Slim legs, toned arms and a flat stomach – who doesn’t want that? A defined and visible six-pack has always been considered the epitome of healthy and fit and is sought after by women and men alike. A trained abdominal musculature not only looks visually beautiful, but also strengthens the back and improves our posture. But unfortunately, the abdomen is one of the biggest problem areas where we most often put on fat pads. You do crunches until you drop, work out like crazy every day and still nothing happens? Have you ever thought that maybe you’re doing something wrong when it comes to working out? To help you achieve your fitness goals and show off your toned six-pack this summer, we’ll reveal the most common abdominal workout mistakes each of us has made in our article.
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Abdominal workout mistakes: you do the exercises incorrectly
Whether you’re looking to tone the abdomen, legs, or butt, performing the exercises cleanly and maintaining proper posture are key to any workout. There is a whole range of great abdominal exercises. But they only become effective if you perform them correctly. Especially when starting out, some mistakes are bound to happen at the beginning of abdominal training. An incorrect technique is not only at the expense of our success, but can also significantly increase the risk of neck and back injuries. Here is a brief overview of the most common abdominal workout mistakes:
- Always perform the exercises without momentum and make sure that the strength always comes from the abdomen. Rather, work slowly and do not overstretch your body. Also pay attention to your breathing when performing: when tensing, exhale and when relaxing – inhale. So, you need to be present in the moment and focus only on the workout and the correct technique. To benefit from the workout, you should also make sure that you engage the right muscles.
- Avoid arching your back. Especially when doing abdominal exercises lying down, you should always make sure that your lower back stays firmly on the ground and does not form a hollow back. Especially in the beginning, this is one of the most common abdominal workout mistakes we make.
- Before you incorporate new abdominal exercises into your workout routine, first learn how to do them properly and which muscle group they target. To avoid this abdominal workout mistake, watch a few videos first or film yourself exercising with your phone. This way you can compare if you are doing it right or not. When doing an abdominal workout, the rule is to always tighten your stomach and pull your belly button towards your spine.
- One of the biggest mistakes in abdominal workout is to train only the straight abdominal muscles. But to get that long-awaited six-pack, you should also work the oblique abdominal muscles. There are many great exercises you could try for this as well. Different Plank variations, Russian Twist etc are great additions to your workout routine.
You do a lot of repetitions
The more reps you do, the faster the six pack will come? Unfortunately, that’s not true. Doing a high number of reps actually does very little and is undoubtedly one of the most common abdominal workout mistakes. It is much more important to challenge the abdominal muscles a little bit and still efficiently with the appropriate exercises. A short workout is indeed better than 200 crunches or sit-ups. As a basic rule, 4 sets of about 15-20 repetitions per set are perfectly sufficient to get your heart rate up and your abdomen toned.
You train the abdomen every day
Working out the abs every day is perhaps the biggest abdominal workout mistake. Many people tend to do a few abdominal exercises after each workout. Although this might feel like you’re making progress, it’s actually very counterproductive. Like any other muscle group, our abdominal muscles need time to recover after each workout session. Muscles don’t grow during a workout, but in the time after. Therefore, it is very important to always take a day or two break between workouts.
Abdominal workout mistake: you always do the same exercises
Doing the same exercises over and over again gets pretty boring in the long run. Our body gets used to the workout pretty quickly, so no training effect sets in. So, to make progress, you should constantly challenge yourself. Granted – each of us has a few favorite exercises that we like to do. But to tone the abdomen, we should add some variety to our routine and change the program every 4-6 weeks. So make it a little more fun and try some new crunches or plank variations . But more importantly, step it up! For example, try increasing the difficulty by adding weights.
You do not pay attention to your diet
Even the most demanding exercise program is of no use if we eat an unhealthy diet. Do you know the saying “Abs are made in the kitchen”? Well, it’s true. You won’t get a defined six pack from crunches and sit-ups alone, unfortunately. The decisive factor is the body fat percentage and this, of course, depends on our dietary habits. A taut belly is only recognizable from a body fat percentage below 20% for women and below 15% for men. However, this does not mean that you should eat less or go on a crash diet right away. It is much more important to pay attention to a balanced and varied diet.
And no, there is no magic food that can help you get toned abs in a few days. Or if you know of something like that, let us know too! So make sure you are eating enough complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins. An optimal diet plan consists of 55% carbohydrates, 30% fats and about 15% proteins.