Are Abdominal Crunches Necessary To Produce Bodybuilder Caliber Stomach Muscle Definition?

By: Francesco A. Castano


Weight lifters often seek to develop the abdominal muscles, as this particular area creates a visibly pleasing physique. In hopes of achieving the most impressive abdominal shape, bodybuilders frequently implement body weight exercises such as crunches or sit-ups, and sometimes even boost resistance by adding weight to induce failure within a lower rep range, taxing the abdominal muscles with sufficient intensity and overload to theoretically improve appearance.

But is the commonly held belief that crunches are the most effective abdominal exercise yet another in the plethora of bodybuilding myths? Not exactly, but the idea that direct abdominal training is the key to improving mid-section appearance is a very misleading connotation, as exercise is actually the least important concept in producing impressive abdominal definition, since a proper diet is the foundation behind the success of any correctly structured abdominal muscle enhancing routine.

For abdominal muscles to achieve the impressive appearance all bodybuilders strive for, muscle size need not necessarily improve by any significant margin, but body fat, which covers abdominal muscles and diminishes their apparent shape, must fall dramatically to improve definition, which is the very goal that all weight lifters seeking to enhance the stomach musculature are striving for. Although in other muscle groups, weight lifting is normally the technique used to improve muscle impressiveness, abdominal definition is more contingent upon body fat percentage than mid-section muscle mass improvements, therefore a properly designed fat loss diet plan is the secret to producing a sleek, muscular abdominal section.

What many bodybuilders fail to realize is that performing a vast number of abdominal crunches or sit-ups will cause very little if any stomach appearance improvements unless accompanied by significant body fat reduction, and the latter goal does not depend in any way upon direct abdominal training, but rather is contingent on whether diet is properly constructed for continuous fat loss, and this not only involves the proper calorie intake for a bodybuilder's individual metabolism, but also effective carb, protein and fat ratios so that sufficient macronutrients are present to create an ideal fat burning environment for abdominal definition improvement. The number of bodybuilders who regularly perform sit-ups or abdominal crunches without any visible mid-section appearance improvement is quite high, and due to poor results, they then seek other abdominal muscle building exercises, when in fact, direct stomach training is not related to mid-section definition, and any bodybuilder in such a situation is in desperate need of a modified, efficient fat reduction diet routine.

In addition to a professionally designed diet, a bodybuilder should integrate aerobic activity several days per week when attempting to improve definition in any part of the body, as although aerobic exercise does not substantially impact abdominal appearance when following a poorly designed diet plan (which is why many mistakenly assume aerobics is wasteful), cardio activity will significantly improve the rate of fat reduction when used in conjunction with a potent diet philosophy. As you'll notice, I have yet to place emphasis upon abdominal crunches or sit-ups, the two most often pursued solutions by bodybuilders wishing to significantly enhance stomach appearance, as despite their widespread appeal, such exercises actually rank last in terms of priority when seeking abdominal improvement, behind aerobic activity, and the most important tactic which numerous bodybuilders fail to address, a intelligently designed fat reduction bodybuilding diet plan which will improve definition in all areas.

The benefits of embracing a fat loss phase do not only relate to abdominal enhancement, but will actually cause the biceps, chest and other muscles to appear larger, specifically because they become more defined with the missing layers of fat. So, when you are wishing to improve abdominal appearance, remember that crunches and sit-ups are far less important than integrating effective fat loss diet methods, despite the hype you've heard surrounding crunches. When you decide to aim for fat reduction, you need not fear muscle loss if you continue to employ proper weight lifting workout techniques, and make certain to avoid drastically reducing calories, and avoid low carbohydrate diet methods, as both can quickly burn muscle mass, which will degrade, as opposed to improve, overall body appearance. Lastly, I urge you to continue performing sit-ups or abdominal crunches, but know that the layer of fat must disappear before the fruits of your labor become apparent, and this is directly linked to how you eat, not abdominal exercise.

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Francesco Castano authors MuscleNOW.com, a diet and weight training program teaching the exact techniques for muscle building without supplements or drugs.

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