Do Crunches Produce Flat Abs?

Do Crunches Produce Flat Abs?

To say that there are a plethora of myths and falsities strewn across the fitness landscape would certainly be an understatement. On this website, particularly in some of the blog entries, I’ve debunked several such myths. I always enjoy hearing them, as some are quite amusing, but simultaneously, I feel the need to dispel them. In the 20 years I’ve been an Austin personal trainer, one persistent myth I’m called upon to address quite often has been the “crunches for a flat midsection” theory. Do crunches produce flat abs?

While this one isn’t a simple black and white issue, as there are some half truths, associated benefits, and correlations involved, it is a false belief that simply doing abdominal exercises will flatten one’s midsection. It’s a long held belief that lifting weights will convert the fat to muscle, but this is simply not biologically possible.

What does occur, however, is if you exercise a certain area, you will develop muscle tissue there. How much depends upon your genetics, nutrition, technique, frequency of exercise, etc. This muscle tissue will not replace fat, but rather build underneath it. If you have a fat midsection and do abdominal exercises, you will have a stronger, but still fat midsection. Yes, getting your heart rate up during the course of exercising will burn calories and fat, depending upon how much food and/or supplements you’ve recently consumed, but it won’t be sufficient to count as cardiovascular work which will truly be needed to burn fat.

While it scientifically holds true that you cannot expect fat to turn into muscle, or vice versa, it is possible to change your composition and replace one with the other to a great extent. This isn’t done by simply doing crunches, if we stick with the abdominal region scenario as an example. This is done by employing a bunch of different strategies simultaneously so you have different things working in tandem to produce the desired result. In the case of the abdominal fat, we would do crunches, as well as a multitude of other, more complex exercises targeting the region, as well as a lot of cardiovascular work, and a complete overhaul of the nutrition. Remember, as I’ve pointed out in other blog entries, you can’t spot reduce, meaning choose where and how much you will lose in that certain area as opposed to another. That’s a genetically predetermined biochemical phenomenon of which you have little to no say so.

Do crunches produce flat abs? Ask yourself more than that if you goal is to flatten your midsection. You’ll need to take it one step at a time, and put the basics in place. Look at your diet objectively and without rationalizations and justifications. Make the obvious reductions and omissions such as soda and ice cream, etc. Start a gentle exercise program which includes cardiovascular work as well as a whole body strengthening program with emphasis on the abdominals as well as the surrounding muscles. Another thing to remember, is that timing is of the utmost importance. If you consume a meal, even a healthy one such as turkey with a side of yams, and a small side of asparagus, and then hop on an elliptical machine, you’ll be burning that meal as fuel as opposed to your fat reserves. The best time to do cardiovascular work is on an empty stomach when your glycogen stores have been depleted. This basically means that if you want to see the best results possible and have it be as efficient as possible, get up earlier in the morning and with only water in your system, go for a brisk walk, jog, bike ride, treadmill session, or whatever form of cardiovascular exercise you’ve chosen to do. The second best time to do cardio, other than first thing in the morning, is after a strenuous workout as you’ve likely burned through all of your glycogen stores, and will be using fat and oxygen for fuel, thus making the exercise aerobic, and being efficient as a blog entries.

Do crunches produce flat abs? Yes and no. If you’re consistent and willing to make changes, you will see changes in not just your appearance, but how you feel as well, just don’t expect miraculous changes to happen overnight. A large midsection didn’t happen overnight, and nor will the dissolution happen that quickly either. It will happen slowly if you stick with it, just as being consistent with not exercising and making poor dietary choices slowly over time makes a person carry more and more body fat. The necessary solution to this means saying no to the foods and drinks which got you into the predicament in the first place. This also means getting out of bed and exercising when you don’t feel like doing it, for example. If you are willing and able to make the necessary changes and sacrifices, success will be yours. If you don’t know where to begin with the exercise, nutrition, have limiting issues such as previous injuries or conditions, or have hit a plateau, hire an experienced and qualified personal trainer to help you.

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My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.

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3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin, TX 78748

About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270