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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged with criminal negligence in Coquihalla crash is accused of ignoring smoking brakes

Just before crashing the smoking truck was seen entering Zopkios brake check and leaving shortly after

Shaelene Keeler Bell. (Facebook)
Candlelight vigil Saturday for missing Chilliwack mother

Virtual event to ‘spread some light’ for 23-year-old Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack

Becky Miller, and her daughters Aurora, 5, and Alice, 2, getting the truck ready to help the St. Paul’s Dump Runners fundraiser Feb. 27, 28, March 1 and 2. (Becky Miller)
St. Paul’s Dump Runners of Chilliwack ready to pick up odds and ends for a cause

For a donation to the Nicaragua Feed the Children Fund volunteers haul stuff to the dump

(File Photo)
Crash causes delays on Coquihalla southbound, travel advisory issued

A vehicle incident between Merrit and Hope has caused major delays heading south

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Head of internal medicine at Chilliwack General Hospital Dr. Shari Sajjadi talks about the positive feedback hospital staff have received over this last year in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Dr. Shari Sajjadi says a simple ‘thank you’ helps keep up spirits of healthcare workers

‘We are so thankful for the positive feedback we are getting from our patients’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Most Read