Why Are You Not Seeing Results
From Your Abdominal Program?
Your abs are an extension of the entire region that makes up
all the core muscles. If you are not seeing results with your
ab program, part of it may be diet, lack of sufficient cardiovascular
activity or your rep count.
The abdominal muscles work just like any other muscle and have
to be challenged as such. If you want muscular abdominals, you
have to challenge them with resistance and good form just like
you would your chest, your back or any other muscle for that matter.
Targeting the correct energy system is imperative. This means
you should never enter into the aerobic phase of this exercise,
ideally keeping it under 2 minutes at most. High rep counts (i.e.
200-300) will do little or nothing to stimulate strength and thickness
in any part of the abs.
Think of rolling a carpet and contracting fully on the top of
the movement and squeeze. If you do them correctly, you shouldn't
be able to do more than 30 repetitions of any abdominal exercise
(i.e reverse crunches, hanging leg raises, or any other). Any
more than that, and you're probably doing them half-azz, incorrectly
or with a partial range of motion. Moreover, entering into the
aerobic phase (2 min +)will prevent the majority of stimulus for
growth of muscle fibers rendering the exercise useless for its
intended target and goal.
For the lower abs, keep in mind there is very little muscle tissue
there so decreasing levels of body fat (via cardio and a great
diet) is the most effective way to bring out the best in this
area. Hanging leg raises, v-situps and reverse crunches are among
some of the best exercise for this region. Always make sure your
pelvis curls up to maximize lower abdominal contraction during
these exercises. If your pelvis does not curl up and your knees
do not bend, your hip flexors (psoas) will override almost all
efforts to contract your lower abdominals, especially during the
most critical stages of the movement.
As far as fat loss and getting cut goes, cardio, cardio, cardio.
Abdominal exercises alone will never burn fat from your abdominal
area. You must do cardiovascular exercise to accomplish this.
Cardio is best in the morning, on an empty stomach at about 70-80%
of your maximum heart rate for about 30-45 minutes (as long as
are acclimated to this level). This combined with a common sense
diet, strict time scheduling (i.e. last carb meal 6 hours before
bed and last meal 4 hours before bed) will quickly shed body fat
so you can actually see those abs you've worked so hard to build.
I would encourage you to seek the advice and guidance of a personal
trainer in your area for further education on these principles.
Please ensure you start off at a very basic level for crunches
and cardio if you are a beginner.
FitGuy is a certified trainer (NSCA-CPT/CSCS) and rehab specialist
who is also on the PreventDisease.com expert panel.