With all the exercise equipment and videos out there focused on abdominal muscles, you'd think it's just a matter of doing lots of strength exercises, right?
Every time someone buys an ab exerciser, a bodybuilder screams into a pillow:
Theatrics aside, his advice is sound. It takes a lot of work to get a six pack, and none of it requires anything that could be labeled "As Seen on TV."
No matter how many crunches or sit-ups you do, your abs aren't going to be visible if they're covered in fat. You may already have a great set of abs, but you won't look like Hugh Jackman unless you can get your body down to a low body fat percentage. There are two things you should concentrate on:
Do a lot of cardio: If you can, get an hour of running, bicycling, swimming, or other large muscle group exercise day. This is all about burning fat, not improving performance: don't train as hard as you would if you were preparing for a competition to reduce recovery time.
Go on a diet: Diets are another post, but remember there is no such thing as spot reduction. Fat loss is done all over the body, and in most people the fat around the belly, particularly the love handles, is the last to go. Also, remember to take into account all that exercise you're doing will contribute to the overall calories you need. You should never lose more than one to two pounds per week or your body will go into starvation mode and you'll bounce right back.
This doesn't mean ab exercises are pointless. Abs are part of your core, and by now you've heard someone talk about core strength. The muscles in your torso are used for everything from stabilizing your body while weightlifting to snapping your arm back when you throw a baseball. Crunches, bicycle kicks, and leg lifts are all good at improving muscle strength.
Posted 3690 day ago