Sit Ups For Abs? … Nope

What do you think the number one exercise is for getting great abs?

Crunches?

V sits?

Sit ups?

Sit ups right?

Nope, this is the common conception, I’ve thought it was the key to getting a six pack at some point and I’m sure most people do.

This is the question that I get asked a lot and no offence to anyone who has asked this but it is a frustrating question to be asked.

‘What exercise will get rid of this (point to the stomach)?’

There is no magic formula or no magic exercise which is just going to melt away stomach fat, sadly it’s not as easy as that.

The only way to melt stomach fat is to eat well and mix it with regular strength training and high intense cardio.

I’m not saying that core work isn’t important, I do 3 core sessions a week. Core strength is very important but it won’t get you abs on its own. We need core strength to be able to balance, stand upright, get up from a chair pretty much most things we do. SO keep up with core training but people just need to get over the perception that sit ups and crunches will get you a flat stomach without concentrating on their eating and other training.

Doing loads of sit ups will help to build up the ab muscles and can make you look even fatter if you don’t eat or train right! So please don’t think that sit ups will flatten your stomach it won’t. Sit ups are normally done through an excessive range of motion (the top phase) once you pass a certain point your abdominals are no longer engaged and it causes excessive pouching of the lower stomach.

Did you know you would have to do 250,000 crunches to burn 1 pound of fat!

Plus!

Sit ups are definitely not the best core exercise to do.

I would focus on planks, side planks, leg raises and squats long before you do sit ups, sit ups put unnecessary pressure on the neck especially when doing them from the floor.

Also something to try is throughout your day just constantly think about engaging your core and keeping good posture. This is a good habit to do and will help to stop you getting muscular problems further down the line.

From my work as a sports masseur the amount of office workers that I have seen with massive tension in their back and beck is crazy due to being sat in the same position every day with poor posture. Be aware of how you stand and how you sit, engage the abs, shoulders back and stay upright.

As I’m here I’ll give you a little bit more about our abdominal muscles and how to train them.

You don’t just have 6 abdominal muscles, there are four separate abdominal regions, all of which have different exercises that work them:

1.     Upper Abs – These can be worked by performing the basic crunch .. as stated try and stay away from sit ups. The toe touch / v-sit is another good exercise to strengthen your upper abs.

2.     Lower Abs – Hanging leg raises (roman chair needed) are a top way of strengthening your lower abs, these can also be performed using a pull up bar (try to avoid swinging), not recommended for beginners.

3.     Obliques – The oblique crunch unsurprisingly works your obliques (sides), the difference from a normal crunch is you bring your elbow to its opposite knee on each side. Remember to perform the same exercise on each side!

4.     Entire Core – Exercise ball crunches work your entire core so is a great exercise along with different plank variations.

So there is a bit more information and hopefully has shed a little bit of light on our abdominal region.

If your goal is to have a flat stomach then remember this is what you need to do:

  1. Eat a clean natural diet
  2. Perform regular full body strength training
  3. Perform high intense cardio training 2-5 times a week

Do all of those things and throw in a little bit of the core work you have learnt about today and you will be well on the way to a perfectly flat, toned stomach.

Good luck,

Jamie Stedman

PS I have several morning and midday personal training slots available as well as a Friday evening slot. Reply for more details. Can be 1 on 1 sessions or for groups of 3 indoors and 5 outdoors. 

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