The biggest mistake people make is wasting WAY too much of their time training their abs directly… pumping away with all kinds of different abs-specific exercises.
I’m sure you know what I’m referring to. The person is trying so hard to get those abs to show, that they’re spending almost all of their time in the gym with hundreds of reps of various crunches, leg raises, twisting exercises, etc. Meanwhile, all of that wasted time directly training the abs could have been better spent on a properly designed full body workout program that would elicit a much better metabolic response and increase the fat-burning hormone levels in their body as well.
After all, losing the stomach fat that is covering the abs is the MOST important aspect for most people to finally be able to make their abs visible. Unfortunately, pumping away with hundreds of crunches and leg raises does NOT cause much of a metabolic or fat burning hormonal response. This is the main focus of the book available from the link at the end of this article… full body training programs and proper nutrition to strip off that stubborn belly fat and reveal the six pack that’s hiding underneath!
Of course it wouldn’t be an abs book if it didn’t focus on ab development too, but it makes sure firstly that the most important concepts for lasting body fat reduction are understood.
Also, there’s not really any need for men or women to train differently. Bottom line… the best exercises are the best exercises regardless of gender.
However, in regards to mistakes seen between genders… Yes, women more often are deathly afraid to use weight training with anything but really light weights. That is a shame, because THE most effective way to gain control over your body fat for life, is to maximize your lean muscle that your body carries, as well as working that muscle hard through intense resistance exercise regularly.
It’s important for women to realize that regular strength training using heavier resistance will NOT “bulk them up” (as long as caloric intake is controlled), but rather is one of the key secrets for losing body fat and staying lean year-round. As a matter of fact, some of the leanest females that have trained over the years are the ones that aren’t afraid to work hard with the weights.
Most women (and a lot of guys too) spend way too much time with slow cardio exercise. This is simply not necessary, and the way you combine high intensity resistance training into full body routines provides enough of a “cardio” workout in itself usually.
Sit-ups are a controversial topic. They’re not good or bad per se, but rather “in between” and there are much more effective abs exercises to focus on.
Full body movements that make up the majority of good programs indirectly work the abs and the entire “core” area to a fairly decent extent. However, include abs-specific exercises into the routines generally about twice per week. The “abs-specific” portion of the workouts generally only take about 5 minutes at most with very little rest between exercises.
Once people are past the beginning phase of gaining some initial ab strength, get away from the exercises that are too easy, where someone can do 50 or 100 reps, as is frequently common with standard crunches. Instead, try to focus on higher resistance exercises that actually stimulate the muscle fibers to a much greater degree. Make sure not to neglect some rotational movements, as well as some work for the deeper muscles like the transversus abdominis.
In general, slow steady pace cardio is a waste of time, especially if the goal is lasting fat loss.
People need to get away from this thinking about “fat burning zones” and calories burned during the actual workout, and look at the bigger picture of what you’re doing in your workout to stimulate the greatest metabolic response in your body… and the best metabolic and hormonal response is achieved through variable intensity training and strength training, not slow steady-pace cardio.
Now I will say that if someone is really deconditioned and can’t handle higher intensity exercise routines just yet, this still doesn’t mean that they can’t simply use lower intensity routines, but still use it in a “variable intensity” fashion, by alternating between higher and lower exertion levels throughout the workout.
From the Author:
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