I often hear about people trying so hard to sculpt their abs, but not getting very far. When targeting this area of the body, there are things you should and shouldn’t do. I've picked out some of the most common mistakes I see when it comes to ab training, that you might be guilty of doing, too! Follow my tips to get your ab goals back on track.
1. Focusing on crunches
No matter how many crunches you do – 100 or 1000 – it will be very hard to define your abs. Crunches are probably one of the least effective exercises for getting that toned waistline. I am not saying to never do them, as they still have their place as part of an exercise routine, but they solely won’t give you that six pack. To bring out abs, you must engage the core in different ways to work each region (lower, upper, middle, side).
2. Not using all your abs
It’s important that you work the whole abdominal region not just a singular area. You can do this by making sure you vary your ab exercises and routine on a regular basis, including workouts to target your obliques, lower and upper and transverse abs. Again, do not just rely on crunches as they do not target all these areas. Use exercises like reverse crunches, knee raises, side crunches, twists, belly button pull-ins, and so on.
3. Only doing isolated ab exercises
Don’t just focus on isolated ab exercises in your workout routine. It is important to incorporate compound exercises like deadlifts, squats and overhead presses that also work the whole abdominal region. These will get your whole body working, while also zooming in on your core.
4. Working your abs daily
It is easy to get caught up in thinking that the more you work a particular body part, the faster you will see results. However, in order to get results, your muscles need time to recover and repair, to show any kind of growth. Do not over work your abs by doing crunches every day, but incorporate a variety of targeted and compound exercises every second day.
5. Trying to out-train a bad diet
Exercising for 3 hours a day won’t get you far if your diet is still bad. You will maybe build up your abs underneath, but they won’t show through unless you change your diet to a healthy nutritious one and get your body fat percentage down. There’s the saying that ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ which is true, if an exercise routine is followed alongside the healthy eating. So don’t do one without the other. They go hand in hand at creating your much wanted abs.
6. Starting your workout with abs
As most exercises rely on core stability, you should avoid doing your ab exercises before other body parts. If you work out your core first, and fatigue your muscles there, you will put yourself at risk of injury while working your other muscles. You need all the core power you can to perform at your best, so leave the ab workout until the end.
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
Get results you can see and confidence you can feel with internationally renowned trainer Emily Skye.