So which is better for getting six-pack abs: 1,000 sit-ups every day or a regular program of cardio?

After all, who doesn’t want six-pack abs, right?

Cardio beats 1,000 daily sit-ups any day for getting a six-pack.

Why is cardio superior to doing a thousand sit-ups every day for achieving six-pack abs? After all, cardio doesn’t even target the abs.

But it’s not about targeting. It’s about engaging the abs in combination with burning overall body fat.

If you target the abs, even with a thousand sit-ups every day, you’re still working only a very small muscle group.

The abdominal rectus (six-pack) group functions to stabilize the spine, as well as bend the trunk. Big deal.

Carrying out these tasks won’t do much to raise the body’s energy needs, even if the bending (sit-ups) is repeated a thousand times.

Though a poorly conditioned person will struggle with just one sit-up, don’t let this fool you.

This simple isolation movement is very miniscule work as far as force production and energy expenditure. Ab muscles are weak.

When people lift very heavy things, which muscles do they use?

Their legs, back, chest and shoulders, essentially. When you do cardio, which muscles work?

Those in the legs (and butt). For people who find it difficult to understand how cardio can bring out a six-pack, and 1,000 crunches a day will fail, I say look no further than the most extreme form of cardio: the competitive sprinter.

Show me one competitive sprinter who does NOT have a prominent six-pack. This also goes for 400 meter, even 800 meter specialists. It goes for soccer players and tennis players, who do a lot of cardio.

But you need not do a lot of cardio to get a six-pack. The time spent running, that the above athletes actually do, isn’t that much, when you really think about it. It’s brief bursts, stop and go, stop and go. But the bursts are significant.

When we apply this concept to a structured cardio program for the non-competitive athlete, it translates to high intensity interval training. This is a form of cardio exercise. It blasts fat.

In order to “get” a six-pack, you must shed enough body fat to reveal these ab muscles.

A thousand crunches a day will shed miniscule fat. But high intensity interval training (even when done only twice a week) will burn a LOT of fat because it speeds up resting metabolism!

It sets off a hormonal response that results in accelerated fat-burning, even while you’re at rest. Six-Pack Abs from Cardio or 1,000 Sit-ups

Top image: Shutterstock/Viktor Gladkov