Well developed abdominal muscles have been the center of attention for decades in the fitness world and the admiration for them has spilled into the mainstream culture. They are a symbol of the ultimate fitness, a strong core and have become the most aesthetically pleasing part of the body.
Rarely can you find someone who doesn’t want to have six-pack abs. Studies conducted in recent years, have rated the abdominal muscles as the sexiest muscles a man can have.
That’s why they have become the most talked about muscle group, which is also the reason why much of the discussion regarding their training has become rife with various myths. These myths and partial truths ultimately prevent you from getting the midsection you’ve always wanted.
Here are the seven myths about abs that everyone should be aware of:
1. You shouldn’t eat carbs and fat
Every human has abdominal muscles, the reason we cannot see them in most people is because they are covered by either a thin or thick layer of fat.
That’s why most people mistakenly believe that once they drop the carbs and fats out of their diet, the fat will be burned off more easily. What they don’t realize is that our body uses carbs and fats as a source of energy it needs to function properly.
If you cut them out completely you are actually depriving the body of its essential nutrients. Getting on low-fat and carb diet has proven utterly disastrous for most people because it made them inefficient at executing the most basic daily tasks. The logic is simple; if you don’t feel ok, stop doing it.
2. Cardio Training
If you ask someone of the best way to get a six-pack they would usually respond by doing lots of cardio. They would say that cardio is very efficient at burning calories and speeding up the metabolism. The truth is most people despise cardio and refuse to do it. However, that’s not the end of the world. Luckily, there is a substitute for it.
The substitute is a weight training program and a clean diet that will mimic or even surpass the results that cardio training alone would give you. If you take up weight training you may need to consume fewer calories since you won’t be burning any extra calories you would usually be burning with cardio training.
3. Doing crunches will help you
One of the most prevalent myths regarding ab training is that crunches are the most optimal way to get a six-pack. You can see people doing crunches years on end and they still don’t have chiseled abs. That’s because crunches don’t burn that many calories.
There is a myriad of other exercises that can help you get a six-pack much more effectively like hanging leg raises, leg raises, Russian twists, reverse crunches, which help you burn more calories and will also strengthen your midsection.
4. Having a six-pack equals strong core
There is this false notion that you can only achieve a six-pack look if you have a strong midsection, or if you already have a strong midsection you will automatically have a six-pack.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Of course, strong core is a prerequisite to being very strong at the big compound lifts, but it is not necessarily related to the ab muscles.
They are mostly mutually exclusive. What that means is that you can have a chiseled midsection and have a weak core and vice versa. As we previously mentioned, having a six-pack is the result of having a low body fat over the abdominal muscles.
While a strong core will most definitely support you when doing abdominal exercises, it won’t necessarily mean you will have a six-pack.
5. You must train using high volume
When it comes to ab training there is this myth that you should be training with a high volume if you want to see quick results. You will see lots of people doing crunches and leg raises endlessly believing that will get them faster to their goal when actually none of that is required.
The truth is you should be training the abs like you would train any other muscle group.
Numerous studies have shown that abs are one of the muscle groups that are better stimulated when the rep range is a bit higher. For optimal results try going for 8 to 12 sets comprised of 3 or 4 different movements.
6. Weight training will harm you
The majority of people think that training with weights will derail you from the path to achieving a great set of abs. They mistakenly believe that it stresses the abdominal muscles too much.
But that is simply not true. If you train your abs using weights it will strengthen them and you’ll be doing that by training with a high intensity. Weight training makes your midsection defined and chiseled. It would be smart to train in the 15-20 rep range.
7. You should be training abs every day
People usually put abdominal training in the group of assistance work. They would usually do it every training day or whenever they feel like doing it or when they have enough time. That’s not how abdominal muscles should be trained. As mentioned previously, they should be treated like any other muscle group.
Considering they are a small muscle group, they should be trained between 2 to 3 times per week. Just because they are not sore after the workout, does not mean they have not been stimulated enough. They are a small muscle group which means that they need less time to recover and adapt to training much faster than big muscle groups.