5 Things You Need to Know Before You Start Ab Workouts

Many of us who are trying to lose body fat often wonder if it’s actually possible to get flat abs.  This is especially true if we’ve done countless crunches and planks at the gym but are seeing very little success. What’s the secret to getting a firm and toned midsection? Why are some people who spend just about the same time as we do at Gold’s Gym have a six-pack and we don’t?

A lot of the frustration people have about their abs is triggered by misinformation and unrealistic expectations. Many people still cling to incorrect ideas on how to work their abs. To be able to strengthen your core, you need to work on not just your abs, but also your obliques, your back and your glutes.

If you’re aiming to strengthen your core and have a toned abs, you need to be aware of the following facts:

1. Ab Exercises Don’t Eliminate Fat in the Abs

Spot reduction doesn’t work for the abs. Ab exercises may make your abdominal muscles stronger but these workouts won’t burn belly fat. This is because when you exercise, your body will draw energy from your whole body and not just the part of your body you’re focusing on. If you want to get rid of belly fat, then you need to create a calorie deficit.

2. Abdominal Muscles are Just Like All The Muscles in Your Body

Working on your ab muscles every single day will not trigger it to burn more fat. Your ab muscles should be trained in the same way you train your arm and leg muscles – only train them 2-3 times each week and allow them to rest in between. Moreover, you should also target different parts of your abs.

3. It’s Quality Over Quantity

Back in the day, most of us did 100s of crunches believing it’s the best and fastest way to get flat abs. But the truth is, if you want stronger abs, you need to focus on quality not quantity. After all, you don’t really do a hundred bicep curls or leg raises right?

For proper strength gains, you need to overload your muscles. Concentrate on having a good form and improving your technique. Do a variety of ab exercises that focus on your obliques, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis.

4. Not Everyone Can Have a Flat Midsection

For some people, it’s physiologically impossible to have a flat stomach. Genetics, age, body type, sex, lifestyle, stress sleep habits, eating habits and other factors can decide what your belly looks like. Women’s bodies often store fat around the lower belly, while men’s bodies store fat in the middle part. You may be able to exercise and go on a strict diet to reduce body fat but the truth of the matter is, you can’t choose which part of the body will lose fat.

5. Special Equipment is Not Necessary to Train Your Abs

You don’t need any special or expensive equipment for your abs and many of the stuff you see online or on TV are not really necessary to achieve a six-pack. You’re better off buying equipment that can be used in a variety of ways and purposes. For example, instead of buying an ab machine, why not just get an exercise ball? Instead of getting an ab belt, why not get an exercise mat that lets you do all kinds of body weight exercises?

Let me share a video showing a series of highly effective Ab Workouts from Fitness Blender which you can try at home.

Among the exercises highlighted in the video are:

Flutter Kicks – In order to stabilize the hips, flutter kick exercise will cause the abs to contract. To fully engage the stomach, be sure to keep your back flat on the ground.  

Pilates Side Hip Raise – This exercise targets the obliques and uses the abdominals and lower back for balance and support.

Russian Twist – This exercise uses the lower back and abs for support and uses rotational motion on the obliques.

Toe Touch Crunch – This isolating exercise works on the lower and upper abs. When you are at the bottom of the crunch motion, don’t allow your abs to relax to get the most impact.

Try these exercises at home for only 10 minutes at a time and see results gradually unfolding. Do keep in mind that nutrition, lifestyle and eating habits also play a crucial role in helping you achieve a flat stomach.

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