I Have Been Doing Ab Exercises Wrong My Entire Life, And It's Making My Stomach Appear Bigger

I would like to think of myself as a successful college athlete, and I just found out I have been doing abs wrong my entire life. Not only am I working out my abs incorrectly, every time I had previously worked out my abs...it was making them descend from my body, so my stomach started bulging.

I am aware that no abdominal exercise will give me a six pack, but I never thought that doing abs was hurting my progress towards my goal.

While I was taught the proper form for squats, deadlifts and every other lift I have ever done in the weight room, that wasn’t the case for ab exercises. Our college strength and conditioning coaches always incorporated abs as a finisher, or promoted an engaged core as a stability tool for other movements/ lifts.


We did too many plank contests and ab burnouts to count, so to say my abs are strong would be an understatement.

As most other things in college sports, we were training to go as hard as possible as long as possible, that is essentially what an ab burnout is. So when we would finish our regular lifting sessions with an ab circuit, it was do or die type of mentality.

I never wanted to be the one to drop my legs first on the leg raise or let up on my plank before the 3 minutes were up. In return, I didn’t think too much about what I was actually doing, I just did everything I could to perform.

When I would contract my abs, I would always tighten my stomach… aka push them out and hold. This gave me stability, balance and it’s what I thought my 26 other teammates did. I honestly, didn’t think anything of it.

Now years later, as a 25 year old, I learned that the way I contracted my abs actually makes my stomach more prominent and pushed out...making it appear bigger. (Let me be clear, having a flat stomach isn't a goal for everyone, but it is for me and I decided to share this because this information was a shock to me personally.)

The correct way to contract my abs is hard to hold and I feel like all my strength I had built up over the years, is gone now. Every exercise I was able to do flawlessly, is now extremely hard for me. Talk about an ego killer. Time to re-teach my abs.

Cheers to the new start of my abdominal journey!