For many years, people have thought that exercising their abdominals would make their waist smaller. Unfortunately, this theory is far removed from the truth.
Over the years I’ve had many clients tell me that they need to tone up their abs and ask if they should be doing more abdominal exercises? But what they need to know, is that carrying out endless ab exercises isn’t going to do a damn thing about a midsection grown soft by a steady diet of alcohol, sugary treats and fast food…aka a poor diet.
According to a research study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning a few years ago, no matter how much we want it to be true, ab exercises won't give you a smaller waist.
The researchers recruited 24 participants (14 men and 10 women) and randomly assigned them to either a control group or an exercise group. Anthropometrics, body composition, and abdominal endurance were tested before and after training.
The exercise group performed 7 different ab movements:
Lateral Trunk Flexion
Stability Ball Crunches
Stability Ball Twists
Each exercise was performed for 2 sets of 10 reps. Subjects trained 5 days a week for 6 weeks.
What They Found
"Abdominal exercise did not result in change in measures of abdominal fat (android fat measured by DXA scan, waist circumference, abdominal skinfold) compared to the control group."
The exercise group did, of course, build greater abdominal strength and endurance, though.
What This Means to You
Women should take note of this fact because legions of them have fallen victim to doing too much direct ab and oblique work. They've bought into the notion of spot reduction but sadly, it's led to thicker midsections. Why? Because the more you train a muscle, the bigger it gets.
And, okay, maybe that slightly thicker waist is okay when you’re lean, but when you put on even a little fat, you’re going to have even less of an hourglass shape than before.
If you're like most women, you want a flat, tapered waistline. You get that through a combination of diet, metabolic conditioning, and whole-body exercise – not by doing countless abdominal exercises.
Unless you want your abs to look toned, tight and tapered, you should work them briefly, infrequently, and probably without any additional resistance. If, however, you want your abs to pop (like most men), you can add resistance and train them like any other muscle group so that they'll grow and pop.
If you would like to shrink your waist, contact me today to see how I can help you.
Committed to your fitness