Spring breaks and warmer weather will be here before we know it! And with that comes the desire to shed our winter coats – both figuratively and literally. So I know many of us have one thought on our minds – toning our tummies and bringing out those abs!
I hear about and see many people trying so hard to sculpt amazing abs, but not getting very far despite their best efforts. Abs are tricky!
When it comes to targeting this area of the body, there are definite things you should and shouldn’t do. In this article, I’ll address some of the most common mistakes I see when it comes to ab training that you could be guilty of doing, and should stop immediately if you want results.
1. Focusing on crunches
No matter how many crunches you do – 100 or 1000 – it will be very hard to define your abs. Crunches are probably one of the least effective exercises for getting a toned midsection. I’m not saying to never do them, as they still have their place as part of an exercise routine, but crunches alone won’t give you that six-pack. To bring out abs, you must engage the core in different ways and you must work each region (lower, upper, middle, side).
2. Not using all your abs
It’s important that you work the whole abdominal region, not just a singular area. You can do this by making sure you vary your ab exercises and routine on a regular basis, including workouts to target your obliques, rectus, and transverse abdominal muscles. Again, do not just rely on crunches as they do not target all these areas. Use exercises like reverse crunches, knee raises, side crunches, twists, belly button pull-ins, etc.
3. Only doing isolated ab exercises
Don’t just focus on isolated ab exercises in your workout routine. It is important to incorporate compound exercises like deadlifts, squats and overhead presses that also engage the whole abdominal region.
4. Working your abs daily
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that the more you work a particular body part, the faster you will see results. However, in order to get results and show signs of growth, your muscles need time to recover and repair. Don’t overwork your abs by doing crunches every day. Instead, incorporate a variety of targeted and compound exercises every other day.
5. Trying to out-train a bad diet
Exercising for 3 hours a day won’t get you far if your diet is still bad. You’ll maybe build up your abs underneath, but they won’t show through unless you change your diet to a healthy one and also lower your body fat percentage. There’s a popular saying that ‘abs are made in the kitchen.’ This is true if an exercise routine is accompanied by healthy eating. These go hand in hand with creating your much-wanted abs.
6. Starting your workout with abs
As most exercises rely on core stability, you should avoid doing your ab exercises before other body parts. If you work out your core first and fatigue those muscles, you’ll put yourself at risk of injury while doing other exercises. You need all the core strength you can to perform big lifts heavy and with good form, so leave the ab work for the end.