The great journey to getting ripped six pack abs. It seems that most people looking to make a physical transformation really focus in on abs. I can’t exactly blame them, I mean you can’t deny that when you see someone with a chiseled stomach it doesn’t scream FIT!
This has lead people to search the internet for Ab solutions. What is the secret to getting that shredded mid section? Just like with any buzz word or major interest, out comes the many fallacies and myths. I want to highlight at least 6 of the more common misconceptions / myths revolving around that sexy six pack everyone is looking for.
MYTH 1: AB EXERCISES TARGET BELLY FAT
You have heard the old saying “you can’t out exercise a bad diet” well there is some truth to that. Granted its all about energy expenditure vs energy intake. The concept that more crunches will lead to a leaner stomach however isn’t the case. To see that lean and toned six pack it’s all about losing body fat. Training your abs hard and keeping them sore DOES NOT equal a lean toned stomach. At the end of the day all exercises and your diet are what dictate how much fat you’re burning, which is leading to a more toned tummy.
MYTH 2: YOU NEED A FAT BURNER OR SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT
Unfortunate for us all, there is no magic potion or pill. At least not for now… Fat burners and other sports performance supplements can lead to an increase in fat metabolism BUT this must be put into context. Things like caffeine, and other stimulants for instance may increase your bodies thermogenic response. Basically you’re getting a little boost if you will. This does not however mean that it is required AND if you’re not exercising and controlling your diet it won’t change things. Don’t feel the need to lean on a supplement in hopes of seeing those abs popping. If it were that easy, we would all be running around with flat stomachs.
MYTH 3: TRAIN ABS EVERYDAY TO GET A SIX PACK
The abs should be treated like every other muscle. The concept that they are some sort of special exception to training simply isn’t true. Every training program offers a different amount of frequency. Now we are not saying that you can’t train them every day… we are simply saying that may not be optimal. In most cases, too much frequency can lead to over reaching. This simply means you are not allowing enough recovery time. Most people wouldn’t train their legs 7 days per week, so why do it to your abs?
MYTH 4: SUPER HIGH REPS IS THE ANSWER TO GETTING ABS
The reality of it is, training volume is dependent on a lot of different factors. Your Abs in most cases should be looked at in the same light as other muscle groups. For muscular endurance for instance 15-20 reps may be sufficient per set. For muscle growth that may reduce down to 8-12 reps per set. All of this however depends on the total volume that workout. It is a common misconception that you have to do 100 reps of bodyweight only Ab exercises to see awesome Abs. Many times adding some resistance to the exercises can enhance intensity and overall end result.
MYTH 5: YOU MUST HAVE GOOD GENETICS FOR ABS
Sure, genetics can play a large role in someones appearance. There are people that seem to be “gifted” with the ability to stay lean or get lean quickly. This of course enhances their ability to have visible Abs. This does not however imply that without this gift you can not achieve an exceptionally lean set of Abs. Showing off your Abs is just about getting lean enough and having enough muscle tissue showing through. If you diet hard and exercise EVERYBODY can reach that goal. It may be harder for some, but it is not impossible.
MYTH 6: LEG RAISES FOR LOWER ABS AND SIT UPS FOR UPPER ABS
Just like with any muscle, there is a full range of motion. Taking the muscle through its full natural range of motion will fully target that muscle. Wen speaking about the Abs, most are referring to the rectus abdominis. This muscle group is responsible for the concentric portion of trunk flexion and the eccentric portion of trunk extension. Be it a sit up or a leg raise, by traveling the full range of motion you will in fact contract the rectus abdominis fully. Any easy way to think of it is, if you were doing a bicep curl but only came up half way. Traveling the whole way will overload the muscle completely.
We do understand that the journey to a shredded stomach is on the top of the priority list for many gym goers. There is nothing wrong with it, but we would encourage you to take a tactful approach to your training and try to understand the big picture.
At the end of the day, to see that lean and defined stomach you MUST lose enough body fat. For many people this is much leaner than they can actually imagine. Even those that are in great shape and may train hard daily, don’t walk around with veins popping out of their abs. This is because the level of conditioning is high.
With that being said everyone is capable of having that shredded physique, you just have to have a consistent plan of attack. Look into your current diet and exercise program and see what you can do to tighten it up. Before you start shopping for fat burners, and doing crazy Ab exercises daily, consider the rest of your program. How many calories are you expending? How much overall weight training are you doing? What is your dietary intake? These are just a few things to evaluate.
As always, keep training hard and never give up on your journey
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