The Truth About Ab Training
Although these myths are finally starting to fade from the fitness industry, I feel it’s important to make sure that everybody who reads this article knows the following two myths about abdominal and core training:
1. Doing hundreds of abdominal exercise repetitions every day will not help you build a strong ripped stomach! Your abs are anatomically just as any other muscle which means that you don’t need to train them more than three times a week. You need to use high intensity and a rep range of 1-15 repetitions per set. Overtraining your abs, as many people do especially by doing a lot of crunches, can only cause you problems like back pain as we will see later on.
10 Best Exercises For Obese Weight Loss Photo Gallery
2. Abdominal exercises burn fat around your stomach! There is no direct metabolic pathway from your abdominal musculature to the fat tissue surrounding it. In order to burn fat and convert it to energy, your body must first send the fat to your liver where it will be broken down to fatty acids. This fat comes from all over your body. Gender, age and genetics are responsible for determining which areas are going to be more “preferred” as fat sources. For example, if you are the “chicken-leg” body type, while you are doing ab crunches your body might be burning more fat from your legs!
A guy named Ged Musto, performed 1,555 Unaided Sit-Ups in 30 minutes in 2005 which was an Official British and World Record. If you Google him or check out his YouTube vids, his abs just look like they simply belong to a guy that simply works out – nothing really special though.
Remember that abs are just like all the other muscles you train. You need muscle tension. If you are doing more than 15 – 20 reps per set, you are doing too many!
Three basic points to keep in mind when pursuing abs:
• You have to get rid of the extra fat. Although strength exercise can tone your abs and help you burn some extra calories, it is only gonna get you half way there. The other 50% is diet which will play the biggest role in revealing them. Your abs may be even more defined than Stallone in Rocky 3 but if you never burn the fat around them they will never be visible.
• It will not happen at the same speed for everyone. Genetics play a big role. Some people just have a harder time getting a ribbed stomach because they tend to store more fat around the stomach due to their body type. If you belong in this group of people then unfortunately you need to have greater patience.
• Leaner doesn’t always mean healthier. If you pass the point of 8-10% body fat and continue to drop weight, keep in mind that you will also start losing a significant amount of muscle tissue and you can create hormonal imbalances that can lead to further problems.
The Big Crunch
A lot of people base their ab work on the thought that the basic function of the abdominal muscles is movement production. If you study anatomy & kinesiology you will see that a significant role of the abdominal musculature is actually to prevent motion and to keep your lumbo-pelvic region (lower back) more stable.
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