A toned and chiselled abdomen with defined abs is likely to be high on your wishlist if you’re a fitness enthusiast. It’s quite likely that you’re already working on your body’s core to perfectly tone those muscles. While your reasons for keeping your core in good working order may be aesthetically aligned, it actually goes to serve a higher purpose.
As a study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science in 2018 points out, strengthening of the core muscles is very important for stability and postural control, whether you’re young or old. But, mistakes made during workouts – especially where the core is concerned – can lead to injuries, muscle spasms, ligament tears and other issues. So, be careful and avoid the following common ab workout mistakes.
1. Doing crunches wrong: When it comes to toning your abs, crunches are one of the first exercises anybody’s taught. However, if you drop your chin to the chest, puff up your belly or raise your chest too high when you come up, you’re more likely to strain muscles in your neck and back. Another common crunch mistake is to place your hands behind your neck, whereas they should be crossed over your chest.
2. Doing planks for too long: Planks are another great way to strengthen your core muscles. But if you’re used to doing them, you might not feel the strain in the core muscles and this lack of engagement might spur you to stay in this position for longer durations. Instead of making this mistake, you should try removing one of your legs as the contact point (or other variations) to challenge yourself.
3. Only doing ab training: Focusing on your overall body fat and exercising every part of your body is important because no matter how many crunches and planks you do, as long as there’s excess body fat in any section, you probably won’t get chiselled abs. So, mix up your abs training with some cardio.
4. Not giving abs a break: There’s a reason why fitness experts and trainers ask you to work on different muscle groups on different days. Giving your muscles time to rest between workouts is very important for their development and strengthening. This is why you shouldn’t be working on your abs every day.
5. Not working on your back: Just making your core strong would create an imbalance if your back is not able to support it. Many people make the mistake of not paying enough attention to the back muscles, and that’s a big mistake to make.
6. Not doing resistance exercises: Resistance exercises are extremely beneficial in building muscles, and people usually use them to work on their arms and legs. But, resistance exercises are equally important if you want to strengthen your core muscles, so try weighted decline crunches, machine ab crunches, kneeling cable crunches, and even inverted sit-ups if you’re at a much higher fitness level.
For more information, read our article on How to make six pack abs.
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