Three Abominable
Abdominal Training Myths

Is Your Abdominal Training
Unsafe And Ineffective
Because of These Three Popular
Abdomen Training Myths?

 

Abdominal training myth #1:
the most effective abdominal exercise is the crunch

The reason you and I hear about the crunch all the time is because it is safe for beginners and already popular.

Honestly, if I asked you which abdominal exercise came to your mind first when you thought of abdominal training, you probably would have said “the crunch”.

Since everyone can do at least a few crunches safely, every abdomen training authors mention it—you almost expect them to do so.

If the crunch is not the most effective abdominal exercise, which one is, then? My personal favorite is the Romanian Chair Crunch (for a video of me executing it, check out my abdominal training homepage).

This being said, crunches are good to begin abdominal training. Actually, if you’re a beginner, you should stick to crunches for 8 weeks and not attempt the Romanian Chair Crunch before your abdominal muscles are already conditioned.


Abdominal muscle training myth #2:

the more crunches you can do, the bestThis one applies to crunches as well as to every other abdomen training exercise: more is not better.

Probably because crunches are easy and you can quickly do more, you would think the obvious way to get better results is to do dozens, if not hundreds.

This is completely disconnected with basic training science, which tells us that muscle (including abdominal muscle) grows better when you execute an exercise between 8 and 12 times in a row before failing. And this applies to abdominal muscle training, too.

The key here is before failing.

What that means is that, when training your abdominals, your 12th repetition should be your last. You shouldn’t be able to complete a 13th, even if you tried with all your might.

To do this, you obviously need an abdomen exercise harder than the crunch, or at least a way to make the crunch harder. This is covered in my abdominal training progression article.


Abdomen training myth #3:
abdominal muscle training should be done every day

Since after a few weeks of abdominal training crunches become easy, and since you can quickly do a few dozens, the next evident step is to begin daily abdomen training.

Can you see a pattern emerging here? The emphasis is on… quantity, and not quality.

Once you make your crunch harder or adopt harder abdominal exercises, and when you aim to fail after the 12th repetition, your abdomen will actually feel sore and tired between workouts. That—in some ways—is a good sign: it means you made it work.

Consequently, you will by no mean want to perform abdominal muscle training daily because now that you’re training intensely, your abdominal muscles need time to recover between workouts.

And remember: your abdominals grow between workouts, not while you train them. That’s right: training your abdominals exhausts them.

See for yourself: try performing two abdominal training workouts in a row—your abdomen will feel tired and weak during the second abdominal training workout.

That’s proof that training—temporarily—weaken your abdominal muscles, and that you should give your abdomen at least one day off between every abdominal training session.

For example, training your abdominal muscles Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is smart, whereas training your abdomen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday is not.

For more abdominal training advice, I suggest you sign up for my newsletter below.

All my best,

-Carl Juneau
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