Here's the thing about Ab Workouts: What you do is only one half of the equation. What you don't do is the other—and I'm not just talking about the usual pre-photo shoot fitness model tricks like avoiding sodium, carbs, happiness, or air. I'm referring to the piles of abominable misinformation lurking out there, both on television and in casual conversation. Perhaps more than any other body part, ab training and ab workouts keep you constantly on guard against making basic mistakes.
Below are 5 of the biggest mistakes when doing ab workouts that I see people make.
But if you can minimize—or completely eliminate—these mistakes, you might just see your abs pop out sooner than planned.
1. Forgetting About Compound Exercises
If you strictly perform isolation ab exercises, you're making a huge mistake. Compound movements like deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses engage every inch of your core. Don't forget to include them in your training program.
2. Doing Ab Exercises First
Your abs are part of your core area, which helps stabilize your body. If you fatigue them early in your workout, you will have a hard time doing other ab-intensive exercises like squats.
And just so we're clear, the role that your core plays in squats is to protect your spine, so you want them to have a full tank at that point. Save your ab training for the end.
3. Thinking You Can Out-Crunch Your Diet
The secret to visible abs is no secret at all: Lower your body fat percentage. This doesn't happen by doing hundreds of reps of ab exercises—nor thousands, nor millions. You can train your abs all you want, but if your diet isn't in check, you'll never see that six-pack.
4. Having A Full Workout Just For Abs
All you need is 15 minutes. If you're already doing compound exercises like squats and deadlifts, one or two ab exercises for 2-3 sets each at the end of your workout is sufficient.
5. Training Them Every Day
"But Arnold worked the abs every day!" Save it. Abs are just like any other muscle in your body. That means they need time to recover. When they get worked hard, a couple of days' reprieve is necessary.
If you can crunch yourself into submission one day and then wake up the next morning ready for more, take it as proof that crunches aren't actually working your abs as hard as they should be.
If you want to learn more about Ab Workouts you can, contact Maggie Dillavou at Thrive Health Systems in Alpharetta (Atlanta, GA)! Maggie is a certified personal trainer, MMA fighter, and a Functional Movement Specialist (FMS). Call 770.667.0099.