5 reasons your ab routine isn’t working

Not seeing the results you want from your fitness routine? Feel like your abs are sore but you never see changes? Today’s post is a quick checklist for you to see if you’re inadvertently sabotaging your hard work.

  1. You are trying to  spot reduce. Repeat after me: There is no such thing as spot reducing. Doing a squat doesn’t get rid of cellulite on your thighs and doing five million crunches won’t “banish belly fat”. Let’s be realistic here. Fat does not turn into muscle. If you are trying to spot reduce you may find that area becomes larger not smaller because you are building muscle underneath the (natural and needed) fat!

  2. You aren’t paying attention to what you eat. In case you haven’t heard it before - you can’t out train a bad diet. Not sure what you should be eating? You can revisit this very popular post on eating around exercise or keep reading for my share at the end of this post.

  3. You aren’t doing metabolic conditioning. Also known as met-con, metabolic conditioning gets your heart rate up to maximize burn and after burn and gets your metabolism going. While you can do a met-con based workout it is best done as a high intensity starter or finisher of a workout. I love to pick something that gets my heart rate up and use it as a burnout at the end of the workout. An example is: end your workout with 7 minutes as many rounds as possible of 10 burpees, 10 jump squats, 10 push ups repeating with as little rest as possible until the time is up.

  4. You aren’t doing compound movements. Again, if are trying to spot reducing you are seriously missing out on the benefits of compound (multi-joint/ multiple muscles used) movements. When you use multiple muscle groups at once you get more bang for your buck (or burn for your movement). You get more burn and more after burn. Plus, these moves typically require core stability and often strength and will have a better effect on your abs then those five million crunches.

  5. You aren’t activating your core. Ever been in a class or tried a workout move you saw online and realize you don’t ‘feel’ the move at all? Guess what? If you don’t feel the muscle working it probably isn’t working, or it may not be working as the main muscle like it should be. A great example of this is when you feel a known ab moves in your hip flexors. In ab moves the hip flexors should not be doing most of the work, but often the core takes a back seat and the hip flexors start working. Sometimes, closing the eyes and focusing on the intended muscle can help wake up and activate the desired muscle. It is a common struggle, though! The best way to improve this is to have a trainer / coach help you with form and execution of the moves of concern. Good form in your core exercises will help you across all workouts and moves that you do - even running!

    In November (the first three Saturdays) I am partnering with The Dailey Method in Towson for a second run of our three week long nutrition and core conditioning workshop. Not only will we get into the food piece (see number 2), but also Melanie is going to help you wake up your core. She will teach you proper form, breathing, and more to help you get the most out of your workouts. Worth mentioning - a strong core is important throughout life for stability and back injury prevention. If you’ve ever felt like your core was weak or if you never feel exercises where you should, or maybe you want help with the role of nutrition - then you will love this three part workshop. Maryland friends - check it out here. We have extended our early bird pricing to Thursday (Nov 1) and have seats for just a few more people. Contact me if you have questions! Hope to see you there!