Ab Workouts: Six Pack Abs or Bust?! Think Again.

Getting Started with Ab Workouts

If you're reading this page, you're probably thinking about getting a set of your own six pack abs. Well, you're about to learn how!

As you know, a nice set of abs is aesthetically pleasing for both men and women - we all want those chiseled abs to take to the beach or the pool with us. In the past, this idea allowed the market for those ab machines and contortion devices to soar out of control. Yes, some of these contraptions may have some benefit, but none of them can single-handedly sculpt your midsection into a rock-hard sheet. Thankfully, these ab-sculpting devices have gone out of style in recent years.

But, new items still pop up every now and then, claiming to melt the fat off your belly (while also straining your lower back, I might add). The problem is that too many people still buy into this idea! We need to stop it right here!

You can do 1,000 crunches a day, every day for a month and still not see any sort of result.

How can this be?

Well, the fact is that getting those "washboard" abs is tough! You can't just do a million crunches and expect to wake up one morning with rock-solid core. If you really want that cut look, you need to follow a balanced diet and strength training program. There's no one thing you can do to suddenly develop six pack abs - it's going to take somewhat of a lifestyle change...

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Does "Spot Reducing" Work?

six pack abs Just doing ab workouts alone will not result in the "washboard" look you're seeking (unless, of course, you already have a low body fat percentage). Yes, you'll have some powerful abs and probably a strong lower back, but you won't see the results without removing the layer of fat that's been covering your ab muscles for years!

Men tend to store most of their fat in the "gut" area (this is anatomically known as android fat). So, even if you have the most ripped upper body, powerful legs, strong back - the whole nine yards - you still may not have that ripped abdominal look. The key to showing off your six pack is to reduce your body fat percentage low enough to remove most of the android fat that's covering your midsection. How do you go about doing this?

Well, I can tell you how not to do this - and that's doing too many crunches! So many people think they can burn fat off their midsection by doing crunches. This idea is simply false. Let me say it again: ab workouts do not specifically target the mobilization of fat in the midsection. It may make sense, but it's not how your body works! Its like saying that jogging for 30 minutes burns fat off your legs and butt. It just doesn't happen. Yes, you're working the muscles in the area but you're not burning fat specifically from that area.

The first thing I have to say about this is that you generally don't burn fat while you're exercising! Believe it or not, your exercise program is fueled by liver and muscle glycogen. If you've begun to use fat for energy, you've probably gone way beyond your limit!

Second, fat is not used for energy in specific regions of the body dependent on which muscle you're working. The fat can be used from your arms, face, legs, etc. even if you're working your chest! You can't lose fat in a specific area by working out that area.

Getting those six pack abs requires hard work and dedication with the right mix of cardio, weight lifting, ab workouts along with learning how to eat healthy. But, remember, ab workouts alone can not and will not burn fat specifically off your belly. These workouts are, however, still very important to daily functionality!

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Benefits of Ab Workouts

Your core stabilizes every single movement you make throughout the day, whether it's sitting, standing, walking, anything! Here're some great benefits to make sure consistently you're doing your ab workouts...

  • Your ab muscles support your spine - that's what they're there for! They're not just for looks or for allowing yourself to do sit-ups and crunches. At any point in the day, no matter what you're doing, your lower back and ab muscles are working to support your back - even while you sit in the chair and read this website! Right now, your abs are working to keep your spine relatively straight. It goes without saying that a strong abdominal section will dramatically improve your posture and reduce lower back pain.
  • With this in mind, doing your ab workouts can relieve, or even eliminate, lower back pain. This pain is simply due to weak abdominal muscles that allow your spine to get into positions it shouldn't be in! Like hunched-over positions or hyper-extended positions.
  • Just knowing that you have a strong set of abs is uplifting - you can handle a lot more than the average Joe. In fact, just because the abs may not be directly seen underneath a small layer of fat doesn't mean you're not fit! Don't go overboard trying to get that "washboard" look. Genetics do play a part here - many individuals simply aren't genetically capable of not storing fat on top of the abs. This doesn't mean they're not fit! The question is, why do you see so many models and celebrities with this look? Well, a lot of these individuals opt for liposuction procedures to suck out the fat from this area. The challenge is to keep the fat off, especially when that's where your body stores most of it. When all else fails, just feel good about yourself!
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    Basics of Ab Workouts

    There're tons of different ab workouts you can do - and they don't all revolve around the "crunch"! This is where most people get lost - they think they need to work their abs every day if they want that "cut" look. The answer is no, again. Your abs are muscles just like all the other muscles in your body. Don't work them every day! This surely leads to overtraining.

    People also get into trouble by doing their crunches improperly. The key is to be smooth. No sudden movements! This just jerks your body into weird positions that places a lot of stress on your lower back. People also tend to take the crunch too far and are nearly doing complete sit-ups. The fact is that going more than half way up to your knees only works your hip flexors and strains your lower back.

    One other important note: Don't hold the back of your head while doing crunches! People seem to think this is helpful...or something. I guess it's because they see others doing it and it looks right.

    Well, it's not right! Do you really want a neck injury? Most people tend to pull themselves into the crunch by their head and neck. Ouch! Instead, just place the tips of your fingers right above your ears. The idea is to keep your arms up to isolate the ab muscles, not to yank your head forward.

    As with any other exercise routine, your abdominals deserve a warm up also, especially if you do your workouts in the morning. The key to all of this is to remember that your abs are muscles just like in your arms, chest and legs. They're not different! Don't work them every day, don't overtrain and, well, work hard! Along with eating right and following a balanced exercise routine including ab workouts, you'll have a strong core to go a long with an overall strong body!

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    Return from Ab Workouts To the Smart Strength Training Homepage

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