Why Ab Exercises Aren’t the Way to Go When You Want to Lose your Gut

by Contributing Writer

Having six-pack abs is probably one of the most desired goals for people who want to get fit. It’s something we associate with being in great shape. Companies within the fitness industry are well aware of this, which is why you see so many products and workout programs promising washboard abs if you buy what they’re selling. The secret to getting six-pack abs is such a popular topic that it trumps articles catering to guys wanting to build a bigger chest and women wanting to “tone” their butt. You want people to buy your products? A six-pack training article is just the ticket. So to follow suit, I’m going to give you the ultimate six-pack exercise secret:

Training the core doesn’t really matter.

The myth of spot reduction still runs rampant, despite plenty of expert sources in the industry that have debunked the myth. Everyone has abdominal muscles. A full eight-pack even. It’s just a matter of stripping the body fat that surrounds it to make them visible. For the average person, losing belly fat won’t happen any faster if you do more leg raises, crunches and Russian twists. It depends on two things: diet and the right kind of exercise.

Diet
You can train all you want – in any way you want to. If you’re not eating well, however, your visual results will suffer. Try to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, lower amounts of sugar (that’s usually the culprit) and good quality carbs such as rolled oats, vegetables or quinoa. Aim to consume most of your carbs after your workout. Your muscles will be more sensitive to carbs and insulin than your fat cells at that time. This will be a make-or-break factor as to whether your abdominal muscles will show. The truth is, that goes for any muscle.

And I lied about training not being a factor. Proper training can harmonize very well with the effects of a proper diet, which brings me to my next point.

The Right Kind of Exercise
As I mentioned, training the core in 25 different ways will barely yield results when it comes to abdominal muscle visibility. A better approach would be to train with compound movements, accompanied by a clean diet. Compound movements are multi-joint exercises, such as the squat, dead lift, lunge, overhead press, pullup and row. Not only are these exercises great for gaining strength, but they burn more calories because they activate more joints and, therefore, increase the metabolic demand. The result is a spike in your metabolic rate, which helps burn fat during and after your workouts.

By this point, you may have correctly guessed that you can’t choose where your body will shed fat, so we might as well stimulate total fat loss. Pair up the exercises, keep the heart rate up and rest intervals low between sets to optimize your training for fat loss.

Try this circuit training workout three times per week as a basic example to see what I mean:

Vertical Push/Pull Circuit

  1. Goblet Squat – 12 reps

    http://www.youtube.com/embed/4SqhCDjkYfk/

    2. Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups – 10 reps
  2. Overhead Press – 10 reps

Complete five total rounds. Rest 60 to 75 seconds between rounds, but don’t rest at all between exercises within a round.

For the first and last exercise, use weight that you can’t lift for too many more than the desired reps. Ten-pound squats and 5-pound overhead presses won’t do the job here. This workout should leave you spent!

Your six-pack isn’t going to appear overnight, so be patient and stay consistent. Combine a clean diet with the right training and you’ll be on the right path to achieving your goal.

Photo credits: Getty Creative