5 Myths About Getting Six-Pack Abs
Many guys want six-pack abs, and some even work hard to get them. If you’re one of those guys, there’s a good chance you’re doing it wrong. Here’s why.
By Michael Irons
MYTH #3: DOING 100 CRUNCHES IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO
Crunches only hit a specific area of your abs. To get shredded, you need to exhaust the rectus abdominis (upper and lower), obliques (side), and the transverse abdominis (beneath the rectus abdominis). Doing crunches doesn’t hit all four areas. This routine does:
|EXERCISE||SETS / REPS||REST|
|Machine Crunch||2 / 10, 12||1 minute|
|Decline Bench Crunch||3 / 15, 15, 15||1 minutes|
|Scissor Kick||2 / 12, 12||1 minute|
|*Russian Twist||2 / 15, 20||1 minute|
*Russian Twist: Grab a medicine ball or dumbbell; sit on the floor with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees; hold the weight straight out in front of you and keep your back straight. Then twist as far as you can to the left, then to the right. That’s one rep.
MYTH #4: YOU HAVE TO STARVE YOURSELF
We actually all have abs — it’s just that for most people, they’re covered by a layer of fat. But that doesn’t mean the solution is to starve yourself. Instead, eat four to six smaller, protein-centric meals per day. If you can, snack on something healthy — a handful of peanuts, an apple, etc. — every few hours. Set an alarm if you have to (seriously). This should help keep your metabolism working at an optimal rate. Plus, having more frequent and smaller meals will help prevent you from overeating.
MYTH #5: DOING REPS FASTER WILL GET YOU EVEN RIPPED-ER
This is actually half true. Slow and steady is usually recommended when exercising because it limits the use of momentum and affords you better control to prevent injuries. But research shows you’re better off varying your rep speeds when it comes to abs. A 2008 study found that the muscle activity in all four abs groups increased when reps were performed more quickly. Thing is, they also found that when reps were done at a moderate pace, the external obliques were engaged more than six times as much, even though they were hardly involved in the movement. Translation: Vary speeds to get both benefits.