Ab Myths That Are Probably Ruining Your Progress

men and women doing sit ups

Ab Myths That Are Probably Ruining Your Progress

Everyone has abs, but they are often hidden under a pesky, sometimes dangerous, layer of body fat. However, there is not a singular way to get that picture-perfect six-pack, which is probably why the industry is rampant with ab-sculpting myths. 

Separate fact from fiction by educating yourself on six common ab myths and the truth behind them. 

You can focus primarily on your lower abs

focus on your abs

It is a common myth that you can zero in on the lower abs. The rectus abdominis –  better known as the six-pack – attaches at the bottom of your sternum and the crest of your pubic bone. It is a very long muscle and it is impossible to isolate just one part of it. Studies that have measured people exerting against a force have found that the upper and lower rectus do not work independently. The entire rectus acts like a rope with tension being equal throughout the entire length. 

If you are trying to target that extra layer of body fat, try a HIIT session, like Xperience’s Q Experience, to up your calorie burn. Then head to the store for some healthy, whole foods. 

Abs are made in the kitchen

abs are made with exercise and healthy food

Yes, eating healthy is a big portion of reducing body fat, but you will still need to head to the gym to see defined abs. The combination of exercising and eating healthy foods will both help reduce your body fat and create muscle definition. If you want sculpted abs, target your middle from every angle, adding total body moves and weights. 

You should keep your abs tight all day

do not keep you abs tight all day

Would you walk around all day with any one of your other muscles contracted? Keeping your abs constantly contracted can put extra pressure on your stomach, uterus, and bladder while also decreasing the volume of your lungs. Instead, train your core muscles correctly during your workouts and keep them engaged while doing the moves. 

You can either have carbs or abs

healthy whole grain bread

Bread and crop tops do not have to exist separately. Carbs, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, are part of a healthy diet. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those on a low-calorie diet who ate four to seven servings of whole grains a day lost twice as much abdominal fat as a similar diet group who ate less than one serving a day. The key is having a healthy amount of carbs (that are not refined) while eating lean protein and healthy fats. 

The larger the move, the more it firms the abs

refined ab exercises

Working your muscles through the entire range is definitely beneficial, but small contractions can also make a big difference. Think about doing a plank, an isometric move, that you do not move during but certainly feel the effect of. Plus, you are working all of your deep stabilizers – the multifidus (along the spine), transversus abdominis (360-degree band around your middle), and quadratus lumborum (along the back side of the abdominal wall). You are also increasing your metabolism by building heat internally. 

Abs are the center of the core

abs are not the center of the core

Obviously the abdominal muscles are very important, but the multifidus, pelvic floor, and diaphragm are your deepest core muscles. If they do not work well, all of your other moves will be that much weaker. Just as you would never build a house on a faulty foundation, you should not ignore these essential core muscles.