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Ab Training Myths

July 20, 2011

By Gerard Bochese

Myth 1 – Abdominal exercises reduce your midsection.

There is no metabolic pathway from the muscle cells in your midsection to the fat cells surrounding them. The stored fat the abdominal muscles use to perform an abdominal exercise may not come from the abdominal region. This is because your body uses its fat stores such that the last place you added fat to is the first place you will lose it. This order is genetically determined and influenced by sex and age.


Myth 2 – Train the abdominals daily

The abdominals are a striated skeletal muscle group and are under voluntary control, behaving just like any other muscles you work in the gym. We know we should not do chest exercises or bicep exercises every day; therefore you do not want to overload the abdominal musculature and perform abdominal exercises every day. Training the entire abdominal region daily will most likely lead to strains, poor performance, and adaptive shortening from repeated micro trauma.

However, different parts of the abdominal musculature can be trained on successive days, such as lower abdominals one day and obliques the next day.


Myth 3 – There are no lower abdominals

There is proven scientific evidence that the upper and lower abdominal region is separated.  The rectus abdominis (“six pack”) is inervated by eight nerve sources, with a distinct separate innervation below the belly button.  It can therefore act as a prime mover at one end and a stabilizer at the other.  Evidence of this can be seen in people who have well conditioned upper abdominals, yet display poor tone and a “pooch” belly below the belly button.


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