Ab Exercise Obsession - Are You Doing Too Much Ab Work?

Stop wasting your time on ab exercises that don't get results

Are you ab obsessed?
Are you ab obsessed?. Christoph Wilhelm / Getty Images

When it comes to workout routines, quick fix fitness tips and over-rated "must-do-exercise lists" many exercisers are getting caught up in the world of ab exercise obsession. Abdominal exercise is one of the most searched topics on the web. Even on this site, The Best and Worst Ab Exercises is one of the most popular articles. Why all this fuss about the abs, core, six-packs and endless planks and crunches?

Aside from the pure aesthetics of a nicely toned torso, there is actually something beneficial behind the  movement to build strong and toned core. The body's core, after all, is the foundation for nearly all physical movement. Our arms and legs need a strong base from which to move with power, agility and grace, and weak, unbalanced and undeveloped abdominals and other core stabilizer muscles makes every other movement less efficient.

Doing hours of crunches and other ab exercises as a way to reduce body fat and build the perfect "six-pack," however, is considered by many experts a waste of precious exercise time. Yes, ab exercise is essential, but going overboard with ab exercises, such as basic crunches, is pointless, because it dosn't provide the best return on your exercise investment.

How Much Ab Exercise Is Enough?
How much abdominal exercise you need is often dependent upon the sports you play or activities you do on a daily basis.

It also depends upon your lifestyle, what you do when you aren't playing sports, your previous injuries and even your biomechanics and typical movement patterns. If you have a particular predisposition to injuries, poor posture or particular anatomical issues that change gait, or range of motion, you may need to spend a bit more time building a strong core.

But even the most extreme athletes, though, only needs a short amount of time to target their abdominal and core muscles to the max. Where many people go wrong is by failing to work all the abdominal muscles properly.

Before you can design the best ab workout, it helps to understand the Abdominal Muscles - Where They Are and How They Work. You'll also want to combine exercises that target all the abdominal muscles — not just the rectus abdominus.

What Ab Exercises Should You Do?
One ab exercise routine that offers an ideal amount of ab work is the following:

  • Contract your abs and pull your belly button in toward your spine with each contraction.
  • Maintain a slow and controlled movement.
  • Support your head when you need to, but don't pull on your head or pull your chin to your chest.

Beyond Ab Exercises - You Need to Lose Fat to See Ab Definition
You can't lose body fat covering your abs by doing ab exercise. This concept, called "spot reduction," is one of the great fitness myths (see: Can I Lose Belly Fat by Doing Lots of Crunches?).

In order to get defined and visible abs, you need to reduce body fat all over. The best way to do this? Well, you already know. You'll need a balanced plan that incorporates a healthy diet and exercise routines that focus on strengthening your muscles and cardiovascular system.

There is no magic bullet, but there are some time-proven ways to Get Strong, Flat Abs. It requires consistency, good nutrition and efficient, high-intensity exercise, along with adequate rest.

Also See:

Continue Reading