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2 Simple Abs Workout Mistakes Everyone Does!

Fix Now!

Posted by Scott_Herman - November 17th, 2017

Today we’re going to talk about two mistakes you’re making, that’s pretty much rendering your ab workouts as USELESS!

These are actually such easy mistakes, that when I explain to you how to fix them, it’s going to change your entire world when it comes to training your abs. You can also apply these tips to ANY ab exercise!

Mistake #1: Skipping The “Actual Abs Contraction” & Engaging Your Hip Flexors Instead

This happens for most people on movements that are similar to a sit-up. When you do a sit-up, you obviously lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet close to your glutes. Naturally everyone is taught to lay down flat, and then come up so that your chest almost touches your knees. However, what’s happening when you get halfway through the movement, is a lot of people start engaging more of their hip flexors, and disengage their core. Once you get to the point where the most tension is on the abs, from there and as you move towards your knees, you might start pulling with your hip flexors, and if you’re not keeping your core tight, you’re not really working your abs.

So is it OK to go all the way up and all the way down? Yes, it is, but there is a problem that happens. I can relate to this a lot because I played a lot of sports when I was growing up. For training, instead of doing a certain numbers of reps with perfect form, we would simply get in a circle and do an exercise for as many reps as we could until our coach told us to stop. When we got tired, we would use momentum and throw our hands forward to help us get to the top of the movement. If you’re constantly throwing your arms forward like that, you’re actually skipping the part of the movement that is going to train your abs.

This goes for anything, and for those of you who like to use the weighted machines in your gym, I see a lot of people using momentum on those as well. What happens is people use the handles to thrust themselves forward, and they skip the concentric portion when you’re supposed to flex your abs. Therefore, in order to take advantage of a crunch or sit-up or whatever you decide to do, you need to actually focus on the flex. As you come up, you want to kind of roll your body over and really flex and squeeze your core as hard as you can. You can even go from the bottom position to a little over halfway up to maximize your ab engagement, you don’t actually have to go all the way up.

So mistake number one is not focusing on the flex, the most important part of the movement. Also, if you have a hard time doing that, have someone stand on your feet, or slide your feet under a couch or something if you are doing sit-ups at home. This will keep your feet in a fixed position, and it will really help you have the stability you need to focus on the flex. I guarantee if you do this, it’s going to feel REALLY good for your abs.

Mistake #2: No Emphasis Is Placed On Spinal Extension At The Bottom Of The Movement

This goes across the board for any ab exercise you do, and I see this mistake ALL the time. This is CRUCIAL. I always talk about how the most muscle damage occurs in the eccentric or stretching portion of any movement that you’re doing, and that applies for ab exercises too. If you lay down on the floor, do you think your abs are stretched more when you have your back flat on the ground? Or are they stretched more when you have a slight arch in your back with your spine extended?

If you guessed it would be stretched more with the slight arch, you’re correct. In this position you’ll be able to feel the stretch through your abs, and if you achieve that on every single repetition before you start the concentric phase, that is how you maximize an abdominal movement. When you’re using a machine, it’s a lot easier to get that extension because you don’t have the floor in your way. Because of that, something I like to do when doing a standard floor crunch is grab an ab mat. Most gyms have an ab mat that you can take advantage of, or you can even use a bosu ball or an exercise ball. If you’re doing workouts at home, you can even use a pillow, and I know every single one of you has a pillow on your bed, which you can take and put behind your back to simulate the same thing. If you want to know just how useful these videos can be, check out my Ab Pillow Extreme series on YouTube…they are super hardcore!

Regardless of what you choose to use, we’ll focus on the mat for now. You simply put the mat behind your back with just a little bit of your tailbone/glutes on it. To make the exercise a bit more intense and take advantage of having an ab mat, I want you to bring your heels as close as you can to your glutes. This is going to allow you to really focus on flexing and contracting your abs on the way up. In my opinion, having your heels really close to your glutes will help you disengage your hip flexors as much as possible. The more stretched out in front of you your legs are, the more you’ll likely engage the hip flexors. With your feet really close, you can put a lot more focus onto keeping the tension in your core.

Once you’re in the down position with the ab mat, you should notice you’ll already have a nice stretch happening through your abdominals. Another quick tip to keep in mind, is that if you breathe all the air out of your lungs, as you come up, it will allow you to get a much tighter flex at the top, and you’ll be able to squeeze your core even harder for a harder contraction. You’ll go all the way up, squeezing your abs as hard as you can, and then come back down. However, you should be controlling the eccentric portion, and rolling down so that your lower back hits the ground first, and then your upper back and shoulders. Don’t just flop back to the ground after reaching the top of the movement.


Those are the two mistakes that are basically sabotaging all of your abdominal workouts. If you want to see the videos for the ab workouts I personally use to build blocky abs, just check out the ‘Related Videos’ below, and I hope this helps you get your ab training on the right track!

Related Videos:

V-Cut RIPPED 6-Pack Abs Killer Workout "Be a 10 in 2010"

Ultimate CORE Workout Targeting Lower Abs & Obliques "Be a 10 in 2010"

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