1. You’re working them everyday: Just like you don’t have leg day every day, you shouldn’t do abs every day. Your muscles need recovery time. I tend to schedule abs every other day or 3 days a week.
2. You’re not engaging your core: You could be doing hundreds of abs and not feeling a thing. If your core is not tight you may not even be using your abs. Additionally, if you’re not pulling your belly button into your spine and tightening your core it could provide abs that bulge out instead of slim you down.
3. You’re using neck and shoulders: If you find your neck getting really sore after a session targeting your abs, it’s likely that you’re using your shoulders and neck to pull you up instead of your abs. Tuck your chin to your chest and keep your shoulders back.
4. You’re not using weight: An 8 pound medicine ball might not be enough. I didn’t start seeing growth in my abs until I braved the free weight section of the gym. Grabbing a 15-20 pound dumbbell is incredibly beneficial. Adding more than just your body weight will help build more muscle.
5. You’re not getting variety: 100 repetitions of the same exercise may not be as beneficial as 20 repetitions of different ab exercises. Doing 100 sit ups wont transform your abs the way 20 fifer scissors, 20 oblique v-ups, 20 in and outs, 20 seated crunchy frogs, & 20 mason twists will transform your abs. Catch my drift? And yes, that’s the p90x Ab Ripper X workout!
6. Other muscles take first action: When you’re working any muscle group you want to feel those muscles take action first. If you’re doing abs and you feel your quads working, or your shoulders, you may not be targeting your abs at all. Remember to suck in and tighten up. If your abs aren’t the first thing you feel, make an adjustment.
7. You’re getting too much assistance: Someone holding your feet while you do sit ups, or your hands holding a stationary object behind your head, may be hurting your ab workout instead of helping it. Having assistance like this decreases the resistance you’re forcing on your abs, making it easier and in turn not tearing the muscle like you want.
8. Not enough rotation, or too much: Depending on the workout, you want to find a happy medium. Some workouts, such as leg raises, you may want to lay your back on a plyo box so your legs can rotate more than 90 degrees. Others, such as working your “upper abdomens” you may want to have less rotation. Doing a full sit up may not be as beneficial for your “upper abs” as mini pulses, where you’re only coming 2 inches off the ground.
It’d be worth it to youtube ab workouts to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts! If you’re putting the effort in and not getting the results you want, you may be doing something wrong without even knowing it!