Biggest Ab Exercise Mistakes

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I have been getting asked A LOT about abs lately (must be because swimsuit season is coming up).  I have written several working out tips for getting better abs, but instead of reposting one of those articles I figured I would highlight a few points from and a few others.

from – Top 10 Ab Training Mistakes

#4 Not Focusing on Form
If you’re doing an abdominal exercise and you’re not really feeling it, I’m going to tell you a cold, hard truth: It’s probably not because you’re super strong and fit. More likely, you’re not doing it properly. The key to really working your abs is to focus on your form, by deeply engaging your abs throughout each movement. This is commonly described as “pulling your navel towards your spine,” or “scooping” the abs inward and it will help you engage more muscle fibers (especially the transverse abs), making each repetition more effective. And did you know: Mentally focusing on the muscles you’re trying to engage during any exercise (abs or otherwise) actually does make a difference in how well you execute the move? Try it next time and you’ll notice a difference!

#7 Only Working the Abs from One Angle
I touched on this above. Most people only work their abs by doing flexion (crunching movements), but a solid abs training program should include multiple angles and ranges of motion. Here are some examples to help you understand the many ways to move your core. (This 15-minute routine features all of these movements in one workout!):

  • Spinal flexion (mostly works the rectus abdominis). Examples include all variations of crunches.
  • Spinal rotation (mostly works the obliques). Examples include bicycle crunches (which combine flexion with rotation), seated twists, andstanding twists.
  • Spinal extension (mostly works the erector spinae). Examples include back extensionssuperman, and swimming.
  • Lateral spinal flexion (works the erector spinae, rectus abdominis and obliques). Examples include side bends with dumbbells, or without equipment.
  • Bracing, balancing, stabilization and isometric exercises (work the entire core to different degrees). These are all different types of exercises, but I’m lumping them into a catch all “other” category here. Examples include plank,bridge-upsdolphin poseside plank, and bird dogs (quadruped arm and leg lifts).

Next, learn how to work those often times missed oblique muscles with How to Train Your Love Handles from

And finally, check out Scooby (who has an amazing 6 pack)  as he gives you the 4 Most Common Ab Mistakes

I hope these help you make those abs awesome! Have a favorite ab exercise or know of another ab training blunder – leave them in the comments!

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