6 secrets for the perfect abs

by Trina Remedios

Black man office exercise

Situps and crunches are two exercises that will surely hit your abs, but not the best

1. The claim: Crunches and situps are the best exercises for ab training and that’s all you need.
Situps and crunches are two exercises that will surely hit your abs, but not the best. Exercises like dumbell windmills, hanging leg raises, Turkish get up, full contact twists, etc will work your core region a lot harder! In fact even non abdominal exercises like squats, overhead presses, renegade rows, etc will hit your abs hard too. Unlike crunches and situps these exercises do not isolate the abs and require you to use a lot more muscle groups in each rep, thus making the whole body work a lot harder for burning more calories and a better hormonal profile, both of which will give you a leaner and more defined midsection.

2. The myth: Crunches and situps are great for spot reduction and burn belly fat fastest.
Spot reduction does not happen in reality! Your body loses fat from all over when you start losing fat. And body fat needs to be eliminated via your diet and high calorie burning workouts! Isolation exercises like crunches and situps are too easy to burn significant amount of calories or create any real afterburn following your workout. You will probably need to do more than 50,000 crunches to burn 1 pound of fat, but you can use that time and effort to do far more effective exercises and get the job done in much lesser time. Also do not forget that overtraining your abs can make them weaker in the long run and can cause back problems too.

3. The truth: High repetition ab training is the way to go for visible abs.
Your abs are working every time you stand and sit straight. Even when you are exercising, your abs are being worked to stabilise your torso in almost all the exercises. So high endurance is something that comes naturally to them, what you need is to strengthen them. And for strengthening any muscle group you need to use high resistance exercises which automatically reduces the number of reps that you can do. For eg., if you are able to perform 50 crunches, then you will surely not be able to do 50 push ups with the same ease, because push ups are a lot tougher. Thus you need to choose such exercises which will work your abs hard in few (5-20) reps to develop them.

4. Do you need to work your abs regularly?
While one can do crunches everyday, because they are easy, it would be unwise to do so with the intense and really effective abdominal exercises like hanging leg raises, windmills, etc. These exercises work the abs hard and thus demand some rest in between sessions. Training them everyday will mean that either you are not training them hard or are overtraining, neither of which is ideal if you want to see your abs.

5. The ab gadgets, pills and belts shown on TV do not work:
While it does sound nice to think that you can have great abs by using those gadgets for a few minutes a week, the fact is that abdominal training requires a lot more work, effort and dedication. You see, those gadgets, belts, pills are targeted for people who are in their mid 30’s and older and have not worked out in more than a decade or so. These people have such little strength, energy and conditioning that even a few crunches will make them feel worked and tighten their abs just a slight bit for the first week or so. And when such people use these gadgets for the first time, they feel it simple because they are so unconditioned physically. And if they are convinced that it works, they will buy it. However in all these cases the gadgets are found lying in a corner after 6-8 weeks, because it did not deliver the results that they promised. So don’t ever waste your money on any pill, gadget or belt that promises to give you great abs in a few minutes of usage per week.

6. So what does work and how can I get great abs?
First and foremost you need to think of a healthy lifestyle rather than looking for the shortest of shortcuts. You need to optimize your whole lifestyle to be in your best shape possible. This would mean that you eat well, sleep well, minimize stress, train regularly. If these things are in order then you can expect some great results. And as far as training to get ripped abs in concerned, you need a mix of strength training and intense cardio, to get the job done. A good example would be to do 3-4 strength workouts a week, where you either do whole body workouts or follow upper-lower split, and finish those workouts with 5-15 minutes of intense cardio and some abdominal training. You can also do another 1-2 cardio workouts on the non strength training days.

For abdominal training here are some great exericses to choose from- hanging leg raises, planks, side bridges, full contact twists, pike walk, reverse crunches, dumbbell side bends, ab wheel, etc.


Read this article in Times of India


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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