When it comes to ab workouts, some believe that quantity is more important than quality, however, that isn’t the case. Effective ab workouts can yield fast results but incorrect form will slow any progress, so UFC Gym lists 6 of the most common mistakes people make!


Breathing is an essential part of doing any exercise, including the abs. As you come down from your crunch you need to inhale, and as you come up you need to exhale. When you reach the very top of the crunch, make sure that your lungs are fully empty of air, as this will make the exercise more effective.

Quality over Quantity

Always go for quality rather than quantity when doing abdominal training. There is a common misconception that doing a higher amount of reps will do more good, however, the number of reps is not a good indicator as to the intensity of the ab workout. Focus on the high-quality contraction of your abs, and you will see much better results from your workout.

Using Your Neck and Shoulders

Have you ever had neck pains when performing a set of abdominal movements? If the answer is yes, it may be because you tried to lift yourself up using your head. To avoid this, simply keep your head facing the ceiling whilst doing the exercise.

Another common mistake is coming up too high at the peak of a crunch, which is resting rather than exercising as there is no tension on the core. Optimally, you should come up at around 45 degrees, where gravity is still trying to pull your body weight down, and engaging your core. 

My Other Muscles Hurt

A common mistake some make is creating momentum during the movement, which uses other muscle groups and body parts to generate momentum and making the actual movement itself easier. A common example is placing hands behind the head. If you feel that your legs get tired during an abdominal exercise, it may mean that you are overcompensating with the hip flexors, which people do to lift themselves up. In order to avoid this, imagine that you can’t use your legs. When lifting your torso remember to completely relax your legs and engage your core, placing all the tension in your abs rather than your legs.

Leg Raises

A common tendency for people to swing their legs, up to the point where their legs are parallel to the ground. This movement doesn’t fully engage with your abs or lower abs, as the hip flexors do the majority of the work.

Not Enough Weight?

When you are comfortable with your abdominal exercises, try to intensify the exercise by adding a dumbbell with a weight that you feel is challenging. The addition of weight will be beneficial and will help you to build more muscle. As you get in a routine, try to increase the weight of the dumbbell once you feel that you can take on more.

So next time you do an ab workout, make sure to take your time with the abdominal exercises, focus on your breathing, engage the core, and think about where the tension is being placed, no matter what ab exercise you do. If you have any questions or are looking for help with ab exercises, the experts at UFC Gym Vietnam are always happy to help!

Baptiste Solente (Calipso)

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