Everybody wants to have a great physique, and whether male or female the number one area of the body most people want to improve the most is their midsection. Most people however go about developing LEAN abdominals or sculpting an athletic six-pack the wrong way. I get frustrated when I see males and females I the gym working ‘HARD’ but not working ‘CORRECTLY’ to achieve their goals.
This goal drives them to perform a tremendous amount of abdominal exercises, sometimes using faulty movement patterns and sometimes to the neglect of other body parts resulting in muscle imbalance and ultimately injury and pain.
- Myth 1 : You get abs by doing abs exercises
Some people may think that it’s the ab exercises that will burn the fat that is on your stomach. But the truth is Ab exercise won’t have any direct effect on the fat that is covering them. No amount of ab exercises will directly target the fat on your stomach. It’s just not possible. Technically your abs are already there but to make them visible you need to get rid of the fat that is on top of your.
- Myth 2 : Train the abdominals daily
For some reason people have decided that abdominal muscles are different from every other muscle in the human body and they are doing abdominal exercises daily. But the muscle tissue in the abdominals is the same as the muscle tissue in the rest of your body. All muscles need to have enough time between workouts for better recovery. Training your abs everyday will only overtrain your abs and this will create muscle imbalance in your lower back and core.
- Myth 3 : Slow steady cardio will burn more belly fat
There is a common misconception that steady state cardio ( doing aerobic exercise on a cardio machine for an hour ) is good for you. It is perceived that steady state cardio helps you lose weight, helps you get lean, and makes you feel good because you work up a tremendous sweat. This is one of the biggest training myths out there.
But the truth is, with too much slow steady cardio you will suffer from decreased thyroid function , release more of the stress hormone CORTISOL and suffer more musculo-skeletal damage.
TRUTH ABOUT ABS
- Truth 1: Abs are made in the kitchen
ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN!! Eating clean and healthy is not only going to make you feel good, it is also going to help you break down the fatty tissue stored around your belly and bring out those hidden abs.
Commit 100% to a clean eating diet
Cut out all processed food
Cut Out refined sugar
Track your calories
Add more lean protein
Drink More Water
- Truth 2: Train Metabolically, Not Aerobically
The objective is to remove the layer of fat covering your abdominals. In order to do that you need to create a metabolic disturbance and you will achieve this via higher intensity anaerobic exercise, such as circuit training, sprinting, interval training and some other useful training methods .
Staying on a treadmill for one hour, just because you’re staying in the fat burning zone, isn’t going to create enough of a metabolic disturbance to impact your metabolism once you leave the gym. So the exercise routines you implement must positively impact your metabolism both during your training session (the 45-60 minutes you train) and after the session has ended (the other 23 hours in the day).
This is what we refer to The ‘After Burn Effect’. Your training must create the desired after burn effect and traditional old school low intensity anaerobic training will not cut it here.
Now if you are training 5-6 days per week, please feel free to do 1-2 sessions of low intensity type work as a means of recovery, but if you are only training 3 days per week, I suggest you stick to 3 days of high intensity metabolic type work.
- Truth 3: Strengthen your core ( not only abs )
As I mentioned earlier the objective is to remove the layer of fat covering your abdominals and to do that you have to focus on your diet and do high intensity metabolic training.
So in your workouts instead of doing crunches ( which is not good for your spine and posture) add some good core strengthen exercises. Core includes pelvic floor muscles, transverses abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques , rectus abdominis and erector spinae etc. You need strong core muscles for everyday activities too such as walking, sitting and standing properly, picking things from the floor etc.
So stop doing crunches and start doing basic core exercises like Plank, side plank and Russian twist etc to build a strong core.