"Abs" typically refers to thin bands of muscle running straight down your abdomen, from the end of your rib cage to the upper edge of your pelvic bone. Also called the rectus abdominis, each muscle is divided into segments by tendons running right across them. When the muscle in between the tendons is built up and the covering layer of fat is reduced, you get the classic six-pack look.

Of course, abs training has always been the rage. But what good do strong abdominal muscles actually do for your fitness, and how do you really get them? Well, abdominal training contributes to your core body strength, giving you a firm and stable base from which to execute many other movements with ease and gracefulness. However, with today's preference for body shape and rippling muscles over actual health, a number of myths have been floating around regarding abdominal training. This is the right time to debunk some of them.

Myth number 1- "You need to do hundreds of reps for each set of abdominal exercises to train your abs".

No; since your abdominal muscles are just like any other muscle, so it's just as easy to injure them. You need progressive resistance training, doing between 8 to 20 repetitions per set.

Myth number 2 - "You need to work out your abs every day".

No; you can build up your abdominal muscles best by increasingly intense workouts two days a week, with a day or two of rest in between. This allows them to recover and build up strength.

Myth number 3 - "Crunches and sit-ups are all you need".

They’re the two most popular abs exercises, but they’re far from your only options. You can also try Russian twists, scorpion tails, dip bar knee raises, hanging leg or knee raises, standing rope crunches, planks, and side bends. Vary your exercises, reps and add resistance or weights. Ask us about the right way to do these exercises, as doing them incorrectly could lead to injury.

Myth number 4 - "You can always out-exercise a bad diet to get a flat stomach". 

You can get a flat stomach only if you lose enough body fat (down to about 10-15% body weight) so that your abs can actually be seen. This means you need to cut down calories as well as build your abdominal muscles. You can get there faster if you add cardio to your routine. It is not possible to spot-reduce fat from your belly alone, no matter what exercises you do. Combine diet with exercise and your body will know if and where it needs to lose fat. This will be easier for some people than others, depending on genetics. In any case, you've never seen someone with overweight arms and legs but a solid six-pack, no matter how much they train their abs.

Caution: Remember that your lower back is just as much a part of your core as your abs. Over-exercising your abs, or using incorrect technique can worsen an existing back problem. Lower-back pain during any core exercise is typically a sign that your core is too weak to do the exercise. Pain could be a sign that your form is off. Muscle tightness and fatigue can also lead to poor form and lower-back strain.