A defined set of abs is a fitness asset that looks good on everyone. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it helps to provide structural balance and protect your internal organs. Having trouble building six-pack abs? The internet (probably) isn’t helping much. Here are the 8 most common mistakes to avoid when learning how to build a six pack.
1. Use Compound Exercises Only
There’s no argument from us: compound exercises like the squat and deadlift are essential for any fitness program. But when someone tells you this is all you need to build a six-pack, stop listening. Yes, compound exercises do activate your abs, but not to the extent of core-focused exercises such as woodchoppers, cable crunches, and side planks.
2. Diet Is All You Need
3. Use That Magic Supplement
No supplement in the world can compensate for a lack of training and poor eating habits. Supplements are there to complement a solid exercise program and diet.
4. Electrocute Your Abs
We’ve all seen that late-night ab builder that shocks your muscles. Don’t let the fitness models wearing it fool you: the only thing that ab belt is doing is contracting the muscle. You can do the same thing on your own by flexing your core. Sorry to break it to you, but you can’t build abs while on the couch.
5. Relying on Crunches
Several studies have been released over the last decade showing that the crunch is far from the best ab exercise you can do. Trade in your crunches for bicycles (bicycle crunches), captain’s chair leg lifts, and side to side twists.
6. Never Changing Your Routine
If you’re still using the same ab exercises, sets, repetitions, and weight from months ago, there’s no way you’ll see progress. You need to add variety to your ab workouts. This means trying new exercises, increasing the intensity, and performing more sets and repetitions.
7. Not Embracing the Transverse Plane
There are three planes of movement: forward (side to side), sagittal (front to back), and traverse (rotational). The ideal plane to work your abs is the transverse. Why? Not only will you activate more muscles in your core, but you’ll also build functional strength. For example, reaching down to pick something off the floor and twisting to place it on a shelf is a movement in the transverse plane. Try incorporating side to side twists and woodchoppers into your routine.
8. Spot Reducing
While there is evidence that spot reduction is possible, it’s difficult without the proper equipment. Instead of focusing only on the front of your stomach, you should have a full-body routine. You’ll maximize fat burning while building up your lean muscle.
If you want to know how to build a six pack, it’s not rocket science. Eat a healthy, calorie-deficit diet and perform a core-focused workout several times per week. Above all, be consistent.
Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.