Hey, my name is Mitch and I am 18.
I am about 190 lbs and I'm 6' 2-1/2''. I've been lifting since I was a freshman and I live in a small town with a small gym, so I'm very limited with my exercises, but I'm glad to say that I've become much stronger and bigger from lifting.
But anyways, here's my question:
If I'm doing ab workouts, will that limit me on gaining weight and muscle when I go off to college with a bigger gym.
I don't mind having a little fat on me but I'm afraid I will not gain weight if I do ab exercises.
Thanks for the great question.
I think this is a very misunderstood topic when it comes to gaining muscle mass and losing body fat.
You see, ab exercises has always been associated with losing weight/body fat and never really associated with gaining quality muscle mass.
Traditional weight loss thinking meant that if you wanted to lose weight and body fat, that meant you had to do a lot of cardio and a ton of sit ups each and every day.
Of course, when it comes to losing weight, we immediately think of getting smaller. There may be a little muscle loss but if it's done right, you won't lose all that much muscle mass, in fact if you may even gain muscle mass - But that's another story - You can read about here:
So, by associating ab work with losing weight, we immediately think that we will automatically get smaller by doing more ab work. Not true.
I'm here to say that ab work won't make you lose weight or stop you from gaining muscle mass. In fact, ab work (which is often referred to as core work) will actually help you gain strength and stability. Stronger abs will help improve just about all your exercises, especially back movements.
Did you know that certain ab exercises were often the measure of strength in professional sports tests? Ab exercises have been the standard for strength tests for a long time and for good reason, they test the strength of your body as a whole. Abs are your core and by keeping your abs strong and healthy you ensure that your whole body is strong and stable.
Think of it like this. What's the difference between your abs and chest? Besides the point that there different muscle groups, they're both made up of muscle tissue.
However, one major difference between the two is that your abs are more involved in just about every movement you do. Try twisting your body? What muscle groups are used? Abs. Try getting up out of your chair? What muscle groups are used? Abs. Try lean forward a bit, what muscle groups are used? Abs.
Will ab strengthening exercises make you lose weight and stop you from gaining muscle mass? No, they won't. Will ab strengthening exercises help you get stronger and actually help you build more muscle mass? Yes, they will. Of course, they won't bulge out like you chest does when it get's big but trust me, your abs will get stronger and when they do, they will help your whole body get strong.
However, you have to think of your abs the same way you'd think about your chest. They are prone to overtraining and must be trained like any other muscle group. Training abs twice a week with two to three exercises twice per week is plenty. Remember, train them like any other body part and you'll start seeing the results you're looking for.
I hope this helps,
Home > Tools and Resources HQ > Questions and Answers