More than 2.5 Mn people have joined an Ab challenge (See pic), including 20+ IITians in my friend list. Basically targeting the novice enthusiasts, the FB event promises results based on doing just 4 bodyweight ab exercises while increasing volume every time you do it. Although the intention is not just to target this specific event but such social media gimmicks in general, this post specifically dissects what’s wrong with this highly viral FB fitness plan:
- Visibility of Abs: If that’s your goal, to show off your six pack, this plan will not work. Visibility of abs is not a function of exercising your ab muscles. It’s a function of body composition (how less fat % your body has). If you’re a heavy man/woman, chances are that you already have decent ab muscles which make the six pack (rectus abdominus). For your six pack to show up, you have to reduce your body fat %. To learn more on it, reading this article is a must: Most Annoying Question in Fitness and Subsequent Sad Answer
- Highly Imbalanced plan: Some of you may be following it not for visible abs but for health and fitness purposes. The plan mentioned in that event contains 3 exercises out of 4 which specifically targets rectus abdominus (the six pack muscles) whose function is spinal flexion (crunching our back). We already sit all day while these same muscles remain contracted. This leads to tightness in abs and weakness in spinal erectae, multifidus, glutes, upper back musculature and transverse abdominus (the other core muscles which pulls you back so that your posture stays straight). Adding additional ab exercises without greater volume of exercise for the other core muscle groups is a disaster in the making. We already slouch all day in front of laptops and TV. if you’re doing it even for just upping your fitness levels, it is a terrible idea without adding spinal extension work, upper back work and hip hinge movements into your workout regime. How many of those 2.6 Mn people know that?
- Poor programming: Some may argue that they only follow it for their ab workout and do workout the other muscle groups too. If this is you, do you seriously want to follow a program which just randomly add 5 reps every time you do it with such less recovery time? Abs are like any other muscle group in the body and you shouldn’t overtrain them just like your legs or chest for most optimum gains. 23 days out of 30 days is too much direct ab work. On top of it, if you’re doing compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, rows etc for working out your other muscle groups, your abs are getting enough indirect work from those workouts.
There you go. These are some of the key points to look out for in any plan. At PSI Fitness, we consider these aspects among many others to make the best fitness plan possible for you. Contact us to know more.
In Lucem Scientiam