By David Grisaffi,
Author, Firm And Flatten Your Abs
Developing a great set of six-pack abs is really quite simple once you understand my unique Firm and Flatten Your Abs system, which includes two important components:
1. A workout program consisting of carefully selected, biomechanically correct abdominal exercises, and
2. A nutrition program that optimizes fat loss and maintenance or growth of lean muscle tissue.
As simple as this sounds, I’ll be the first to admit that ab training can be an extremely confusing subject at first because there is so much conflicting information on the subject.
Opinions Are Just That! Opinions
Countless opinions, rumors, and theories about ab training are continually being circulated by an endless parade of “experts” including doctors, personal trainers, infomercial gurus, and even friends, teachers, and parents. Some information is valid, but most of it isn’t. It’s hard to sort through it all, let alone know what to believe. Abdominal mythology abounds, and some myths never seem to die.
That’s exactly why I wrote the e book Firm and Flatten Your Abs: To help you cut through the myths and lies and lead you straight to the truth that will help you develop the type of body that you’ll be proud to show off the next time you hit the beach.
Before we discuss the anatomy and physiology of the abdominal muscles or the actual training routines, the first thing to do is clear your mind of the myths, lies, and misconceptions that have been polluting your brain as a result of gym folklore, false
advertising, and bad advice from self-proclaimed experts.
More bad information is published and told about ab training than any other health and fitness subject, and I’ve boiled it down to 14 myths that are particularly damaging and pervasive. I will explain 3 of them in this article.
Let’s put them to rest permanently, shall we?
MYTH #1: If you train abs every day, you’re guaranteed a six-pack. One of the most common abdominal myths is that training your abdominals every day is the best way to get a small waistline and develop the six-pack look in your stomach. This misconception was probably funneled through the bodybuilding world, because so many bodybuilders train their abs daily prior to competitions. Despite the fact that bodybuilders appear on stage with incredibly ripped abs, their abs come from their diet, not just their daily ab
Daily training is not only a waste of time, it’s an approach that won’t work for the average person who doesn’t use performance-enhancing substances or have a naturally high recovery capacity.
There are two reasons that daily abdominal training is unnecessary and does not guarantee you a six-pack.
First, the muscle tissue of your abs is virtually the same as the muscle tissue in the rest of your body. Abdominal muscles cannot become stronger and more developed without time to rest and recover after each workout, just like any other muscle group such as your biceps or chest. You wouldn’t do 100 barbell curls every day to “see your biceps” or 100 bench presses every day to “see your pecs,” so why do the same for your abs?
Second, even if you could achieve excellent muscular development in the abs with daily training, you won’t be able to see your abs if they’re covered with a layer of fat. Daily abdominal training does not burn the fat off your midsection! Fat is lost by creating a
calorie deficit through your diet. Build the muscle tissue with exercise; burn the fat with diet.
During the initial phase of the Firm and Flatten Your Abs program (Level 1), I recommend that you perform exercises daily for the first two to three weeks. However, these Level 1 exercises are very basic movements using only your body weight, and they are designed to prepare, strengthen, and neurologically program your body for the more advanced exercises to follow.
For the long term, you can get fantastic results training your abs every other day (about four days a week), and once they’re developed, you can maintain your abs with even less frequent training.
MYTH #2: You can eat pizza and hamburgers and still maintain a six-pack as long as you work out right after you eat them. The truth is that developing your abs is achieved through exercise, but seeing your abs is more a function your diet than any other factor. You could have a great set of abs completely covered with fat. The secret to uncovering the abdominal muscles is nutrition.
Theoretically, you could lose the fat covering your abs while eating whatever you wanted, as long as you still had a caloric deficit. However, eating calorie-dense junk food makes it much harder to maintain the caloric deficit you need to burn body fat. Furthermore, eating fast food and other nutritionally-void junk as regular daily staples in your diet will eventually exact a serious toll on your health.
You simply cannot expect exercise to cancel out poor eating habits. It takes proper exercise and nutrition to get optimal results. Go into your local fast food restaurant and look around. How many people do you see that have an envious abdominal region? Chances are, you won’t see any!
MYTH #3: Sit-ups develop the abdominal muscles best. It’s ironic, but the sit-up, which is the most popular exercise in the world for the abdominals, might be the absolute worst exercise and could even be dangerous for some people under some circumstances.
What most people don’t realize is that the sit-up is not a true abdominal exercise. During a sit-up, your main trunk flexor, the iliopsoas muscle, often does the majority of the work while the abs are not optimally recruited.
Because the iliopsoas muscle originates on the lower back, the sit-up literally pulls on the lower back with every repetition, especially if your feet are held down or anchored, or the repetitions are performed quickly in a jerky fashion. This is why too many sit-ups can lead to a strength imbalance between the iliopsoas and abdominals, as well as poor posture and lower back pain.
Some people who have very strong abs and lower backs may be able to perform conventional sit-ups more safely than others. There are also some safer and more effective ways to perform sit-ups. One is the Janda sit-up. This exercise uses the law of reciprocal inhibition, which means that if one muscle is working, its antagonist (the opposing muscle) must relax.
During a Janda sit-up, instead of holding your feet down, your partner reaches around and holds your calves. As you sit up, you contract your hamstrings and glutes by pulling your calves back against your partner’s hands. (You can also press your lower legs
back against small dumbbells or a heavy weighted barbell.) When the hamstrings and glutes contract, this shuts off the iliopsoas, making your abs do more of the work.
If I prescribe sit-ups, I simply have my clients do Janda sit-ups. However, Janda sit-ups can be difficult to perform on your own and because of the injury potential from sit-ups in general, and since there are so many other more effective exercises, I have left sit-ups out of this course completely.
It’s incredible, but true: You can develop amazing abs without ever
doing a single sit-up!
Coach David Grisaffi,
P.S.If you enjoyed this workout, then you will love the workout programs in my Firm And Flatten Your Abs E-book. You can get more information on the home page at: