It seems obvious. If you want a toned tummy, you need to do a ton of sit ups, right? That’s what you see on the late night infomercials with all of the different ab machines and videos. Gym goers seem to be apt to use all sorts of ab machines as well, just adding to the seeming evidence that all those exercises and machines are the way to a flat tummy. But don’t assume so fast.
It’s not necessarily what you think.
Science is not as simple as you may imagine. Unfortunately, as science has shown, you can’t pick and choose your body parts so easily. Targeted fat loss and spot reduction is a myth.
A 2007 study from the University of Connecticut had participants use a single-arm strength training program. They didn’t lose fat from one arm. They lost fat in general. In short, you can work one area, but your body will decide how to lose the fat. Likewise, a study at Los Lagos University in Osorno, Chile found that those who completed single leg exercises reduced fat, but it wasn’t necessarily in that one leg.
As JC Deen, creator of JCD fitness puts it,
Yes, exercise can burn fat. Trouble is, the body is not selective about where this fat, or fuel, comes from. The pattern in which fat leave your wondrous bodily temple is all up to Mother Nature. Our genetics are making the actual fat loss decisions for us.
This doesn’t mean that ab exercises are necessarily bad. You will be working that muscle. However, if you put your focus on full body exercises that also work your core, you are more likely to exert more energy to burn more calories, and therefore you get greater results than you would with a few crunches.
Crunches are bad for you. Yes, they’re the old go to when it comes to ab workouts, but they hurt your back, and they are extremely inefficient. You need a good ab workout though to stabilize the rest of your body believe it or not.
Brynn Jinnette, founder of the Refine Method explains it saying,
It’s your center pillar, the powerhouse of your body. Strengthening it will enable you to work harder in your exercise classes and move more safely throughout your day. If you’ve ever dreaded those back breaking crunches every day, you will be relieved to find out there are other options, better options.
You can start in the plank position with your feet on sliding discs. You can use a dish towel, slippery socks, and various other things that you have in the comfort of your own home for this. Use your core to slowly slide your feet in and pull your gluts up to the ceiling. Then use your abs to let them slide back out.
Plank With Open-and-Close Legs
Start in the plank position and slide your feet out wide and back. Keep your back flat during this time and your core activated. Your legs should be the only things moving.
Sliding Forearm Plank
Put the sliding discs of your choice under your forearms and start with a forearm plank. Keep your back flat, and then slide each forearms out and back one at a time. Switch off between the two.
Hold a kettlebell at home over your heard and stand with your feet hip width apart. Tighten your core and then lower one knee and then the other. Stand back up the same way.
Resistance Band Raise
Attach a resistance band between a door and a hook on a wall or another secure anchor of some kind. Keep your feet wider than your hips, with the band to one side. Hold onto the band with your hands together and then extend your arms straight in front of you. You activate your abs this whole time. Ben your elbows and move your firsts towards your chest. Then raise your firsts above your head. You can then lower yourself back to the starting position.