Abs Exercise and Abs Workout Mistakes You Should NEVER Make
I recently received an email from an angry subscriber telling me that the abs exercises and abs workouts I give in my YouTube videos and in these newsletters are largely worthless.
He didn’t go into specifics and didn’t even tell me which ones he’s tried, but I can guess why he thought that.
All too many people think that abs exercises will shrink their belly…fast. Sorry, but you can’t spot reduce and it abs specific exercises won’t do too much in the way of losing stomach fat.
They’re very, very important, but very overrated.
You can’t spot reduce.
In case you can’t tell, I don’t instruct many people to do crunches. They’re a decent exercise, don’t get me wrong and they do have their place, but they’re largely ineffective and useless when it comes to getting a workout done in 4, 10 or 15 minutes. There are far better abs exercises that yield much better results in a lot less time.
Having said that, not many people know how to do abs exercises that don’t involve crunches, properly.
The other thing that many of my clients and subscribers have issues with when it comes to abs exercises (that don’t involve crunches) is that they don’t “activate” or “brace” their abs before and during the exercise.
They just haphazardly go through the motions and expect the exercise to work.
Working your abs is a lot different than working your biceps, for instance. Well, not a lot, but it is different.
If you want to work your biceps, you grab a dumbbell, and do some bicep curls. If that weight is heavy enough and you’re using decent form your biceps will be worked and you’ll “feel it”.
However if I tell you to get down and do a Plank, Mountain Climber, or other crunch free abs exercise and you don’t use excellent form and don’t actively brace your abs, you probably won’t even tell it’s working your stomach.
Another common mistake I see people making is sticking your butt in the air, letting your stomach sag and not bracing your abs when doing a Plank variation or other stability exercise. My boot camp ladies will tell you that one of my favorite phrases is “keep your butt down” and “no pyramids” when they’re doing Planks. It’s very easy to stick your butt up in the air while doing planks because that makes the exercise A LOT easier. There’s less work for your abs to do if you look like giant triangle.
The same goes with letting your stomach sag. Have you ever seen an old horse? You know how their stomach sags really low to the ground and their back is “U” shaped? That’s the way a lot of people do their planks. They don’t keep their stomachs tight and braced and let their stomachs sag like an old horse.
Stop doing that!
Not only does it make the exercise less effective, but it will kill your back.
When it comes to the Mountain Climber variations that I love so much, and love to make people do, the same rules apply. Don’t stick your butt in the air. Your body should be in a straight line from shoulders to toes. Your hips shouldn’t sag and your butt shouldn’t be up.
You also need to focus on your abs and keep them tight and actually concentrate on flexing them every time you bring your knee to your chest.
My clients will be the first ones to tell you that I’m always harping on them making sure they keep their tummies tight when doing an exercise that should be working their abs.
I can tell if they are or are not bracing their abs and keeping them tight.
You NEED to focus on this until it becomes a habit for you to maintain tension in your abs when doing abs exercises, or pretty much any exercise I prescribe.
Not only is it important for the effectiveness of the abs exercise, but it’s also important for the strength and health of your stomach and back. If you don’t brace your abs, you’re much more at risk for back pain…and you don’t want that.
So remember to always focus on keeping that tummy tight when doing any of the abs exercises I prescribe. It could make or break the look and feel of your stomach.
Have a great day!
P.S. – If you want to take a look at some of the videos that subscriber was bashing, check out my YouTube site at www.YouTube.com/ELSwellness. I’ve got 45 videos up there and many of them focus on the abs specifically.