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October 18, 2010 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

A Workout Plan for Leaner, Tighter Abs

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

The abdominals are a popular focus for workout enthusiasts, as a sculpted midsection can be very impressive. Besides the obvious visual benefits, a toned abdomen will help you stay at a healthy weight and avoid the risks associated with obesity. So, how do you maximize the results you receive from your next abs workout?

Cardio:  15 minute sets, 3 sets a day

The best stomach exercises in the world will not be nearly as effective if you do not combine them with some form of cardio. It takes a concentrated effort to burn fat along with firming up the abdomen muscles, and one without the other is only half the battle. Cardio exercises can be fun and convenient because many of them do not require any equipment.

  • Walking or Running: Walking or running in place, around the block, or up and down stairs are just some examples of cardio movements.
  • Bike Riding: You can add variety by doing aerobics or riding a stationary bicycle.
  • Dancing: Dancing is also a great way to burn calories.

To boost the effects of your cardio program, try doing 10 to 15 minute sets of cardio exercises throughout the day. In total, you should be getting anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes of high intensity cardio for the day, four to five days a week, but by splitting them up into two or three smaller sessions, you will keep your metabolism at higher levels, burning much more fat in the process.

Flex and Tighten: at Home or at Work!

During your workouts, try to flex and tighten your abs while you are performing other exercises. Also, when you are waiting in between sets, flex your midsection and you will notice that the definition will be more apparent over time. You do not have to be working out to enjoy the effects of abs-flexing. You can do the same thing when you are sitting at work, while watching television, or even in a movie theatre. It is important to note that you do not want to hold your breath or contract your stomach so tightly that you interfere with proper breathing.

Exercises: Crunch and Twist

There are tons of exercises that will tone your midsection and give you that sculpted look you might be looking for. Although some of them can seem quite complicated or fancy, it is a good idea to keep things as simple as possible and stay with the time-tested basic movements that muscles respond to every time.

  • Crunches: Crunches, reverse crunches, side bends, and leg raises are among the most recommended abdominal exercises.
  • Twisting: Another solid movement for abdominal development is twisting. It can be done while holding a weightless barbell behind your head and across your shoulders. If you do not have a barbell, a broomstick works just as well. Twist from one side to the other and feel the abs tightening. This exercise also strengthens and tones the surrounding muscles of the midsection and obliques.

A good tip is to try doing four different exercises with little rest in between. You can do whatever number of repetitions for each exercise fits your personal fitness level. For example, 20 to 50 crunches, 20 to 50 side bends, 20 to 50 leg raises, and 20 to 50 twists. Remember to breathe in and out constantly and stretch before, during, and after every workout.

Sources:

ExRX: Crunch

Mayo Clinic: Core exercises: Why you should strengthen your core muscles

Body Building For You: Ab Exercises for Perfect Abs

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