Five Mistakes that are Stopping You Getting a Lean Stomach

*Mistake number one:*

*Thinking that abdominal (ab) workouts will give you a six pack…*

Following correct nutritional and exercise protocols will help you to achieve a six pack and flat stomach. Doing hundreds of sit-ups or crunches won’t. A combination of full body resistance training, aerobic exercise and correct nutrition will be far more effective for fat loss than 100 sit-ups a day.

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*Mistake number two:*

*Lying down for abdominal work…*

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The idea of abdominal training is to strengthen the core muscles. These wrap around the body between the ribs and the pelvis. Conditioning the core is best achieved by using a variety of angles and exercises that duplicate everyday movements. Seated, standing and moving abdominal exercises are therefore far more beneficial for conditioning the core muscles than just exercising lying on the ground.

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*Mistake number three:*

*High repetition (rep) ab exercises are best…*

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The abdominal and core muscles respond best to a variety of exercises and rep ranges. A lot of people seem to think that the more sit-ups they do, the better, and perform 20-50 reps per set. For the best response in abdominal conditioning, you need to employ a variety of rep ranges and exercises.

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*Mistake number four:*

*Using only bodyweight…*

To effectively strengthen the abs, you need to apply tension to the muscles. Unless you are a beginner at ab exercises, your body weight will no longer be sufficient enough to strengthen the muscles. This is the time that adding weights to your workouts becomes crucial. Use the weights in the same way you would with any other exercise; i.e. look to increase the resistance as soon as you can safely perform the required amount of reps / sets as per your programme.

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*Mistake number five:*

*Not planning your ab work outs…*

A lot of people don’t plan their ab workouts properly and instead do them as an afterthought at the end of their training session. Plan your abs as you would any other body part and use a variety of exercise parameters. Vary the reps, sets and weight load to get the maximum from your training. Try 5 sets of 5 reps, 6 sets of 8 and adding more weight. There are a multitude of possibilities!

There we have it – five common ab-training mistakes put to rest. Don’t forget to try what you have read here and if we ever see you doing body weight crunches on the Fitness First floor again- watch out!