I dare to guess the typical person with a spare tire around the waist has an idea of burning that fat off by doing a billion stomach crunches. You see advertisements all the time about “ab-busting” exercises that are “guaranteed” to give you the six-pack stomach you want for beach season. Just buy this piece of equipment and do 20 minutes a day!
In all fairness, this approach is not unvalidated. If you do enough sit-ups, you will build strong abs, and if you do enough you just might even burn calories and begin to attack the fat. The problem here is it will take literally billions of ab exercises to burn all that fat sitting in the way of your awesome looking abs. Will you have good ab muscles relatively soon by doing ab exercises? Sure. However there are a few problems I see with this approach.
First, it takes more than targeting your abs to burn all that fat away. You can combat this by doing a boat-load of cardio along with your ab exercises. The cardio gets your metabolism going and burns the calories, while the ab exercises target those abs. There is a but here though.
But…the second concern is that your abs are only a few muscles in your stomach area. And don’t forget about the other muscles in your core that work together with your ab muscles. You have erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, multifidus lumbar, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, gluteus maxiumus, medius, and minimus to name some. Don’t worry if you don’t know what those are, as the point was to show you that your abs are only a small part of your core.
I liken ab exercises to bicep curls. I personally categorize ab exercises as muscle isolation exercises just as the bicep curls. We know your brain understands movements, not muscles, so why attack and build up just one muscle group. Doing ab exercises only gives you strength to do ab exercises. Unlike having an over-all strong core, which stabilizes body segments so others can generate force, absorbs shock, maintains functional postures, and allows for dynamic movements such as lateral flexion, rotation, and flexion. Not to mention a strong core is beneficial for creating a strong healthy back, versus causing discomfort and injuryto your back as ab exercises can at times do.
This brings us to the third concern. If you are not getting stronger, and not burning all the fat you want quick enough by simply targeting ab muscles, you are more likely to be discouraged and quit. Ab work is hard work.
The solution: Functional Fitness, which prioritizes a strong core while burning fat and calories. Yoga or Pilates are great for your core also, but might not burn your calories fast enough. Performing intense Functional Fitness workouts such as P90X, Crossfit, or our resources here at Kemme Fitness, will help you burn your fat, give you strength, give you a strong core (not just abs hidden under fat), along with other benefits such as endurance, stamina, timing, balance, coordination, power, etc. You will most likely get your spare tire gone quicker and will have all these other benefits to go along with it.
Besides, what good are strong ab muscles if all the other muscles around them are weak, your back is weak, and you still have fat in the way to even show them off.!