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Ab Work. When is it a good idea to do?



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GDBEAR65
SparkPoints: (2,095)
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Posts: 574
7/18/13 12:38 P

LOL - I thought you were a guy - it's not often I read posts from women asking about abdominals - it's a big obsession with guys, especially newbies.



RUSSELL_40
Posts: 16,783
7/18/13 11:57 A

I knew you were a girl, and so your fat % will be higher, but the advice is still good. Compound lifts tend to work your core. Deadlifts, squats etc, all require you to use those muscles. We tend to find machines that isolate our separate muscles, and that is why we have to do separate ab work.

I would compare this with biceps workout. When you are lifting heavy to build muscle, you do barbell curls, and once you have size, you work on definition with dumbbell or preacher curls. It is actually easier to do heavy lifting when heavier. powerlifters actually add weight to help lift more weight. After their muscles get bigger, they lose the fat with cardio. Even if you are bigger, the muscle underneath can be developed. This will increase metabolism, and with cardio, you will eventually see them. If you are doing ab work though, and can't see the results, it can be discouraging. That is why doing exercises that work the core are great. You might be doing deadlifts for back, bench press for chest, and squats for legs, but the abs will be being worked. When you finally do get down in fat %/ weight, you will be surprised how developed you can get your abs without any direct exercise. At that point you can do some work for that region. Lower abs tend to be an issue.

Right now though, you need to just focus on overall body workouts, not each body part. However either way you do go, you will see some benefit if you stick to it. Exercise is almost always better than sitting on your butt..lol



HUNGRYJESS
SparkPoints: (285)
Fitness Minutes: (280)
Posts: 33
7/17/13 9:33 P

I'm a girl. Haha. Didn't realize I needed to clarify. But Jess is unisex so I guess that makes sense.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,427
7/17/13 8:48 P

HungryJess--
I think there is a little confusion on this thread as to your gender.
I "think" you are a girl. (Jessica perhaps??)
I am thinking that GDBEAR is considering you male.

Can you clarify so that appropriate % body fat recommendations are used.

Thanks
Becky
SP Registered Dietitian



BITTERQUILL
Posts: 1,370
7/17/13 4:05 P

Absolutely what the last few posters said. (However, women should *almost never* aim for less than 10% body fat, since that last 10-13% is considered essential for the natural functions of the female body. The "fitness" range for women actually goes up to 24%, with athletes usually told to aim for the 14-20% range. As such, you may see some ab definition before 10%, since women carry their fat rather differently than men...but yes, it does still require a pretty low percentage, by female standards.)

Abdominal exercises are helpful because they burn calories (like any other form of exercise) and because they help you strengthen your muscles, but they are no more effective at increasing weight loss than any other form of calisthenics. That's not to say you shouldn't do them, but you can't expect them to have some sort of magically enhanced effect just because they work your stomach. Like GDBEAR65 said, exercises that focus on a larger area of the body are more likely to really help.

Cardio will help you burn the most calories. Strength training will also burn calories, to a generally lesser extent per minute, but will also help you maintain the highest possible percentage of muscle (or build it, in some cases), which in the long run means your body will burn more calories even at rest than if you had neglected it. A combination of the two is what you need, not exercises that focus on a particular body part.

*If* your doctor has given you the go-ahead, it will not hurt you to add abdominal exercise to your plan now. Honestly, though, you're better off if you work everything at least a little bit, than if you work on your stomach and ignore everything else.

Edited by: BITTERQUILL at: 7/17/2013 (16:50)


GDBEAR65
SparkPoints: (2,095)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 574
7/17/13 3:28 P

I agree with Bill - compound exercises (involves the movement of more than 1 joint), particularly whole body exercises, like squats and deadlifts will do more for your abs than focusing on ab exercises, not to mention it is easy to create a muscular imbalance this way. Your abs will become well-defined once you get below 10% body-fat. Focus on weight loss and once you are healed look at doing a full-body strength regimen. Once you are lean enough to start seeing your abs, throw in some ab exercises at the end of your workouts, but don't forget to work your spinal erectors (low back) too.

Edited by: GDBEAR65 at: 7/17/2013 (15:29)


BREWMASTERBILL
SparkPoints: (31,080)
Fitness Minutes: (12,713)
Posts: 4,110
7/17/13 3:17 P

I would clear your routine with your doctor, but let me clear up some misconceptions.

First, at 218 pounds (unless you're 7 feet tall), you're not going to see your abs. Second, you're not going to pack on enough ab muscle to do anything in the way of "pushing it out to make it look fatter". Please understand that I'm not picking on you, I went down a similar path several years ago and got nowhere but frustrated.

My opinion, I would stay focused on your weight loss, cardio plan and incorporate a full body strength training plan. There is no reason to focus solely on your abs. They will get sufficient stimulation with a full body strength program.



HUNGRYJESS
SparkPoints: (285)
Fitness Minutes: (280)
Posts: 33
7/17/13 3:04 P

Hi Everyone,

My name's Jess. I'll be 23 next month and I way 218 pounds.

I broke my foot a few months ago. I just went to the doctor yesterday and it is almost healed, so I've been given the green light to exercise, but very lightly and to not put so much pressure on my foot. I just started short walks for about 30 min every morning, but I want to incorporate more exercise into my regime.

I looked at the videos for seated exercises and they look very effective. I'm definitely going to take advantage of the cardio and arm ones. However, I have a question about ab workouts in general.

When I was in high school, and thinner though not skinny, my friend told that I need to do a combination of cardio and ab work. That if I just did ab work to try to get flat abs, my ab muscles would build, but my stomach would just get bigger because they'd just grow under the fat that hadn't been burned.

Since I'm doing cardio now, is it okay to do ab work, or should I weight until I'm considerably enough into my exercise routine and then add ab work later on, like in a few weeks? Or is it okay to combine them all now. I don't want to do ab work if that means my ab muscles get big but my fat doesn't burn off.

Thanks,

Jess



 
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