Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Get 6-Pack Abs Without Doing A Single Crunch or Sit-up!

OK lets face it - most if not all people want a flat, lean midsection. But for the majority no amount of crunches or sit-ups seems to get the job done. Have you ever heard this or asked this yourself?

“I do hundreds of crunches and sit-ups a day and I still have a flabby midsection. What gives?”

Well, before I reveal your six-pack abs blueprint, let’s first debunk some very important myths about how to get six-pack abs:

Myth#1 - Weight loss is the key to seeing your abs


The key to seeing your abs is fat loss, not weight loss. Seems like semantics but hear me out. Your body consists of fat mass and lean body mass (water, muscle, bone, organs, etc.). You want to minimize your fat mass and maximize your lean body mass to build a roaring metabolism: one that eats away at your fat stores and builds muscle like clockwork. By improving body composition you will put yourself in the best position to obtained that oh so desired six-pack.

So if you lose 17 lbs on the scale at the expense of losing some lean muscle mass in the process you will end up slowing your metabolism, decreasing performance, and losing that good looking muscle tone. But if you lose 17 lbs on the scale and you manage to keep or gain lean muscle mass you will increase performance, see more visible definition throughout your body, and lose primarily body fat.

The scale can be misleading as there are a number of variables to account for that lead to frequent fluctuations such as hydration levels, sodium intake, and for women the menstrual cycle. If you are going to keep a scale at home DO NOT get on it everyday, every other day or even every week. It is such an anchor, particularly for women. Get off the scale and get over the numbers. The true goal is fat loss, not weight loss. Focus on clothing size reduction, digital before and after pictures, and of course the mirror for the most accurate progress tracking. Don't get me wrong the scale has its place and is important but it should not be the thing you put all your faith in.

Myth#2 - Do lots of abs work to preferentially burn off stomach fat


Spot reduction doesn’t work. You can’t just work the muscles of a certain area of your body and expect to have the fat in that region go away. Think about it: almost everyone does crunches but proportionately very few people perform total body workouts. So, with all of these crunches, we’d expect to see nothing but people with flat tummies and fat depots everywhere else on their body (arms, legs, etc.). But think of how many people you know and see on a regular basis whom have more than a few inches to lose in their midsection. See what I mean - spot reduction doesn’t work!

The thing is, your body loses fat in a genetically pre-determined way when there is the appropriate caloric deficit AND hormonal environment created by proper eating and training. So your best approach would be: burn as many calories during your workouts as possible by engaging your whole body each and every training session (not just your abs) so you charge up your metabolism and continue burning an elevated amount of calories AFTER your workout. Compound, multi-joint movements like squats, push-ups, lunges, etc. (or better yet, total body exercises like squat to presses) burn a lot more calories than isolation movements like crunches and sit-ups. So be sure to focus on these movements first and then if you have time, you can do some extra core work.

Myth#3 - Crunches and Sit-ups are the best exercises for your abs


The scientific term for your six-pack muscles are your rectus abdominis. For years now, we have been conditioned to think that the best way to work your rectus abdominis is by doing endless crunches and sit-ups since these trunk flexion exercises make the muscles you want to see in the mirror “burn.” However, the true function of the rectus abdominis is to prevent hyperextension (excessive back bending of the spine), not to flex forward over and over again. Anytime you brace your abs (think slight crunch before you get punched in the gut) and pull your navel into your spine you effectively stabilize your spine into a safe, neutral position. And the moment you relax your abs and lose that braced abs position, your back will begin to hyperextend putting you at greater risk for injury.

To create the best looking and strong midsection focus on stabilization exercises in all three planes of movement (saggital - front to back, frontal - side to side, and transverse - rotational) by using pillar exercise variations (also know as planks). Besides training the true “anti-extension” function of your rectus abdominis or "six-pack" ab muscles, these bridging/stabilization exercises also activate the key transverse abdominus muscle, or your deep abdominal stabilizer, that wraps around your spine and supports your internal organs. Wanting to reduce back pain? Then strengthen these inner ab muscles as its key to optimal posture and performance in addition to injury prevention. Just another benefit to performing pillars over primitive crunches and sit-ups that often cause unwanted neck and back pain.

Myth#4 - Do lots of long-duration cardio to burn the fat covering your abs


Both scientific research and real world case studies show that aerobic training for fat loss alone doesn’t work. Total body resistance training is the true foundation of any solid fat loss plan. In addition, interval training, where you alternate between bouts of maximum effort and active recovery, is scientifically proven to burn more fat AFTER the workout than ordinary exercise. However why not perform both resistance interval training and cardio interval training to combine the best of both worlds? More on this to come!

Stay tuned for my next post where I continue where I left off and reveal The Anti-Crunch Six-Pack Abs Blueprint. The step-by-step process to take to get that tight, lean midsection you desire.

Until next time…

Resurrect your body back to life!



PS. Get your FREE 1-week trial to boot camp by emailing ResurrectYourBodyBootCamp@gmail.com.
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