Myth

Strength-training exercises like crunches will get rid of abdominal flab.

Fact

Spot training (or reducing) isn’t possible. While crunches are important for firming and strengthening the abdominals, they won’t remove fat from that area. In addition to ab exercises, do a total-body strength workout to boost your overall lean muscle mass, and blast fat and calories with a consistent cardio routine (at least 30 minutes, three to five days a week for weight loss). Don’t forget to follow a healthy diet as well.

Myth

Sit-ups aren’t safe or effective for training your abs.

Fact

“When done in a controlled manner without the use of momentum, a sit-up is simply a trunk curl taken that much further by the use of the hip flexors, and can be a very effective ab-training exercise,” says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Mass. So why the bad rap? “People with low-back pain have tight hip flexors and are advised not to do sit-ups because they work the hip flexors a good deal and might exacerbate the issue,” Westcott says. “But really, sit-ups can be done by the majority of the population.”
To safely get the most out of a full sit-up, follow instructions for the basic crunch, moving slowly in both directions, lifting up to an almost-seated position. If your neck aches, lightly cup one hand behind it for support.

Myth

If you want to get a firmer, flatter belly, you need to do ab exercises every day.

Fact

“Although the abs are postural muscles and have a predominance of slow-twitch fibres, which recover quickly from an abundance of work, they are still just like other muscles and need time to rest, recover and rebuild. Train your abs no more than two to four days a week on non-consecutive days.

Myth

You should train your abs at the end of your workout.

Fact

There’s some validity to the claim that training your abs last preserves your core strength for the earlier part of your workout: “If you’re going to do squats or multi-muscle exercises like push-ups or lunges that require a lot of balance, you might want to do abs last so your core is fresh and strong,”. On the other hand, experts generally agree that you should do ab moves when you’re most likely to do them. “The danger of always putting abs at the end is that people run out of time and end up never training them”.

Myth

Because the abs are endurance muscles, you have to do hundreds of reps to get results.

Fact

Abs do have greater endurance than most muscle groups—however, “doing an exercise with proper form, using slow, controlled motions, is an excellent way to maximize results,” says Stuart Rugg, Ph.D., chair of the department of kinesiology at Occidental College in Los Angeles. If you’re using correct form, there should be no reason to exceed two or three sets of 25 reps of any ab exercise you do. “Quality is more important than quantity

Consult a fitness professional before starting any exercise regimen.