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What male and female bodybuilders both want more than anything is the highly-desired “six-pack.” Even so, not everyone agrees on how to achieve that. There is quite a bit of misinformation out there that might hamper your progress if you’re not careful. For best results, you should avoid the following ab training myths.
This is perhaps one of the biggest ab training myths out there. While it is possible to develop your abdominals by doing exercises that target them, the muscles will still not be visible unless you have very low body fat. As little as 2 millimeters of fat over top of your abs is enough to hide them, meaning you won’t have a six-pack no matter how many crunches you do. You’ll need the right combination of diet, cardio, and ab training exercise if you are to burn off excess fat and make your abs pop.
Just because you need cardio exercise doesn’t mean you must do lots of it. In fact, excessive cardio may actually do more harm than good, as steady state cardio tends to burn calories only while you are exercising. As a result, your muscles are not stimulated enough so that your body recognizes they are needed. When this happens, your body will begin breaking down lean muscle for energy, and your efforts become counterproductive. Around 20 to 30 minutes of cardio is all that’s needed – any more than that and you will likely be working against yourself.
An extremely harmful ab training myth is that training this muscle every day is acceptable. Your abdominal muscles are the same as any other muscle in your body, and must therefore have ample time for recovery if they are to grow. What’s more, exercising them every day does not provide any significant reduction in belly fat. A study was performed on 24 people, who each performed seven different abdominal exercises five days per week over the course of six weeks. These individuals showed no loss in belly fat at the end of that time frame, and also did not see a change in the amount of overall body fat.
Performing endless repetitions of sit-ups or crunches will not develop your abs any more than hours of cardio will. The slow twitch fibers in your abdominals respond best to low weight/high repetition exercise, while the fast twitch ones prefer high weight/low repetition. This means that in order to maximize your results, you should include both high and low repetitions. The idea that you must perform high repetitions is an ab training myth that needs to be discarded altogether.
Following bad advice can make it next to impossible to meet your fitness goals. Having a well-defined midsection requires throwing off these ab training myths and instead following a sensible diet and exercise program that is designed to reduce fat and build muscle.