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The Truth About Abs

Dave Cruz

How often do you hear someone at the gym say something like, "I need to do more abs; I want a six-pack?" If only that person knew that cutting down on six-packs of beer is a much faster way to see your abs. 

Forget Everything You Know About Abs

The myth of working abs as a means of getting abs is one of the oldest misconceptions in training, just like the idea of spot reduction. Spot reduction—including ab training—fails because you can't decrease the fat layer on a particular area by working just that area.

While abdominal training may reduce the diameter of the waistline, it will not do anything to reduce body fat. And since the key to abdominal definition is not the strength of the muscles, but rather the visibility of the abdominal musculature, the entire idea of working abs to get abs is futile. Good total body work is, was, and always will be the key to fat loss, and thus, the key to great abs.

Ab Work That Works

For better ab definition, finish every workout with some hard interval training instead of extra sit-ups or crunches. Interval training, or what is currently called High Intensity Interval Training (abbreviated HIIT), is the real key to fat loss and the resulting definition because it burns more calories than steady-state aerobic training.

But don't abandon abdominal work altogether. A strong core (strong abs) is one of the keys in the prevention of back pain. A strong core will also help you look better and improve performance in a host of sports. To achieve a strong core, include isometric exercises like front and lateral pillar bridges in your workout.


If you want better abs, add some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or energy system development to the end of your workouts. It will burn more calories than steady-state aerobic training, leaving your abdominal musculature free from excess fat.

Michael Boyle is one of the world’s leading experts in the area of performance enhancement and the owner of StrengthCoach.com. He is also the author of Functional Training for Sports.

Tags: Abs, Energy System Development, Training