Top Eight Myths About Ab Workouts
A large number of people want rock-solid abs. Several workouts, such as crunches, bicycle crunches, leg raises, cable rotations, etc., can help you achieve great abs. How many people really know how to do these exercises properly?
For a huge number of people, working out every day for several hours does not yield any results. Unlike the muscles of the other parts of your body, the muscle of your abs is visible only after reducing the extra fat around your stomach; many people do not know this. In this article are eight top myths in the realm of abdominal workout.
Myth 1: You have to do hundreds of crunches
Many people believe that the abs is a collection of muscles with a corrugated pattern. This is not true. “Rectus abdominis,” the abs muscle, is a two-part muscle with a vertical, central line known as the “linea alba.” The muscle starts at the pubic area and runs up to the base of the ribcage. It is closely associated with a pair of muscles known as “obliques.” Single muscles always develop with more resistance than the number of reps. Hence, hundreds of crunches a day will not give you any more benefit than doing twenty to thirty reps with an appropriate amount of resistance. You also do not need to exercise your abs every day.
The abs muscle is not quite different from any other muscle, such as biceps or pecs. Overworking is not good for it. However, you should increase the resistance on a regular basis by adding weights during crunches. This will tone the muscle and make it stronger. For any abdominal exercise, it is recommended that you do about twenty reps.
Myth 2: Exercising abs will reduce body fat
You may come across many overweight people exercising their abs for hours every day without seeing any change in their physique. Why are those people unable to reduce fat and build six-packs? People tend to accumulate a large amount of fat around their stomachs. Due to this reason, many people believe that exercising the stomach will help reduce the fat around it. This is not true. When you work out, the amount of fat burned is even all over your body. There are specific fat-burning exercises that target all parts of the body that store fat. In order to show your abs muscle, you must first reduce the fat layer on top of it.
Reducing fat is not possible without following a proper diet and aerobic workout routines. Jogging, cycling, rowing, etc., are some of the aerobic activities that you can do. A good mix of aerobic and more intense anaerobic activities will help in reducing fat. The importance of dieting should not be discounted either. In order to find the perfect diet plan for your fitness, you should consult with a dietitian. After you reduce the overall weight and the fat level of your body, your abs muscle along with all other muscles on your body will become noticeable.
Myth 3: You have to exercise very slowly to build strong abs
You may come across people who take several seconds to complete one crunch. They seem to feel the contractions of their abs muscle. Slow workout is not going to help you build any muscle, let alone the abs muscle. When you do household chores, like moving things or fixing machine parts, you do not work slowly. In the same way, when you do anaerobic workouts like sprinting, you have to be as fast as you can. In the same way, be fast while working out abs too.
As mentioned, slow workout is not advantageous for other muscles too. The University of Alabama conducted a recent study in this regard. In this study, which was conducted for bicep curls, two groups were there; the first group took almost fifteen seconds to finish a rep while the second group finished a rep in two seconds. It was found that the second group of individuals lifted about 250 percent more weight and burnt about 71 percent more calories than the first group. This clearly shows how ineffective slow workout is.
Myth 4: Crunches are the most effective exercise for abs
Regular crunches are highly effective for building your abs muscle. They are not, however, the most effective abs exercise. Your abs muscle gets the maximum workout only if you contract and stretch it as much as possible. A combination of different kinds of exercises is good for your abs. An example is the bicycle crunch, in which you incorporate other muscles such as hamstrings and quads. You can also use a specialized crunch machine for the workout, as such a machine provides you proper back support and allows you to do a full stretch of your abs muscle. While the normal crunch only allows the contraction of your abs muscle, these crunch machines can be used to exercise your oblique muscle too.
Myth 5: Simply raising your legs is good for your lower abs
As mentioned earlier, your abs consists of a single muscle that has two longitudinal, parallel parts. Exercises target the entire muscle rather than the upper or the lower part of it. Leg raises if done properly can be a good exercise for your abs. In the regular leg raise, you lie on your back on an exercise mat with your arms resting on both sides and raise both legs to an angle from the ground. The exercise has other variations in which you sit down, hang from a bar, or use a machine.
The purpose of your abdominal muscle is to strengthen your core. It works closely with your spinal cord. Many people do leg raises by simply raising their legs to a vertical position without actually contracting the abs muscle. This is more common in the case of hanging leg raises. When people do this, they are not actually working out the abs muscle but a pair of skeletal muscles on the hip known as hip flexors. In order to do the ab workout properly, one has to arch the spine and make the ab muscle, not hip flexors, raise the legs.
Myth 6: There is no need to use weights when training abs
You use weights to train all kinds of muscles–biceps, triceps, pecs, quads, etc. When it comes to the ab muscle, many people believe that crunches, leg raises, etc., should be done without weights; some people use stability balls though. This is not true. Ab muscle, just as any other muscle, can be made stronger by increasing the resistance with weights. Before training your abs to make them stronger, you should reduce the fat around your stomach. When the fat goes away, the abs will stand out. Hence, an overweight person should first concentrate on reducing the fat in his body before beginning abs training. If they train the abs using weights before reducing fat, the development of the abs muscle underneath the layer of fat may make the person look fatter. In order to get flat, strong abs, you should train two to three times a week with proper rest in between the days you work out.
Myth 7: Compound exercises are better for overall fat reduction and abs toning
Compound exercises target not just one muscle but a group of them. Examples are squats, sit-ups, dumbbell lunges, pull-ups, push-ups, bench press, etc. These exercises can be helpful in building several muscle groups including the abs muscle. The fact though is these exercises do not cause any miracles for your abs. They are less effective than following a diet and then doing specific exercises for the abs, such as crunches.
In any case, proper fitness is achieved only with a proper diet plan and regular exercise. In order to build a muscle such as the rectus abdominis, specific exercises are better than a compound workout. This does not mean that the compound workouts have no benefits. They are great for building the overall strength and fitness of your body.
Myth 8: Anybody can have six-pack abs
Many people know the truth behind general workout. You have to reduce your body fat before core muscles start showing up. Majority of people still believe that anybody can get six-pack abs. However, several factors affect your ability to achieve the desirable flat stomach: gender, age, lifestyle, genetics, eating habits, sleeping pattern, exercise habits, etc. Hence, it is a fact that a majority of people cannot achieve six-pack abs.
For many people, the body fat is a major reason why they are unable to achieve the flat stomach they want. For women, the fat tends to accumulate around their lower belly, thighs, and buttocks. In addition, women store almost five to ten percent more fat than men. According to a study by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the hormone estrogen is responsible for storing more fat in a woman’s body for aid in childbearing. Not everyone can work out to reduce the fat level in the right way. Some people reduce too much fat to be healthy; others have a hard time reducing enough fat to show off the muscles. Proper dieting; regular, properly supervised exercises; and good amount of sleep are essential for a flat stomach.
Finding the right kind of exercise for your body type is important. If you are a fat person, your primary goal should be in reducing the fat in order to make your abs visible. If you are a lean person, your focus should be in building more muscle. Training your abs excessively without focusing on your overall health will not yield any positive results. If you are still committed to working those abs you might want to check out The Top 5 Best Home Ab Machines review.