Funny thing, abs. (Funny weird, not funny haha.) People obsess about this body part the most, yet nearly everyone tries to get away with doing the least.
Take the ab-jiggler. I don’t know what this gizmo is actually called, but I saw a remarkable infomercial recently. The idea is that you wrap this belt around your waist, and an electric device embedded in the belt jiggles your abs into shape.
Then there’s the high-profile study conducted at the University of Copenhagen, making the case that spot reduction actually works. One of the biggest myths in fitness is that you can burn fat in your midsection by exercising your abdominals. The correct way to think about spot reduction is that it’s like trying to scoop water out of a particular part of a bucket. Fat is distributed evenly throughout the body, and if you want to show off your flat stomach, you need to lose fat everywhere. Not surprisingly, the Danish study has been largely discredited as unscientific and unable to be replicated.
At the gym, you’ll probably find a variety of ab benches and devices that are supposed to help people target their stomach. I question whether such equipment actually improves ab mechanics over a simple floor crunch. Regardless, people seem determined to defeat whatever advantage these machines do provide by performing the exercises as fast as possible. Watch people use these contraptions, and you’ll see heads bobbing up and down so quickly that the activity generates a breeze.
I tried out one of these ab benches the other day just to experience first-hand the machine’s movement. Truth be told, if you crunch up and down in a slow, smooth, controlled motion, you’ll soon feel a painful burn in your abs.
Now what good is that?