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Top 5 Exercises For A Flat Stomach
How many of you want that?
We always want to know how to flatten the stomach (especially women) and get a sexy looking line.
Even if spot reduction doesn’t work (for those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s the theory that you burn fat around the muscles you’re working out for example burn arm fat with bicep curls and lower leg fat with calf raises, unfortunately this doesn’t work) there is that you can do to improve your stomach area.
Many people believe that the way to get a six pack is to do sit ups after sitting. It takes about 250,000 crunches to burn a pound of fat, so it will take a long time with that approach!
Actually the main way to reduce your waistline and belly fat is in the kitchen but there are exercises you can do to give that flat, athletic and sexy look.
So here are the top five exercises for developing a well-chiseled midsection:
1 HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training
This is the biggest one for me. The amount of calories you burn during HIIT compared to steady state cardio is huge, plus you’re done in half the time. This is a method of exercise where you alternate between doing high level effort for short bursts and slowing down to a more moderate “rest” rate eg 15-20 second bursts followed by 30-40 second rest, then repeat. A typical session lasts from 15-25 minutes depending on your fitness level.
The great thing about HIIT training is that you don’t just burn calories during the workout you burn them afterwards (up to 48 hours) because it keeps your metabolism up. A Laval University study showed that HIIT helped subjects burn nine times more fat than those who trained the traditional way. Also, doing HIIT can help maintain the muscle mass you already have, which you tend to lose with lower intensity activities.
This is my favorite ab exercise (I’m not crazy) and the one I use the most with my clients. I think the plank is one of the most effective abs exercises. Planks help strengthen the abdominal muscles, but also work all the core, back and hip muscles.
It’s a pretty easy exercise, (to do but man does it hurt) all you do is lie on a mat resting on forearms, palms flat on the floor. Push off the floor, lift up onto the toes and rest on the elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abs to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
If you haven’t done a plank before try holding for 30 to 60 seconds, drop to your knees, rest for a minute and repeat 2-3 times.
3 Bicycle or Cycling Crunches
This exercise is a great abdominal exercise to work the obliques (the side of your abs) and the rectus abdominus (the long flat muscle along the front of the abdomen – the 6-pack part).
You fully extend one leg while the other is bent and you touch your opposite elbow to the bent leg as if you were doing a twisting crunch. Then you repeat for the other side without resting (as if you were cycling) or dropping your body down so that the entire time you do it, your upper body is in a crunch position. It’s hard. Use as much range of motion as possible until you are tired then you can do smaller movements.
4 Fitness Ball Sit Ups
Fitness ball sit ups should take the pressure off your back and target your abs so well that other muscles that normally come into play during sit ups are left alone. Traditional sit ups from the floor can cause back and neck discomfort and I never do that with my clients.
Lie on the ball, place it under the lower back. Cross your arms over your chest or place them behind your head. Contract your abs to lift your body off the ball, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips. The idea is to roll the ball back as you bend down so your back is closer to the ground and then do the opposite on the back. When you curl up, don’t let the ball roll. Lower your back down, get a stretch in your abs, and repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps to start.
5 Hanging Knee Raises
The last exercise is the hanging knee raise, this is another personal favorite of mine and is a great exercise to work the lower abs.
The only problem is that you need a chin bar/smith machine/roman chair to perform it properly.
Hanging knee raises should be done slowly while hanging from the bar. Raise your knees toward your waist and then lower and repeat. You should not swing your legs in place but instead the motion should be controlled and your abs should be tensed throughout the entire range of motion (ROM). The best way to do this is to keep your mind focused on your lower abs and let them do the work. If you still can’t support your body weight, try this movement lying on your back.
So there you have my top 5 exercises for a flat stomach.
Do these exercises 2-3 times a week combined with a healthy clean eating program and you will be on your way to a flat stomach.
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