Sounds familiar? My abs are showing and I haven’t done a crunch in 6 months.
Part of that is because I learned a gazillions other ways to train my abs, and I train it like 5 – 6 times a week. There are 4 major muscle groups that you need to train, e.g.
Rectus abdominis (which is supposed to be used during the crunches)
Transverse Abdominis and the deeper muscles
Abs are muscles, too. So if you want them to show you need to treat them like how bodybuilders treat muscles to make the muscle grow. First, rectus abdominis is made for trunk flexion (bending forward), so you need to train with the forward flexion movements. The obliques are for lateral flexion (side bends) and rotation of the body, should also be included in the training program. Ladies, beware, using heavy weights for side bend exercises will cause your waist to grow bigger, which is bad for your hourglass figures. So, when you train the obliques just use lighter weights or body weights.
Transverse abdominis and the deeper muscles function mainly in stabilization of your core, so you use them when you do planks, forced expiration, pushups, squads, deadlifts, and many other things that you don’t even know you are using the abs. If you don’t train these muscles, you are more likely to get distended tummy regardless of your body fat and more likely to get hurt from your typical daily routines because you lack the core stabilization.
Equally important is the training of your back muscles. So few people (especially women) worry about their backs, perhaps because they don’t see it in the mirror. We complain about our tummy but rarely our backs. If you only train the abs (1000 crunches included) and never train the back muscles, you risk getting older with a hunchback and back injuries etc. Also, even if your body fat percentage is low enough, you don’t have anything to straighten up the abs and make it show. There are cases that personal trainers just train someone’s backs and the abs show. Thus, balance in the training program is key.
Last but not least, abs are made in the kitchen. You need a clean, balanced diet to earn that trophy. Wait, my entire blog isn’t about eating bland foods. It’s about making it a lifestyle and being happy about it.