Debunking The Ab Myth
Ab training has been done to death but it's time to take another look. Why? Because people are still training their abs wrong so all that ab training information must not be doing the job.
1 - No Spot Reducing - Endless crunches will not melt away the fat from your midsection. It just doesn't work that way. And despite the "burn" of high rep ab exercises, you barely burn any calories while doing those endless crunches.
Your fat burning time is best spent elsewhere on more effective training. You also don't work the ab muscle intensely enough to develop it.
So endless high rep crunches fail on both counts - poor muscle building and poor fat burning. Two thumbs down as the cliche goes.
2 - The Abs are a Muscle and should be trained as such. You don't need high reps and lots of sets to work your abs. This just leads to overtraining.
Now, abs are a more endurance oriented muscle so slightly higher reps may be more effective. However, you should keep the reps at 20 or lower and work on increasing the resistance.
Yes, you should be increasing the weights on ab exercises, just like your other exercises. The stronger your abs, the better they will look when the fat is stripped away.
Ever see a really thin guy with a flat stomach but no abs? The abs haven't been trained and aren't developed enough to stand out even when the fat is stripped away.
3 - Don't train the abs - What the heck do I mean by this? Well, your abs get a lot of indirect work from other exercises so you really won't need more than a couple of hard sets of weighted crunches to work your abs.
Your abs are a factor in exercises such as squats, deadlifts, seated or standing presses, dumbbell pullovers, pulldowns, etc. Don't believe me?
Next time you work out, do a few hard sets of standing stiff armed pulldowns on the lat machine and tell me your abs aren't sore the next day. I did them yesterday and my abs are more sore than my back today.
If you want to develop a flat stomach with your abs visible, you need to treat your abs like a muscle and train that way. And you need to strip away the fat with a proper training and nutrition program designed around total fat loss, not trying to spot reduce through endless crunches.
Is there anything out there in the fitness world suffering from more misinformation that how to get abs?
The number of ab machines constantly coming to market is mind boggling. Especially considering that they aren't needed and won't give you the results that you want.
Let's set the record straight on ab training right now and give you the real information you need so you can say no to the next infomercial ab machine and yes to actual abs.
1 - Training your abs consistently will eventually give you the flat stomach or six-pack that you want.
No. It's not gonna happen if your abs are covered by a layer of body fat and doing endless sets of ab exercises is not the way to rid yourself of that excess body fat.
2 - Train your abs everyday for best results.
Again, no. Your abs are a muscle, just like your chest, lats, arms and so on. You should train your abs just like these other muscles, with progressive resistance and high intensity - then allow them to rest and recover. Never train your abs more than 3 days a week.
3 - You need to do hundreds or reps and feel the burn to get great abs.
Yep, again the answer is no. The abs a muscle just like I mentioned above. To get six pack abs you need to strip off the fat, but you also need to build the abs to get them to really pop out.
If the muscle isn't developed, you'll just have a flat stomach but no abs. The name of the game is progressive resistance for sets of 8 - 20 reps, just like your other muscles.
4 - Train the abs with lots of sets and high reps to burn off stomach fat.
You guessed it. This is also false. Spot reduction just isn't going to happen as much as we'd all like it to. You can't burn fat on your stomach by doing endless crunches.
You need to put together a proper weight lifting program, nutrition plan, and cardio in order to rid your stomach of that stubborn layer of fat and bring yout your abs.
Gregg Gillies is a speaker, consultant, fat loss expert, trainer and author. He teaches fitness via his articles, books and courses at his web site http://www.buildleanmuscle.com . He is the author of two books: Complete information on his books, along with lots of free articles are available at his site. And while there, don't forget to sign up for his free newsletter, "Fit Physique".
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