Right now, I'm probably relaxing on a beach in Cuba sipping some water – I don't drink – soaking in some morning Vitamin D.
So today, I've got a guest article from my buddy Tyler Bramlett – creator of the Warrior Abs Program – and his take on why most people just don't use the right muscles when they train…
You May Be Training The Wrong Muscles!!
By Tyler Bramlett
I remember many years ago when I first got started in the fitness industry I was working out at one of those impersonal mega gyms where everybody shows up in their best gear and the ladies wear makeup to work out.
I was working with a girl, having her do a difficult variation of the leg raise for low reps, knowing all well that this is no doubt the way to train, to increase core strength and build toned strong muscles.
Meanwhile, I overheard a conversation to my left by 2 ladies both lying on those ridiculous ab crunch benches one was saying to the other, “I have a friend who has a really flat stomach, I mean washboard abs and she told me that the only thing she does is 1,000 crunches a day”. The other lady responded, “well I am already at 160 so lets keep going”.
Needless to say 15 or 20 minutes later when they finally got off the bench, they had nothing but a stomach ache and a sore neck. The worst part is I saw these same ladies day in and day out doing their 1,000 crunches and 2 months later they were no better off and certainly no skinnier than when they started.
So what were these ladies doing wrong and why have we all been misled to do more and more reps when it’s simply not necessary?
To start with, the contemporary mega gym goer is the worst person for you to get high quality training information from.
I once heard a legendary fitness icon say, “the best way to train is to go to the gym, take a look around and then decide to do what everyone else isn’t doing. If you see people doing curls do squats instead, if you see people jogging on treadmills go sprint outside!!”
This is not bad advice and I bet you would be much better off training this way then following your neighbor’s training program.
So remember, the 1st rule of thumb in the fitness industry is don’t listen to everybody’s opinion on what works and what doesn’t. Find someone who has been where you are, has gone to where you want to go, and has helped numerous other people already go there.
Follow their program and do what they say and RESULTS WILL COME!! If they don’t then your either not fully committed or you picked the wrong guru. In either case what’s 12 weeks of your life? Move on and find something that works for you.
Many of you may be asking yourselves isn’t doing something better than nothing? I somewhat agree with you, but as Einstein is famously misquoted for saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” I think he would have made a great trainer!
I am not interested in sharing unproductive systems like the 1,000 crunch routine that don’t produce stellar results. I am interested in the most productive exercises that give you the most bang for your buck hands down!!!
So let’s start here, ask yourself this question: If I do 1,000 crunches a day will it make my abs flat and sexy?
Unfortunately despite today’s popular ab infomercials promising a 6 second 6 pack this notion is simply not true. We are being misled to think that more and more is the route to 6-pack abs when in reality there is something missing, something that almost everyone overlooks every time!!
They start out training the wrong muscles… What??
The Wrong Muscles? Yep, that’s right most people aren’t training the right muscles in order to get flat 6-pack abs. Let me show you how to train the right muscles…
The muscles that everyone knows about and desires to be seen with are the rectus abdominus, those flat rippled muscles that dawn every beach body on TV. The problem with the 1,000 crunches routine isn’t that it doesn’t affect the rectus abdominus because it in fact does.
Many years ago when I set out on my own journey to reveal my 6 pack I fell for the myth that 1,000 crunches was all you had to do, and let me tell you the first few times I performed this routine I was sore as can be. The problem wasn’t that the muscles weren’t being worked the problem was that I was working the wrong muscles!!!!!
Wrong Muscles, Huhhhhh, then what the heck are we supposed to do?
There is a group of muscles that surround the abdomen much like a corset whose sole responsibility is to stabilize the spine and core during phases of movement. The reason why these muscles are so important is because they are essentially the ones the give your stomach that flat appearance. (I didn’t tell you earlier but one of the women from the story in the beginning, even though doing 1,000 crunches daily, and having a relatively low body fat had a case of the dreaded paunch belly).
We all know someone who has a relatively low body fat percentage but seems to still have that little beer gut even if they don’t drink beer or are constantly spending hours in the gym. Why is this? Well, one of the reasons is because they have the dysfunction of those deep abdominal muscled not doing their job right!!
So how do we target these mystical muscles that rapidly flatten and tone our midsection? Again we turn towards functional movements.
One of the best ways to target these deep core muscles and quickly tone our midsection is to use exercises that cause the core to fire as a stabilizer rather than a mover. Thankfully, this is easier done than said.
One simple exercise that you can do is a elbow plank on a swiss ball. You are instantly going to feel all of the stabilizers of the inner unit work hard to support your body in the plank and keep the spine protected. Remember to keep your core tight and your lungs filled with air to keep you extra safe and give you more bang for your buck!
How about another exercise? The best way to learn this control is by using the alternating lying leg raise. Lie down on your back and keeping your lower back glued to the ground lower one leg at a time and alternate sides slowly. This will help correct any unilateral imbalance in your deep core muscles. (***Chris' Note: Check out yesterday's video HERE on how to do the Alternating Lying Leg Raise***)
There are of course even more effective exercises that will help you to fire these deep abdominal muscles and get you one step closer to your washboard stomach. Many of them modeled after the best gymnastic and functional training routines for developing not only awesome abs, but an injury proof, super strong core!!