Are you one of those gym rats who leave the ab exercises for last after your training? You then pick one or two and speedily run through the crunches and exercises just to say you did some abs for the day. If that is you, you could be wasting your time or rather you could utilise your time better..
A common misconception that people have is that, they need to be doing thousands of crunches and ab exercises every day to flatten their tummies and get abs. If you cannot see any abs on you, that means they are covered with a layer (or two) of fat. To get rid of the fat, your need to control your diet more than anything else in order to eat less calories than you are expending in energy.
A few common training mistakes are highlighted below when it comes to ab training, and a few tips are provided.
Don’t waste your time doing crunches
If you cannot really see your abs, don’t waste your time doing crunches and isolated ab exercises. Rather focus on compound exercises where you work a few different muscle groups at once and include some HIIT training to lose the weight, and be more focused on training your core. Once you start to see your abs, then you can put more time into specific ab exercises. (Don’t forget to also be more focused on ensuring a good diet as that is much more important than the type of training you do).
Rushing through ab exercises
Far too often people come to the end of their workout and then decide to include one or two ab exercises just to say they did their abs. At least, some ab work is done through this, but the problem comes when the exercises are rushed and done just for the sake of doing them.
When doing a simple exercise like a crunch for instance, form is critical and the abdominals should be slowly contracted on each and every rep ensuring the abs are worked and focused on. When rushing up and down through the exercise proper contraction of the abs can’t be done effectively.
When to train them
There are a lot of opinions on how often abs should be trained, but doing them every second or third day should be a great place to start. You can even schedule a more ab focused workout on one or two days and then do a few ab exercises here and there during other training times. This is quite subjective though.
I am not such a fan of ab training, so if you do not really enjoy it as much as me you can try this. I found a great way to include a few ab exercises without making a big deal out of it was to include an ab exercise in between sets of another exercise. For instance when doing pull ups, as soon as I finish a set I would drop down and do a few straight leg crunches. I will highlight the different ab exercises you can include in such a fashion, and the ones that helped me in another article.
Trying to do hundreds of exercises
There is no need to try do every ab exercise possible in one session. Rather choose two or three and do them properly and controlled and they will be much more effective than rushing through ten different exercises.
Adding weight when training with bad form
Sometimes people add a whole lot of weight to their ab exercises; while this can be good, do not add weight if it compromises your form, as with any exercise and body part. As above, that contraction is crucial, so if you just do the exercise to fuel your ego by adding so much weight you will end up working other muscles except your abs.