The chase toward achieving well-sculpted abs is a long and often exhausting road. The last things we need are misleading advice and nonsense passed off as accurate information. We’ve debunked 6 common myths to help you avoid making common mistakes with your ab workout.
1. Crunches aren’t as effective as planks.
Someone long ago foolishly proposed that planks are the only way to get those lean and sculpted abs we’d all like to sport at the beach this summer. Turns out, crunches are just as effective as we all thought from the get-go. The American Council on Exercise ran a series of tests. Using a high tech machine that measured the test subjects max voluntary contraction they determined that crunches trigger the greatest amount of voluntary contraction. Greater levels of muscle contraction result in an overall more effective and muscle-tasking workout; so stick to the crunches!
2. A good workout offsets a nasty 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. But that’s not how the world works. As you grow older, your body and its metabolism only slows down, and the misconception that we can eat just as we might’ve back in high school is pure unadulterated madness. So next time you clock in a solid abs workout, don’t negate all the positive effects, soon to be reaped, by eating utterly unhealthy!
3. You can eliminate belly fat with certain foods.
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 just crunches.
Health professionals have revealed that while the crunch exercise is famously effective at engaging your abdominal muscles, it’s 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 stomach muscles.
5. Doing the same abs 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 improvement and further toning stagnates significantly.
6. It’s all about the reps!
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 pushups 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.