Flatter Or Toned Tummy

Question

Hi, I’d like to know which exercises to try to achieve results fast. iv tried sit-ups etc but it just seems to take an eternity before any results are visible and because of this I tend to quit and then later I get motivated to start again. Now that summer is almost upon us I’m highly motivated and I really want to see this through and continue as well.

Submitted by Shaida Michaels on 5 September 2013

Answer

  Hi there! It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as spot training, and you need to work on full body fitness before you’ll see it in the places you want.

Practise high intensity cardio and interval training
Shaking up a steady-state cardio routine to one that is varied and explosive has been proven to target more abdominal fat. This is perhaps because you will not only burn more calories during the session, but afterwards as well. The exertion of varying intensities will stimulate your body’s repair cycle more than if you were going for a steady state run. This means more fat and calories burnt for up to 24 hours after training.

– Switch up your usual run with 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 60 seconds of jogging or walking. Repeat these intervals 15-20 times each session. As you progress the 20 secs can become 30-40 secs and the rests can reduce to 20- 30 secs.
– Don’t switch all your cardio sessions to high intensity interval training. Aim for two sessions a week, along with one or two regular 30-60 min cardio sessions.

Compound movements for lean mass and increased metabolism.
Strength training plays a critical part in toning your abs, as well as the rest of the body. Muscle requires fuel to operate, so the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day, and the higher your metabolism. Compound exercises are multi-jointed movements, while isolation exercises only use one. Many people accredit isolated exercises to significant results, but compound exercises are responsible for greater calorie burns during sessions as well as increasing lean muscle tissue at a greater rate, therefore improving your resting metabolism.

Be sure to incorporate compound movements into your strength training sessions, don’t only focus solely on your ab exercise.

Target the abs – ALL of them!
The abdominals are made up of different muscles on the front, side and middle of the abdominal area. Yet, so often we focus only on the desired ‘six-pack’. Targeting all three of these muscle groups is crucial when it comes to sculpting your abs.

Rectus abdominis – This is the flat muscle running from the chest to pelvic area, popularly referred to as the ‘six pack’.

Internal and external obliques – They are located on either side of the body, attaching on to the ribs. You’ll feel these when you turn and twist your torso. These are responsible for creating that hourglass look in the torso.

The transverse abdominis – This internal muscle forms the innermost layer of the abdominal wall. Tightening and firming this muscle is the key to flatter abs, and is the FIRST muscle to focus on when working on your abs. Proper form during all ab exercises is essential, where these muscles are always pulled in during each contraction. Imagine you are pulling your belly button in towards your spine.

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