Firm, fit and fabulous, follow these steps for the sexy, sculpted abs you’ve always dreamed of having.
A sexy stomach is a staple on every womanâ??s wish list and whilst achieving remarkable tone takes immense dedication and hard work, there are a few tips you can follow to aid the process.
To show off the abs of steel youâ??ve been building, 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise shows better results than 30 minutes of crunches.
To burn off the layer of fat thatâ??s hiding your muscles, ab-specific contractions just don’t do the trick, says Len Kravitz, professor of exercise physiology at the University of New Mexico.
Ab moves burn about 8-25 kilojoules per minute, while cardio blasts up to 50. To firm up the muscles beneath your love handles (aka the external obliques), try Pilates.
This was found to challenge more overall muscle in one shot (specifically, the muscles spanning the waist) than traditional crunches.
Try it: sit on a mat with your legs stretched out and make a V with your body with your butt forming the bottom of the V, and your arms and legs forming the sides. Reach your hands past your knees, arms parallel to the floor. Pump your arms up and down 100 times, inhaling and exhaling every five counts.
Grab a ball
Women who did their ab workouts with a stability ball beneath their glutes and lower back got bonus benefits: the women used both their abs and their back muscles, key for making you stand tall and look slender.
If youâ??re not doing abs now, donâ??t start on the ball, as this can damage your spinal disks, says abdominal-training expert Stuart McGill, author of Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance. Build strength and stability off the ball first.
Try â??crossover crunchesâ??: In standard crunch position, bring one shoulder toward your opposite knee. Hold for two to three counts. Start with 5-10 reps on each side. Progress to 10 counts and 20 reps. Do this three times a week, and you can move to the ball after three weeks.
Let your back come off the floor
When lying on your back with your knees bent, you should be able to get your fingers under the hollow of your lower back. Maintaining your back’s normal curve lets you work your abs without straining your spine, according to McGill. Instead of sucking your navel to the floor, â??braceâ?? your abs as if someone were about to punch you in the stomach. Keep that tension (and the arch) while doing ab work.
Add weight, not repetitions
Your abs are just like your biceps: to make them stronger and tighter, you donâ??t need 500 reps. Instead, try grabbing a one- or two-kilogram weight. Place it behind your head or on your chest and do one set of 8-15 sit-ups, working up to more sets as you get stronger.
Youâ??ll get the body you want faster by doing 10 slow repetitions instead of 20 fast ones. Moving slowly, two counts up and two counts down, allows you to use more precise form, which can stimulate your muscles better and make them stronger.
The faster you go, the more likely you are to use momentum instead of your abs. Your muscles should feel tired in 15 reps.
Lift weights one arm at a time
Your core muscles get a workout when you exercise on an unstable base, like when you’re standing on one leg or on top of a wobbly rubber disk, because your weight is off-centre, causing your core to kick in a little harder. Similarly, when you do upper body moves one arm at a time, the off-centredness gives ab and back muscles an extra challenge.
Increase the fibre
A standard turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread has a measly four grams of fibre. The problem? Studies show that people who eat more fibre tend to be leaner and have smaller waistlines than people who donâ??t eat as much of it.
Better: A serving of chow mein with extra broccoli and brown rice has about 10 grams of fibre. Worried about the sodium in Chinese food? Itâ??s a myth that sodium noticeably changes your abs, says Liz Applegate, PhD, Director of sports nutrition at University of California, Davis.
Skip the booze
Swapping alcohol for water or another beverage can slim your waist. Thatâ??s because kilojoules metabolised from alcohol are more prone to be stored as fat around the belly, says Applegate. Of course, going low-kilojoule is even more slimming: skipping three pomegranate martinis a week trims about 9700 kilojoules a month. Thatâ??s about 3.5 kilograms per year.
Follow these simple steps and whittle your waist and tone your middle in no time!