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The Wrong Way to Get Abs (and the solution)

The Wrong Way to Get Abs (and the solution)

The Wrong Way to Get Abs (and the solution)

So you’ve been slaving away at the gym for weeks now and don’t feel any closer to that desired six-pack? Your girl feels ya! But, lucky for you, there are solutions! It could be that you’re making one of these common, core-dooming mistakes.

Stick with me while I go over the ab-training practices you need to avoid and what you can do instead.

Mistake #1: Only Doing Sit-ups and Crunches

If you have done sit-ups or traditional crunches, it's not your fault. For some reason that I don't understand, you were taught that sit-ups and crunches are THE must-do abs exercises. The truth is: they’re really not as effective when you’re trying to get a more defined core or lose weight. This is because the muscle group you’re working out is much too small to burn an adequate amount of calories and it does nothing to increase metabolism. On top of that, it really isn’t your abs pulling all the weight here. It’s your hip flexors. This is what makes traditional crunches and sit-ups one of the worst abdominal exercises. 

So you know that your hip flexors pull on your lower back (lumbar spine), but what you probably didn't know is that when doing sit-ups and crunches, your hips and torso get pulled together and can put a TON of pressure on the discs in your back and neck... I think you'll agree with me in saying you don't want that. This is why so many people have neck and back pain after doing too many sit-ups or crunches.

What you can do instead:

So if you're wanting to get results from your workouts, do woodchoppers and planks. Woodchoppers are great because they target obliques and the transverse abdominis or TVA muscle (this is the muscle right behind your soon-to-be sixpack 😜) as well as engaging the muscles of other parts of your body. And planks may seem simple, but you're flexing every muscle in your body with special emphasis on your core. And trust me, they'll give you a burn that lets you know that the extra softness on your stomach won't be around for too much longer 😏.

Mistake #2: Relying Too Heavily On Ab Workouts

Sounds like a simple equation: want defined abs? Bring on the ab workouts! The problem with this thinking, however, is that too much focus on the abs can be counterproductive; because even your abdominal muscles need some time to rest and recover. 

What you can do instead:

Since you only need about 15 minutes of ab-focused exercise, try dedicating more workout time to compound exercises (like deadlifts, overhead presses, and squats). Even though your core isn't the first thought with these exercises, they are AMAZING for engaging your abs and strengthening your core muscles, so definitely don't forget to include these in your training program!

Mistake #3: Poor Diet

So as much as you want your diet to be in-n-out and hawaiian pizza (maybe that's just me 😂) we all need to realize that getting abs that make your friends jealous is impossible without eating right. So feel free to have a funeral for your old habits of soda, sugar, refined grains, and fried foods because they can take away your dreams faster than anything else.

What you can do instead:

If you want a six-pack, there's one secret.... lower body fat percentage. While all things are fine in moderation, you NEED to have a healthy, well-rounded diet to achieve your six-pack dreams. Some excellent foods to incorporate into your diet are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and legumes!

My Top Ab Exercises

Here are top 5 exercises that I love and find most effective:

  1. Standing Cable Crunches
  2. Woodchoppers
  3. Knee Pull Ins
  4. Russian Twist
  5. Hanging Leg Raises

I know it’s really frustrating to work hard and see no results. So hopefully this helps you work smarter, avoiding these mistakes, and you will be on your way to getting abs that belong on a magazine cover 😏

Until next time, 

Iulia.