In the modern fitness craze there’s an emphasis on the six pack. It’s everywhere you look in the media, and it’s no surprise that it’s become one of the main goals of fitness fanatics everywhere.
The main misconception is that doing abdominal exercises will reduce the fat on these areas, but this is absolutely not true. You need to remove body fat from all over until you get to the point where you can see the muscle structure of the abdominal section of your body. That said, training these muscles will help them to be more defined and give you a flatter stomach, body fat permitting.
When people think about training their abs, the situp is usually the first exercise that people think of. However, it’s been proven over time that it’s not actually the best exercise that you can do, and can even cause you some health problems if you do too many, or do them wrong. This really is something that a professional trainer with qualifications from somewhere like CMS will be able to verify.
Situps produce the exact same type of forces on your spine that can cause disc bulge or disc herniation. They are terrible for your lower back and you should avoid them on this basis alone.
They also only work your stomach for part of the motion, the top part is using mostly your groin/thigh muscles to pull your body upright, as opposed to crunching your ribcage into your lower body. This can lead to groin strains.
Lastly, your abdominals work in many ways and in many directions. Solely doing one exercise movement will cause an imbalance, and this can lead to real problems further down the line. Your abs need to be trained in a variety of ways, which imitates the way that they are used naturally every day.
What To Do Instead?
Leg lifts are much better way to strengthen your core muscles and there are many ways to do these, each with lots of variations. Planks are also a great way to do the same, and are much easier on your back! With these two exercises, in combination with the effects from training other body parts, you can really make a difference to your abs and do it safely!
Lay on your back and slowly raise your legs until they point straight upwards. Hold for a second and then slowly lower them down to the floor. To add variation, you can slowly do the splits at the top of the motion before putting your legs back together and lowering them down. Whichever way you do it, do them slowly and remain in control at all times.
Planking is basically putting your body in a position where your abdominal muscles are under tension, and then holding that position for a period of time. The following 5 pictures will give you an idea of some great ones to do – simply hold each position for 60 seconds and you’ll be doing really well. Well, that’s all for today – thanks for reading and enjoy your training!