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AboutBrad Schoenfeld, CSCS is the author of six books, including Sculpting Her Body Perfect, 28-Day Body Shapeover, and Look Great Naked. He’s certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and by both the American Council on Exercise and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America; he’s also been named “master trainer” by the International Association of Fitness Professionals.
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No other body part gets more attention than the abs. Hands down, it's no contest. Unfortunately, there are more myths associated with the best way to trim and tone the midsection than any other body part. Falling prey to these myths not only diminishes results, but may also increase the potential for an injury.
So how do you go about deciphering ab training fact from fiction? Read on...
MYTH #1: Training the abs will give you a flat stomach.
Contrary to popular belief, you can't spot reduce fat. It's a physiologic impossibility. When you exercise, fat is utilized (i.e. burned) from all areas of the body; you can perform crunches until the cows come home but it will have virtually no effect on losing those love handles or blasting that beer belly. What's more, the calories expended during ab exercises are very low. There are far better exercises to expedite fat loss, particularly those that work multiple muscle groups such as squats, presses, and rows. Now training your abs will develop the underlying muscle, which is essential if you want that coveted "six pack." But if there is a layer of fat obscuring your muscles, no one will ever see what you've worked so hard to develop.
MYTH #2: The lower and upper abs are separate from one another.
The abs are one long sheath of muscle - not two separate entities. Any ab exercise you do is going to involve both the lower and upper abdominal areas. However, studies show you can shift the emphasis more toward the lower or upper regions by performing specific exercises. Specifically, exercises that bring the chest toward the pelvis (crunch-type exercises) target the upper region of the abs, while exercises that bring the pelvis toward the chest (reverse curls) target the lower abdominal region.
MYTH #3: You should perform ab exercises every day for best results. ... Continue
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