If you’re striving for the elusive six pack abs or maybe just looking to shift the extra bit of weight that started to accumulate around your midriff, there are 3 key areas you need to focus on to get the best results. In addition to looking impressive, developing your abs has other benefits – helping to strengthen your lower back and improving your posture. Believe it or not, most lower back injuries occur as a result of weak abs, so working on this area will have general health benefits as well as making you look impressively fit.
1. The first thing you need to look at is proper nutrition. In order to create that calorie deficit which will help you rid your body of the fat that covers your abs, you need to monitor what you’re eating. Although you can accelerate your body’s fatburning capacity with intense cardio vascular workouts, you should remember that what you put into your body is just as important if not more so. At the end of the day if you’ve consumed more calories than you’ve used, your body will lay Acidaburn down this unused fuel as fat. Nutrition is important because it’s an area you can closely control – if you take in fewer calories the amount you need to expend on cardio work is proportionately less. To keep your body well supplied with energy throughout the day have five or six well-balanced meals about three or four hours apart. This will allow your body the best chance to meet your energy requirements consistently with less tendency to lay down fat after a massive meal with excess calories. As with any sort of diet, make sure you have healthy snacks on hand for when you need them and don’t allow yourself to get ravenous as all sensible thinking falls by the wayside. Make sure you eat regularly as going long periods without eating is almost as bad as eating too much. A final note on the nutrition front – drink plenty of plain water.
2. Don’t neglect the cardiovascular work. No one will know what sort of abs you have (great or otherwise) if they are covered by a blanket of body fat. If you’re not the leanest build, then you will need to pay some initial attention to getting rid this extra body fat around your middle. The best way to do this is to incorporate some effective cardio sessions into your fitness workout. Abdominal training by itself will not achieve the best results. Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce your mid section by doing extra ab exercises. First of all you must burn off the excess body fat with a good cardiovascular workout to properly define the area. The cardio needs to be intense enough to get your body burning the fat. Three or four sessions a week of intense jogging, running, jumping rope or cycling should do the trick. For general fitness and fatburning swimming and hiking also have their benefits but there’s no real substitute for running which is the most intense, efficient and effective way of burning calories and trimming the fat.
3. Although there are specific exercises which target the abdominals, ideally you should start on a regime of strength training for the entire body, treating the abs just like any other muscle in the body. Having said that, there are a number of specific exercises which target the abs. The most effective ab exercises start with the bicycle which is the best move for targeting the rectus abdominus (the six pack) and the obliques (the waist). The captain’s chair leg raise is the second most effective move for the abs as well as the obliques. You can do a variety of exercises on the captain’s chair which is a rack with padded arms which allows you legs to hang free. The exercise ball crunch is the third most effective exercise for targeting the abs. Using the exercise ball makes the move a bit more effective than crunches on the floor as the abs do more work.