The Truth About Abs
I’m going to dispel six common myths that are exploited to sell an un-suspecting public expensive gadgets that they do not need.
Myth 1 - you get abs by doing ab exercises
This is the worst myth. For 95% of you, doing crunches, situps, or ab machines will NOT get you abs. You already HAVE abs, if you didn’t your torso would be as limp as cooked spaghetti. The real problem is that your abs are hidden. To see a visible 6-pack you have to remove the fat that is covering your abs. Doing ab exercises will NOT remove this fat, only eating less and doing more cardio gets rid of the fat. Let me say that again, to get 6-pack abs you need to eat less and do more cardio! Grab the roll of skin/fat at your waist and pinch, how thick is it? If its more than 1/2″, that fat is the reason you don’t have a visible 6-pack!
Now if you you skinfold measurement over your lower abs is less than 1/4″ and you still have no 6-pack, count your blessings! Your problem is much easier to solve, for you, you need to make your ab muscles bigger thru ab exercises using heavy weight and low reps as with any muscle group that you want to make grow. Here is a great hard core ab workout you can do to make your ab muscles bigger.
Myth 2 – you can get abs in just 8 minutes a day
If you could get abs in 8 minutes a day then everyone would have them!!! As I explained in the last myth, to get 6-pack abs you have to lose weight, not do ab exercises. There are 6min ab programs, 8min ab programs, 5min ab programs and NONE of them will give you six pack abs unless you lose bodyfat.
Myth 3 – you can do spot fat removal
Where did this stupid myth get started? I get dozens of emails each week from people asking for exercises to remove love handles or belly fat. You CANT do spot fat removal! If you have love handles all you can do is keep reducing your bodyfat by eating less and doing more cardio till they disappear. Your body decides where the fat will come off and there’s not a dang thing you can do about it. Just keep reducing the bodyfat till the love handles go away. I’ve seen people completely wasting their time doing 50 minutes of hanging leg raises thinking it would give them lower abs, they would be much better off doing 50 minutes of jogging.
Myth 4 – to get 6-pack abs you need to buy something
If getting abs were as easy as buying something, everybody would have them! There is no end to these wishful (and expensive) devices. They all have one thing in common though, its the false idea that YOU don’t have to do anything – you can just sit back, relax and let something else do the work. These schemes vary from low tech to high tech. Low tech cheap examples are fat-suits and fat belts – complete waste of money. Or in the -50′s they had these wall mounted vibrating belts and women would just read magazines or blow dry their hair while the machine shook their toosh. These schemes get really high tech too, the expensive electro stimulation machines. These are advertised as giving you abs while you go about your daily activities. These schemes are not limited to machines. Pills, books, newsletters are all sold with the promise of giving you abs without having to work – WRONG. Don’t let your desire to get abs quickly and easily tempt you to waste money on some useless device, pill, book or newsletter.
Myth 5 – For lower abs you need to do special exercises
People often get the upper 4 abs, then they wonder what exercise they should do to get lower abs – I get this question ALL the time. There are no special exercises to work the lower abs, its just a matter of removing the fat over them. And remember myth #3, you cant do spot fat removal. If you want to see your lower abs so that you have a 6-pack or a 8-pack then you have to reduce your bodyfat even more thru eating less and doing more cardio. The first place the body stores fat is in the belly button region, and that just happens to be over the lower abs. Even in someone who is reasonably lean like myself, the fat over the lower abs can be twice thick as the fat over the upper abs. Check this out for yourself. Check you skinfold over the upper abs, mine is about 3/8″. Now check it over the lower abs, mine is twice as thick, almost 3/4″ . THAT is the reason lower abs are so tough to see because very few people can get lean enough so that they show.
Myth 6 – Getting abs requires long, grueling ab workouts
I’ve seen many of these ab workouts on youtube, the one where some ripped 19 year old does every ab exercise in the world consecutively without any rest and claims that’s what it takes to look like him – nonsense. These 30-60 marathon minute ab workouts will give you strong abs but they are a waste of time if you are trying to get a visible 6-pack. If you want a 6-pack you would be much better off spending that 60 minutes jogging than doing ab exercises. Part of peoples confusion is that they mistakenly believe that ab exercises constitute cardiovascular exercise and thus can burn off fat, they are not! To burn off fat you need to elevate your heart rate into the weight loss zone, and to do that you need to use large muscles strenuously like using your quads in running or cycling. The abs are a very small muscle and no ab machine can elevate your heart rate sufficiently to lose weight. please see my video “What is good cardio?”
So why do abdominal exercises?
So am I saying that ab exercises are a waste of time? NO! Absolutely not. What I’m saying is that if you want to have a tight waist and see washboard abs, you have to reduce bodyfat by eating less and doing daily cardiovascular exercise. Doing ab exercises is very important but not necessarily for getting a 6-pack. Doing ab exercises is really important for two reasons. First to reduce chance of lower back injury, strong abs takes your spaghetti-like spine and make it a steel i-beam. The second reason to do ab exercises is to improve your sports performance. Almost every single sport benefits from strong abs. Ab strength provides a surprising amount of power in hitting sports like baseball and golf and in punching sports like boxing and the martial arts.
Let me give you some references here. If you want to do ab exercises, then let me recommend two videos. The first is a video on how to do a basic crunch, this is the king of all ab exercises. The second video shows you how to do bicycles which is a combination ab and oblique exercise. Now, as far as losing weight I’m going to recommend my two part video“6-pack abs fast” part 1 and “6-pack abs fast” part 2. By the way, the title is a joke – there is no such thing as six pack abs fast. Getting 6-pack abs is simple but its a lot of work.
So that’s it, that’s the truth about abs. If you want to see 6-pack abs – eat less and exercise more. And please, please, please don’t waste your money on infomercial devices, newsletters, or pills!