Achieving a well-sculpted midsection is high on most people’s fitness wish lists, yet getting there is a long and exhausting road. The last thing you need while trying to carve out that elusive six-pack is misleading advice and nonsense passed off as accurate information.
Here, we’ve debunked the 6 most common ab myths that are still widely believed.
1. Planks are more effective than crunches (or vice versa)
Long ago, crunches were once considered to be the pinnacle of ab exercises. Soon after, however, the crunch was de-throned by planking, with everyone from personal trainers to fitness gurus touting the benefit of planks over sit-ups. As it turns out, crunches can be just as effective as planks and vice versa. It’s not so much which exercise you are doing, but the intensity and frequency of your ab workouts, as well as ensuring that you’re targeting various parts of the midsection through different types of dynamic movements and variation.
2. A good workout can offset a bad diet.
If only this held true, we could all hit the track for a few miles a day, and shamelessly pound bags of Cheetos and boxes of fresh glazed donuts to our heart’s content. Unfortunately, that’s just not how our bodies work. Abs, for the most part, are made in the kitchen. You won’t be able to show off your chiseled six-pack if it’s covered in a layer of fat, and no amount of exercise can out-train a bad diet.
3. You can eliminate belly fat with certain foods.
Ah, if only! The reality is, while there’s no such thing as foods that can directly target and pick off unwanted belly fat, a good conscious healthy diet will gradually help you shed excess weight. As effect, you’ll be able to see much more of those long sought after washboard abdominal muscles.
4. Six-pack abs can be achieved with crunches alone.
While crunches are famously effective at engaging your abs, they’re only really working your rectus abdominus, and of course six pack-abs don’t solely consist of the rectus abdominus. So, by all means continue with a solid crunches routine, but don’t stop there. Do other abs exercises to target the rest of your muscles, and again, a clean diet combined with a HIIT training regime will do your tummy wonders.
5. Doing the same ab routine over and over will be effective.
Much like with any exercise, as you begin to improve your fitness level, you need to introduce new challenges to further break down and then build up stronger muscles. Performing the same abs exercise routine every day will result in an inevitable plateau, where you will no longer see a drastic improvement.
6. More reps = more abs
Nope. The key to really effectively targeting your core muscles from top to bottom isn’t doing a million reps. It’s performing your abs exercise routine with proper form. Fellow gym-goers may make you believe that being able to do 100 or 200 or more sit-ups or push-ups means that you’re fit as a thoroughbred, and clearly exercising right. The reality is, you can do all the repetitions you want, but if you’re not performing the exercise right — rushing through the motions — you’re only wasting your energy and time.