Getting six pack is maybe the main reason why people start going to the gym. It is the sign of fitness, strength and they are so sexy.
I know people who train their abs everyday thinking they will reach their goals this way faster. And I know guys who just start shaping their midsection before the summer time to look cool on the beach.
It is not hard to find tips on how to build six pack abs, but here I would like to focus on the typical mistakes people do when training their abs.
1. Neglecting the abs workout
Has it ever happened to you that after a hard training you did not have the energy to work your abs? So, you just neglected it?
There is no question that the abs workout is not an enjoyable thing for most of us. It is dull and hard, isn’t it?
Maybe these are the main reasons why we like putting this training at the end of the workout when we are tired both physically and mentally. And because of this, we are more like to say ourselves “I postpone this abs workout now, but the next time I will kill my stomach.” And the next time just the same happens or you just do a few crunches or leg raises to get yourself at ease.
Not properly strengthening your core muscles is a huge mistake! Not just because of those six pack, but because those muscles are vital for every move you do no matter what sport you are in. Plus, they help your body to have proper posture.
What are the solutions for this mistake?
- Start your workout with abs training. This way you have the energy to do the right number of sets, reps and you can perform the moves correctly.
- Push yourself to the maximum. When you train your chest or your arms you work out like mad, don’t you? You should do the same with your abs.
- If you are a lack of time, you can do supersets with other muscles groups.
- How many sets you do when you train your chest? I’m sure not fewer than 12. Just do the same with your abs. Have 12-15 sets at least twice a week and focus on your abdominal workout as if you are doing a chest session.
2. You do abs workout to burn belly fat
This is another common mistake. People think that by training their abs day in day out, they will be able to lose belly fat. If you want to get lean midsection, it is better to focus on your diet instead of doing hundreds of crunches.
Everyone has abdominal muscles, and it depends on us how much we let be visible. If your tummy is covered with fat, no matter how strong or defined your abs muscles are, you will never see them.
It is a simple fact that the lower your body fat is, the more will be seen from your abdominal muscles. Men should have about 12%, and women should have about 15% body fat to have visible abs. But, to get killer results, men should have about 8-10% and women 12%.
What are the solutions to these problems?
- Do aerobic and high interval training at the end of your workouts or anytime on an empty stomach. Find fat burning workouts here.
- Pay attention to your diet. Get the right type and amount of good carbs and fats, and also have enough protein.
Recommended: Nutrition and workout tips to lose stomach fat
3. Unsatisfying intensity
How many reps of squat or bench press you usually do? In most of the cases, the answer is between 5-12. Then why would you do 30-50 reps for your abs?
Most of the trainees are searching for the burning feeling in their tummy instead of increasing the resistance as we do with all other muscles groups.
What does this mean?
- Work your abs in a way to make them larger instead making them defined. If those abs muscles are not powerful and big, those grooves between them will never be deep. And that is required for six pack abs. Once you have a low level fat and big abdominal muscles, then you can continue with toning them.
- Also, combine 2-3 abdominal exercises into a superset with a little rest as possible between them. For example, do 10 leg raise, right after 10 windshield wiper, and right after 15 crunches. Do 3-4 rounds of those supersets to get the best results.
- Finally, do 15-20 reps. If you feel you can easily do those number of reps easily, increase the resistance by using weights. For example, when you do crunches put a weight plate on your chest.
4. Bad technique
Like with all other exercises to stimulate the muscles (and prevent injuries) you should focus on performing the exercises for abs correctly.
What are the solutions to these mistakes?
- Do the moves slowly at a steady pace and focus on your abdominal muscles.
- Visualize how your abdominal muscles anatomically work while you do the movement at every repetition.
- Since most of the abdominal exercises are short ones, it is important to flex your muscles and breathe out when the muscles are in the traction state.
- And if you are a beginner, of course, learn how to make the moves correctly.
5. You do exercises that train only the upper abs
In most of the cases, people do exercises that train mainly the upper part of the Rectus Abdominis. But if you want a developed midsection you should work the other four parts as well. These are the lower Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique and the Transverse Abdominis.
What should you do?
- To train your lower abs do leg raises and reverse crunches. You can good exercises to engage lower abs here.
- While the Transversus abdominis is not visible at all, it is vital for the correct posture and to keep the stomach flat. The best moves for training this section are the various planks.
- To train your internal and external oblique, you should do exercises that work those side muscles. For example, ones when you have to rotate your upper body, but you can use machines that turn your lower body. You can find effective oblique workouts here.
So, these are the typical abs workout mistakes people usually commit. If you are not among those people for whom it is easy to get six pack abs just follow the tips above and you will develop for sure.
6. You just do crunches and sit-ups
These are the two most well-known abs exercises for sure, but there are far more.
Why should you do more types of activities?
Once, doing the same moves all the time is tedious.
Secondly, the different moves train your abs in different ways. There are moves which are better for the rectus abdominis or the oblique. Also, there are harder ones and easier ones letting you do more reps and sets.
For example, my favorite abs exercises are the various hanging leg raises, planks, and mountain climbers.
Also, I change the reps and sets regularly, and sometimes I use weights to increase the resistance. My core training is really versatile, but I’m proud of the strength of my midsection. (Even if I still have a thin layer of fat on my stomach).
7. You rely too much on supplements
There are some safe products such as green tea extract that support the fat burning processes, but do not think you will get flat tummy just because you have them every day.
I tell you a secret. For most of us getting six pack is a long and hard way. There are no shortcuts!
You can reach your goal with a well-organized workout routine, having enough rest and a diet that helps to lower your body fat index.
8. You think if you train your abs a lot, nutrition is not important
If you eat junk all the time, you will never have a healthy body (even if it is lean.) Your body will be like a dustbin. And sooner or later you will have health problems.
As it is said “Abs are made in the kitchen! It is not enough to pay attention to eating healthy foods. You should also focus on the portions. You can eat too much from healthy foods taking in more calories that your body can burn. As a result, you will not lose weight but gain it.
A rule thumb: if you eat more food than your body burn, you will gain weight. And you can forget the six pack abs!
9. Doing abs workouts everyday!
Your abdominal muscles are the same as the others in your body, so they need time to rest. If you train your abs each end every day, you will over-train those muscles for sure. For me, the 3-4 abs workout per a day works the best.
The genes, lifestyle, body type, age and many other factors are responsible for losing and gaining weight. So, it is not easy to give suggestions for everyone. However, there is one thing for sure. Do not follow those fad diets and gossips that telling you will be able to get six pack in no time without any effort from your side. You have to work and be dedicated.