Six Pack Myths

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Six Pack Myths

Many men – and some women – want the famed “six pack abs” that we all see advertised on television fitness shows and websites. There are also advertisements for various packaged supplements and meals, or exercise machines – everything from crunch machines to giant rubber balls. But how much of this really works? And what are some of the myths out there about six-pack abs? Many of these are designed more to get your money than to provide any real benefit.

Myth Number One

The first big myth is that you can get six-pack abs virtually overnight. Muscle takes time to build, no matter how hard you work. And it actually will build better with some rest in between workouts. Not too long a rest, of course, but alternating your workouts between cardio and weight-bearing will actually bring you bigger benefits that doing weight-bearing exercise every single day. So plan your workouts to take the biggest advantage of them, but keep in mind that your body needs time to re-build and refresh, as well as get rid of fat and build muscle. If you are intent on maximizing your ab workout, then work them hard by doing both straight crunches and also turning to an angle to work the lateral obliques. THEN give them a day to rest – they will almost certainly need it!

Myth Number Two

Another common myth is that abdominal exercises will “melt away” any surrounding fat. Not true. Fat is fat and muscle is muscle, and the only way to “melt” fat is to burn more calories than you take in. There is no difference whether you burn those calories via abdominal exercises, by swimming, running, or horseback riding. You simply have to burn more calories than you take in. Abdominal exercises will, of course, build abdominal muscle, so exercising your abs while losing weight will help you build those core muscles so they are ready to shine when the excess fat is gone.

Myth Number Three

Ever heard this myth – sit-ups are all you need? Not true! Actually, full sit-ups do not work your abs as well as crunches do. Once you have raised your upper body past a certain point, your hip flexor muscles take over from the abs and you do not receive that specific benefit from your workout. If you really want to give your abs a workout, try this variation on the crunch: crunch up to your left side, then down, then crunch to the center, go down, and finally crunch to the right and go down. That counts as one rep. Do the crunches at a controlled pace, and you get a fabulous workout for those muscles.

The Most Dangerous Myth

And finally, probably the worst myth of all is that barbell twists will trim your obliques faster than anything else. Wrong. They are far more likely to give you a back injury than anything else. Remember, the barbells are pulling straight down by virtue of gravity, while you want to twist at an angle. All it takes is one incorrect twist on your part, and you just strained your back. Use angled crunches or a stability ball to work the obliques, rather than any type of weight. Give yourself a far better benefit and avoid the injury that the barbells can cause.

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