Copyright (c) 2008 Ed Scow
I have logged thousands of personal training sessions over my career and everybody wants to know more about abs workouts and abs exercises.
My clients want to know how to lose stomach fat and get a six-pack, or at the very least they just want to lose stomach fat so they have a firm abs that look good in their clothes (and naked).
I can’t blame them. Who doesn’t want a nice looking midsection? Who doesn’t want to get firm abs or get lean enough they can say they have a six-pack.
The problem is that 99% of them all have the same misconceptions about abs workouts and abs exercises and how to really lose stomach fat and get firm abs.
I’ve narrowed down the mistakes, myths and misconceptions surrounding abs workouts and abs exercises to my top 3.
These 3 abs workout mistakes are made by just about everyone I’ve ever trained, designed a program for, or consulted.
Are you making these same mistakes?
1) Spending too much time doing crunches – I’m just going to come right out and say it…you don’t need to do crunches to get six pack abs and you sure as heck don’t need to do crunches to lose stomach fat or even get a firm abs.
Crunches simply don’t work enough muscle and don’t burn enough fat calories to be thought of as a worthwhile exercise in order to lose stomach fat, let alone get firm abs or a six-pack.
Spending 20 minutes a day doing hundreds (or thousands) of crunches is like electing Big Bird or Elmo president.
Sure they may sound good and have all the answers, but it just doesn’t make much sense electing a puppet to such a high office (sorry, that was my attempt at a joke).
Doing hundreds, or even thousands, of crunches will strengthen your abdomen, that’s for sure, but what does it matter if you still have a layer of flabby goo covering up all the hard work?
Instead you need to focus on full body workouts and full body abs exercises in order to lose stomach fat fast and get the firm, toned stomach or six pack abs you’re after.
Take for instance this abs workout, using only full body abs exercises, I designed for a client. Do this mini-circuit before your regular workout, when you’re still fresh, so you can really hit your abs hard.
1A) Dumbbell Overhead Squat – 10 reps
1B) Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds
1C) Reverse Plank – 30 seconds
Do that in a circuit format, resting 20 seconds after the final exercise before repeating it again 2 or 3 times. Do that for a few week and you’ll definitely see a difference in your abs and you will lose stomach fat.
2) Throwing all your hard work out the door by eating poorly – What good does it do to work so hard in your fat loss workouts only to come home, or leave your home gym, and eat junk?
What sense does it make that after all your hard work, you ruin it with poor eating habits on a daily basis? This is quite possibly one of the dumbest things you could do. I don’t mean to be rude, I’m just trying to put it bluntly.
If you want to lose stomach fat and get firm abs, or even six-pack abs, you need to clean up your diet and stop eating so poorly. You need to quit eating processed junk found in boxes and bags like crackers and chips, stop eating things like bagels and processed breads and start eating more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, legumes and healthy fats.
You also need to start eating multiple times throughout the day, and this especially means eating breakfast. It also means cutting out the late night snacking and cutting down on alcohol.
You know what to cut out, so do it.
Remember what your goals are. You want to lose stomach fat and you want to get firm abs. Eat like it!
3) Not actively flexing, or bracing, your abdominals in every exercise – It’s sad that I have to say this, but all too often, people don’t actively flex their abdominals while doing an abs exercise.
I don’t know why. You’d think that because you’re doing an abs exercise that you’d be flexing your abs hard every repetition, but too many people just go through the motions and to way too fast.
You need to slow down and actively flex your abdominals when you’re doing an abs exercise. And for every exercise that’s not an abs exercise, you need to brace them like somebody is about to punch you in the stomach.
Doing so will ensure that you learn to “control” your abs and make sure that when you do lose stomach fat that you’ll have a defined and toned midsection worthy of praise.
I also want you to think of it this way…every exercise should be an abs exercise. If you brace your abs during every single exercise in your fat loss workout, you’ll essentially turn every single exercise into an abs exercise. Doing a chest press, brace your abs. Doing a lunge, brace your abs. Every single exercise you do, whether you’re working your abs specifically or not, should be turned into an abs exercise.
If you stop making these vital abs workout and abs exercise mistakes, and start doing full body workouts with full body abs exercises, I guarantee that you’ll begin to lose stomach fat and get firm abs (and maybe even that sought after six-pack) in no time.