The holy grail of workouts – The Ab Workout – adding 100 sit ups to your morning schedule will keep your belly flat and the six pack sizzling. There’s just one problem. You’ve been doing this and you still don’t have a six pack. In fact, you still have a belly you’re trying to lose, so what gives?
Abdominal exercises are great, core exercises are even better! But, doing them in isolation won’t rid your belly of fat to give you that sizzling six pack. However, a combination of core work, healthy eating and strength/cardio workouts will help you shred fat and then all the hard ab work you did will come shining through. But before we go into our 4 ab exercises, let’s look at some common questions and answer those:
1. Can you give me some ab exercises to focus on the lower part of my belly?
Answer: Possibly one of the most popular questions to divide the fitness industry. However, the short answer is you cannot isolate the upper and lower abdominal area of the abs – it is one muscle and works as such. However, there is an argument you can increase relative muscle activation based on technique and exercise selection.
The ‘lower portion’ of the abs tends to have greater activation when you are crunching/lifting the lower portion of the abs to the upper portion, so leg lifts and reverse curls. However, you will also be working the upper section of the abs at this time, and the same goes for the crunches you feel in the upper portion. It is impossible to isolate, so as with all training, variety is your best course of action and to use a mixture of abdominal/core exercises in your workout.
2. Why can’t I see my abs when I’ve been doing a 100 sit ups a day?
ANSWER: Because I’m afraid to say no amount of training the ‘lower abs’ will get rid of that little layer of fat or pouch that sits there. There is a common misconception around fat and muscle in that if you work a muscle it will burn fat in that area i.e. sit ups will burn belly fat. I’m afraid it just isn’t that simple. Muscle does not melt fat! Muscle, once developed, requires (as an entire muscular system) more calories to exist as rest and when active. Therefore, the more muscle you have overall, the more overall calories you will burn as a person, but it won’t be in a specific area. We can’t unfortunately ‘spot reduce’ So, the answer is to develop more overall muscle and burn more overall calories and the best course of action for this – and aa six pack – is a winning diet and a varied workout programme for the whole body to develop lean muscle.
3. What’s the difference between an ab work and a core workout? And which should I do?
ANSWER ‘Ab work’ generally speaking works your abdominals, or specifically your “6 pack” which is the rectus abdominis down the front of your belly. Your core incorporates: Your ‘6 pack’, your obliques at the side of your waist, muscles to support your spine and your transverse – which is like a corset running around your waist and draws your belly in. The ‘core’ is as described and the core of your body, and a strong core is responsible for not only aesthetics, but: preventing injury from training, positioning your body for the correct technique and preventing back pain. It is your engine to a fit and healthy body. That’s why Pilates and Yoga are not to be sniffed at when creating a well rounded workout programme.
4 EXERCISES YOU CAN ADD TO YOUR ABDOMINAL WORKOUT
Try adding these four ab exercises to your workouts and let us know how you get on, but remember… all the sit ups in the world when done alone won’t give you a six pack. What you need is an all round workout programme and winning diet.