Column: Common myths on the quest for flat abs

Today, I will bust a few of the myths on the quest for flat abs and a strong core, says Tanja Shaw.

The physiology behind effective core training has been lost in bustle of machines

Training your core, the part of your body that connects your arms to your legs, has become a major focus in fitness.   A strong core will improve your balance, posture, overall strength, and athletic ability.  However, the physiology behind effective core training has been lost in bustle of machines, fad fitness programs and infomercials which promise a trim waist and perky backside with four easy payments of $19.99.  Today, I will bust a few of the myths on the quest for flat abs and a strong core.

Myth 1: The core is another name for the abdominals.

The ‘core’ is made up of all the muscles which attach to the pelvis, hips, and spine, not only the abdominals.  The core includes the diaphragm, pelvic floor, abdominals, back muscles, hip flexors, hamstrings, buttock muscles, and muscles of the neck.

Myth 2: Doing abdominal crunches will result in a strong core.

Crunches target the rectus abdominis, the most superficial abdominal muscle (also known as the six-pack).  It is only one muscle of the entire core complex.  Over-strengthening this muscle will lead to poor posture and back problems.  Aim to strengthen all the muscles of your core for a balanced body.

Myth 3: Crunches will give you a six pack.

Crunches and other abdominal exercises (even better exercise such as planks, lower abdominal exercises and cable rotations) target your muscles, not the surrounding fat.  Muscles do not ‘own’ the fat around them.  A sensible diet and exercise regime will reduce the belly fat and expose the muscles underneath.  We cannot spot reduce.

Myth 4: If we cannot spot reduce, we must to exercising in the ‘fat burning zone’ is the best way to shed extra body fat and flatten the abs.

If only this was the case!  Traditional cardio is grossly overused.  There are a lot of benefits about from doing traditional cardio exercise, but fat loss isn’t one of them.   Some common side effects of too much cardio is increased appetite and the false believing that you burned enough calories to compensate for poor eating.  Like I said, there are still many benefits of doing low intensity training.  If your goal is fat loss, however, you will get more results from building strength in your body and eating properly to shift your body to ‘fat burning mode’ while you are at rest.

Myth 5: The best way to strengthen your core muscles is to isolate them with specific exercises.

Core muscles are essential for all movements, including walking, running, turning, bending, pushing and pulling.  They should be active and strengthened during all exercises and movements.  Use the drawing-in exercise to activate your core.  While sitting, standing or laying on your back, inhale and let your belly expand.  As you exhale, hollow your abdominals by drawing your belly button in toward your naval.  At the same time, contract your pelvic floor (think about stopping the flow of urine).  Hold for 10 seconds.  Practice breathing while still drawing in your abdominals.  You should initiate all exercises with the drawing-in maneuver.

Myth 6: You should train your core every day.

Your core muscles are no different than any other muscle – they need rest to get stronger.  You should use your core everyday (while you walk, run, turn, bend, and so on), but you should train them every other day.  This will give your muscles time to recover.

For more information on core training join Tanja Shaw at Ascend Fitness Inc. on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. for the free community seminar “Six Secrets to Flat Abs”.  This community seminar is free, but registration is required.   Email  info@ascendfitnesscoaching.com or call 604-858-9947 to register.

 

Tanja Shaw is the owner of Ascend Fitness Inc., a private training studio.  Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals work to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  For more fitness tips go to www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.

Just Posted

Third storm in a week hits Chilliwack

Power knocked out to about 2,600 BC Hydro customers

Chilliwack Chiefs rally falls one short in loss to Langley

The Rivermen jumped out to a 4 goal lead then hung on for a 4-3 win at Prospera Centre.

UPDATED: Gunfire erupts in quiet Langley neighbourhood early this morning

Police have 79A Avenue cordoned off after reports of shots just before 5 a.m.

Search continues near Ashcroft for missing Prince George woman

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Prevailing in the face of adversity

Chilliwack pilot living life to fullest will speak at UFV Oct. 23

VIDEO: Daze of Derby hosts teams from around B.C. and Washington

Reformatted tourney squeezed all the action into a one-day event.

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Most Read