stopping by and joining me on this journey. Remember, your abs await, so let’s go out there and conquer them together!

Stay fit,

David D.

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