Why Sit-Ups Might Actually be Making You Appear Fatter
Posted on 22nd February 2016 at 10:30
Today I’ll reveal why sit-ups and crunches won’t give you an instant 6-pack and explain why they might actually be making you appear fatter.
How many times have you said, or heard someone say, ‘I’m doing sit-ups to burn-off the fat around my stomach’. These people are in the gym every day, tirelessly crunching away until they are red in the face. Yet they never appear to ‘burn-off’ the fat from their mid-section, and in some cases they may even look worse.
When I used to work in a commercial gym, there was a gentleman (let’s call him Dave) who would come in every morning at 6:30am on the dot. He would walk over to the swiss-ball and proceed to spend the next 45 minutes doing ab exercises. Dave didn’t change in appearance the entire time I was working at that gym, and in the end I think he just gave up on his 6-pack dream, deciding that he actually enjoyed the social side of the gym more.
How many of you have actually considered what a crunch or sit-up actually does?
Sit-ups and crunches primarily work and area of your mid-section called the Rectus Abdominis, which are those nice aesthetically pleasing 6-pack muscles! But it is still a muscle, and it will grow if stimulated enough.
Unfortunately though, doing ab exercises won’t help you burn that stubborn belly fat. That’s just an old gym myth.
Now every single person, and I mean everyone has a 6-pack.
If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to do the most basic things like bend forward. If you can’t visibly see your 6-pack then there is simply fat covering it. Some people are genetically blessed and can sit easily at 15-18% body fat and will see their abs gleaming though. Others will have to drop well below 10-12% before they even see an outline.
If you are working a muscle that grows outwards and have a layer of fat covering the top of it, what do you think is going to happen?
The muscle will grow outwards underneath the fat and it will actually give the appearance that you have gained fat. It’s like having a thin blanket under your duvet on the bed. It’s there but you can’t see it.
Now add on 2 or 3 more thin blankets and what happens?
It’s pushed the duvet up and a ‘bump’ appears.
You haven’t added more duvet you have simply made what’s underneath ‘bigger’.
So what are my 4 top tips for getting a 6pack?
* Get your nutrition on point.
I’ve said this before and I will say it again. You can’t out train a bad diet. There is an old saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ and that couldn’t be more true. Your diet will dictate how much fat you lose, and the gym will set you up hormonally to speed up the progress and give you an aesthetic look to boot. Crunches and sit-ups I’m afraid do nothing.
* Train harder.
Instead of spending 15-20 minutes at the end of a workout doing abs, why not do some intervals? Or better yet add in 1, 2 or 3 more exercises in the gym at the end of your workout. Do them in a Tri-set format which is essentially a circuit. Do exercise 1, then go straight into 2 and then exercise 3. No rest between them. Rest for 45 seconds only at the end of exercise 3 then repeat again 3 times. I will explain in a later article how to properly structure tri and giant sets (giant set is 3 or more exercises back to back)
* Train your abs once your body is ready.
Once your nutrition and training is on point, and you can see the clear outline of your abs then that’s the time to start training them. Your body is clearly responding well to what you are doing and the excess fat will be gone shortly. This is the time to train the abs and get them ready for show.
* Don’t worry about core strength.
If you are a beginner and worried about ‘core strength’, don’t be. Lifting weights alone will improve your ‘core strength’. Your body will have to work hard to balance and stabilise you when you first start lifting weights, this in turn will get you a ‘strong core’. Having a strong core is more than just having a strong stomach. There are many other muscles involved in ‘the core’ and, as a by-product, weight training will train them all to some degree. Core strength is about your body’s ability to hold you steady while performing certain tasks, not about how many sit-ups you can do.
How many of you have ditched the ab exercises, trained harder and eaten cleaner and noticed a difference?
Why not leave a comment below or on the Daniel James Personal Training Facebook page.
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