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5 Biggest Ab Workout Mistakes

Why is it that everyone is working out to get 6-pack abs, but almost no one has a flat stomach or defined abs? It's because most people are making big mistakes in their ab workouts. Here are the 5 biggest ab workout mistakes that you are making that lead to injury, ineffective workouts, and little results. If you fix these mistakes, you'll double the effectiveness of your ab workouts and you'll be a lot closer to getting the abs you want.

Mistake #1 - You have no intensity in your ab workouts.

Don't get me wrong, it's hard to do hundreds and hundreds of crunches in an ab workout and you can get a burn in your abs, but that doesn't mean the ab workout is intense. What you need to do to get more 6-pack abs results in less workout time is to increase the intensity of the ab exercises you use.

For example, most folks do hundreds of crunches in an ab workout but don't get results. On the other hand, if you increase the intensity of the ab exercises you use, therefore decreasing the number of repetitions you can do in each set, you'll put more stress on the muscle and force more change in your abs.

So get rid of the crunches and add exercises like Stability Ball Rollouts to your ab workouts, which you can't do hundreds of times. Get rid of lying reverse crunches and use hanging knee raises - with good form - instead and do sets of 8-12 repetitions rather than sets of 30-50 reps.

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Mistake #2 - You do too many crunches with bad form leading to a pain in the neck.

At first I thought this was just an occasional rookie ab workout mistake, but I've found more and more people are searching the Internet looking for pain relief because their necks are sore from doing too many crunches the wrong way. The best way to avoid neck pain from crunches is to avoid the exercise in the first place. Crunches are a waste of your ab workout time. For all the time people spend doing crunches, they don't get a proportional improvement in their 6-pack abs. Don't spend any more ab workout time doing crunches. Instead, use more effective exercises such as Cable Abs, Stability Ball Rollouts, Stability Ball Jackknives, and Hanging Knee Raises.

Mistake #3 - You do too many exercises where you round your back in spinal flexion

Have you or a friend ever injured your back by bending over? That movement is called spinal flexion, and can lead to herniated discs because every time your round forward, bend over, or round your back, you compress the intervertebral discs between the vertebral bones in your spine. It's like squeezing down on one side of a giant hamburger and having the condiments come out the other side. Essentially, that's what happens when you herniated a disc or get a bulging disc. So you need to avoid exercises that require spinal flexion, such as crunches or sit-ups to protect your back.

Mistake #4 - You do not brace your abs in every exercise.

When training clients, I tell them before each and every exercise to "brace their abs as if someone was about to punch them in the stomach". Bracing your abs protects your back, and also works your abs, so that every exercise in your workout becomes an ab exercise and every workout becomes an ab workout. It is a simple, easy to remember tip that will help you strengthen your back and sculpt your abs.

Mistake #5 - You don't train your abs for endurance to help your low back.

While it is important to add resistance and intensity to the exercises in your ab workout, research also shows that you need to build endurance with basic abdominal exercise holds like Planks and Side Planks. Dr. Stuart McGill, a leading expert in low back fitness and performance, has found that the more endurance men and women have in these ab exercises, the lower their risk of back problems. Surprisingly, these exercises are also helpful in building a set of 6-pack abs and you can do the Plank exercises on a daily basis in ab workouts to build your endurance. Beginners should start with 10 second holds, while advanced fitness levels can do longer holds (up to 2-minutes for the Plank) or a series of repetitions of 10 second holds for each exercise. Both are effective ways to build abdominal muscle endurance.

Avoid these 5 ab workout mistakes and you'll double the effectiveness of your ab workouts. Add interval training and resistance training and you will soon have a flat stomach and visible abs.

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