6 Myths Busted: Exploring the Scientific Truths behind the Six Pack Abs

Staff Writer

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Demmy James – Over the past decade there has been a growing desire for having six pack abs. This desire has even caused people to get obsessed with the idea and cause them to have malnutrition due to starvation. Starving yourself of valuable nutrients is not only the wrong way to creating six pack abs, but also a dangerous method as well. Proper diet and training programs will help you reach this goal. However, the following 6 myths will probably not.

1. High Repetitions are a Necessity

The common hype these days is to perform an abundance of repetitions for abdominal training. People have even made it their goal to perform up to 500 repetitions involving the abdominal muscle. Though this is quite a feat; you should consider doing other things more productive. Your abdominal muscles are just like any other on your body. Too many reps mean you are not getting enough of an intense workout from just a few specific exercises.

Adding resistance would be one method to solving this dilemma. Weighted resistance on any muscle encourages better muscular growth over high repetitions. Low to moderate reps enable muscle hypertrophy while higher repetitions encourage muscular endurance. An easy way to add weighted resistance is through the use of a medicine ball or dumbbells during crunching movements.

Your bodyweight is a resistance too and capable of being able to cause better muscular growth when performing more difficult exercises. Slowly performing the crunch is intense on the abdominal muscles and stimulates better contractions opposed to quickly pushing out 25 repetitions.

2. Perform more Crunches Each Week

This could also be referred to as overtraining, which is when you train a muscle group or groups too often producing negative results. The common myth is that performing crunches every day of the week is highly effective and okay for your body. Targeting any muscle group for an entire week has been not very effective since the muscles are not being given a chance to rest and recover. Even though you are not using physical external resistance for abdominal training, you still need a 24 hour rest period if you perform intense workout routines with your abs. Performing crunches only 2-3 days of the week is more beneficial and keeps you from straining your abdominal muscles.

3. You have to Drastically Reduce Your Calorie Intake

Calories are often the enemy when it comes to developing six pack abs, and technically there is good reason to suspect that calories are the culprit to fat gains. However, severely dropping your calories is not in your best interest since your body needs nutrients to develop muscles just like when it comes to your biceps or calves. Obese patients go through drastic calorie deficits because they literally need to, but the average person only needs to make slight adjustments to their calorie intake when it comes to developing abs. Eat healthy and there really is not anything to worry about.

4. Sit-Ups and Crunches are the most Effective Exercises

Almost everyone is told to perform crunches and sit-ups if they want to develop six pack abs, but you should consider performing more intense exercises. For example, a great bodyweight exercise called the Russian twist is far more superior and also targets your oblique muscles as well. Then you also have planking variations which are proven to have a more effective usage of your abdominal muscles especially when compared to crunches and or sit-ups. Plus both of these exercises are not good for your spine and can cause future back pains. Incorporate them into your training program if you wish, but only perform a few sets and move on to other exercises.

5. Supplements Develop Six Pack Abs

This has become a major issue over the course of the past decade. Supplements are being relied on heavily these days for performance enhancement and fat loss purposes. Sadly there is no pill or powder that you can consume to create abdominal muscles despite the claims being made. They may assist with things such as providing energy for training harder or appetite suppression. However, a proper diet and training program are the only two things that lead to abdominal development. Supplements like green coffee bean extract are just not the right direction to go.

6. Spot Reduction Helps

The myth that spot reduction supports abdominal development is also a myth. This myth is a culmination of all the others in a way. You cannot focus on just abdominals if you truly wish to develop a six pack set of abs. Performing compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and the bench press are great for targeting your abdomen since it is a core muscle used for stability and energy exertion. Not being able to use these abdominal exercises appropriately for big lifts could hinder your progress in abdominal development. Your body will develop as a whole when you train properly, which you probably want since it would be odd to have a six pack with smaller arms and/or legs.

Diet Properly and Train Smartly

As mentioned, you only need to target your abdominal muscles 2-3 days max, and you may only want to consider one day of focus honestly. Core lifts are going to already be using them to perform actions that result in body movement, and a lot of isolation lifts even require your abs to contract to cause a movement to take place.

Carbohydrate consumption needs to be monitored since it leads to fat gains that hinder abdominal growth. You need to consume the right amount of carbs that will be used by the end of each day opposed to the ones that end up being stored as fat cells. You can accomplish this by eating more fiber dense carbs since they have a low amount of fat causing carbs. Try consuming vegetables and fruits over desserts and processed grains that contain sugar primarily.

More readings: 

15 Exercises that Doctors Would Never Do

Proper Dieting and Functional Training are a Lifestyle Choice

It’s Your First Day at the Gym: Here’s What to Do

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