QuickCheck: Do sit-ups really produce six-pack abs?

WHEN people start going to the gym, it’s often in the pursuit of various goals such as greater strength, better flexibility, or to improve their health in general. While some wish to bulk and others to shred, there are also those who covet six-pack abs as a particular milestone in their fitness journey.

So, is it true that focusing on sit-ups would give you the abdominal muscle definition that you desire?



This is a common misconception which has been debunked time and time again.

Most people think trimming the area around abdominal muscles is all about doing crunches - or rather, 'spot training' on the muscles around the abdomen. But unfortunately, this does not work.

"Spot reduction" refers to the misconception that you can lose fat in one spot by exercising that part of your body.

While it is true that spot-training exercises will make you feel the burn while muscles grow and strengthen, many studies show they won’t help you get rid of belly fat.

Rather, many studies (and even personal trainers) will say that you should focus on reducing overall body fat by creating a calorie deficit while doing ab exercises that will strengthen and tone your whole core.

Do take note that you don't get to see the abs at the moment as your body fat is in the way. There is a saying that goes "abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym".

And the truth is that good nutrition is essential if you want to lose body fat.

Once you’ve lost the weight, you can start to see your abs, and the next move is to focus on core training and developing the muscles.

Core training has to be combined with compound exercises using body weight, free weights or equipment.

While obtaining those six-pack abs might still be a good goal to achieve, remember that the important part is the journey - an active and healthy lifestyle as well as a balanced diet.


1. https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/health/2019/02/01/develop-washboard-abs

2. https://www.livestrong.com/article/467113-how-long-would-it-take-to-get-a-six-pack-with-500-sit-ups-a-day/

3. https://www.coachmag.co.uk/exercises/lower-ab-exercises/3544/why-sit-ups-wont-help-you-get-a-six-pack

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