It’s not all about crunches.
Repeat: it’s not all about crunches.
Contrary to popular belief, crunching out hundreds of crunches every day will not cause six pack abs to magically appear. Getting a firm, sculpted belly isn’t always an easy process. It takes dedication to abdominal specific exercises, as well as a healthy diet and an exercise routine that includes cardio and strength training.
Want to find your hidden six pack? Here’s where to get started.
If you’ve been crunching away every day, you likely have great looking ab muscles, but they’re hiding under excess fat around your middle. One way to decrease this body fat is to eat a healthy diet that supports weight loss. Throw out the junk food, processed foods, and simple carbs and replace them with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Limit snacking and drink water rather than sugary beverages.
Burn those extra calories, tone your muscles, and protect your heart with regular cardio exercise that gets your heart rate elevated. Interval training by alternating high intensity and moderate intensity exercise will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than other alternatives. Slowly increase the intensity of your exercise over time to avoid injury and sore muscles.
Get cardio from activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, tennis, or basketball. Go for at least three days and you’ll see your abs peek out in no time.
A well-balanced exercise routine should include both cardio and strength training. Build strong and define muscles (including those abs), burn calories, and boost your metabolism by using some sort of resistance to make your muscles work harder. This might be lifting weights, using weight machines, or performing bodyweight exercises. Slowly increasing the amount of weight, the number of repetition, and vary the speed of repetitions to increase muscle mass and strength.
As your belly fat shrinks and increasingly reveals the hidden muscles underneath, it’s time to perform exercises that target your core and abs. Include the following exercises in your routine and your dream six pack may become reality.
A challenging exercise to strengthen your core muscles is the plank. Get on the floor on all fours. Then support your body by resting your elbows on the floor, extend your legs behind and lift up on your toes. Don’t arch your back or stick your bottom in the air. Keep your head in line with your feet. While only your toes and forearms are touching the floor hold your body up for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat. Each time you do a plank, try to hold it for a longer time.
Forget the standard crunch when building strong abs and go for the Swiss ball rollout. This exercise requires an exercise ball, works more muscles than a crunch, and may be safer for your back. Kneel on the floor and place your forearms on an exercise ball in front of you. Your back will be slightly arched. Tighten your core and squeeze your glutes during the entire exercise. Roll the ball away from your body as far as you can without your back falling toward the floor. Then use your ab muscles to pull the ball back toward your body so you’re on your knees again. Repeat.
Next time you’re at the gym, try vertical knee raises. Find the vertical knee raise machine, also called a Captain’s Chair. Hold two bars with your arms and dangle your legs below you. Then slowly lift your knees up toward your chest. Hold for a moment and slowly lower your legs back down. Repeat.
Water, Where Safety Comes First.
Any activity near or in the water requires safety measures. Stay hydrated in the heat by drinking plenty of water, wear sunscreen in the sun and reapply often, wear life preservers in deep water, and follow posted and common-sense pool rules for a fun and fit summer.
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If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.
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