Health & Safety

May 17, 2012

When push comes to crunch: abdominal workout

by ACE Fitness
Photo courtesy of

Abdominal training has developed a lot over  the past 20 years. Straight legged sit ups and straight leg raises became bent knee sit ups, crunches and now to the abdominal and drawing exercises on fit balls.

FIT BALLS – Fit balls have been a useful training tool for abdominals and stabilisers when sitting on a fit ball. However, after you have worked out on the fit ball, you have to be able to get up and walk up and down stairs, squat to pick things up off the ground, run, jump and duck when needed, with control and stability. All of these actions have to be performed without the aid of a fit ball. Therefore wouldn’t it be more beneficial to perform these actions without the aid of a fit ball ? Abdominal exercises do not burn fat or reduce fat off our waist, they will have little, if any effect on building muscles, as the overload is far to low and number of repetitions performed are far too high, to stimulate any physiological adaptations resulting in an increase in strength and muscle.

WHAT DO THE ABS DO  – The function of the abdominal muscle group, is to stabilise the pelvis and the lower back region and to protect the lower back from injury whilst doing daily and physical activities. Therefore, the most effective abdominal exercises are exercises that overload the abdominals while the body is doing full body functional movements. EG. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, pushups, chin ups and dips. These are all compound exercises. Every compound exercise you do while weight training is a very effective abdominal exercise. When these movements are overloaded with a weight, all the muscles responsible for the action are overloaded and strengthened accordingly, especially the abdominals. Also doing the above compound exercises put your body in a position where there is a need for the pelvis and lower back to be stabilised by the abdominals. The overload is high, effective and functional. Any abdominal work performed on the floor does not compare as there is no requirement for the pelvis and lower back to be stabilised as they are being supported by the floor.

HOW TO GET FAT OFF MY ABS – If you wish to burn fat off your stomach, then adapt your eating patterns accordingly and include some cardiovascular exercise to burn off extra calories. Fat is like petrol in a car. If you wish to burn it off, then get the car out of the garage, start the engine up and take the car driving. The further you drive the car, the more petrol you burn. Doing specific exercises for abdominal (eg. Crunches, sit ups. ), is like going up to the car when it is in the garage and opening and shutting the bonnet. It does not burn fuel, however it will wear out the hinges.

IN CONCLUSION – To achieve optimal fat loss off your abs, you must work on the engine (weight train) and take the car driving (cardiovascular training).

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