Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

How To Get A Flat, Toned Stomach


One of the most common fitness questions this time of year is "How can I tone my stomach for swimsuit season"? Typically, people believe that the guaranteed quick route to obtaining a rock-solid six-pack is a path packed with hundreds of sit-ups or abdominal crunches. Wrong!

The reality is that even if you do crunches every day you aren't guaranteed to get the stomach you desire. Getting those highly sought after, toned abs requires more work than just abdominal exercises. Plus, as far as stomach exercises go, sit-ups or crunches alone are not the solution.

We won't go into detail about the muscles that make up the abdominal wall, but it's good to know the basic information. At a high-level the abdominal/trunk area consists of 5 major muscles. It's necessary that all of these muscles be exercised. It's also important to utilize different types of training techniques like concentric, eccentric and isometric.

In addition to training those muscles, it is imperative that you also reduce the fat in your stomach area. If you don't decrease the fat in this area, then you'll never see well-defined abdominal muscles not matter how long and hard you train them.

The key to reducing body fat is a comprehensive workout program that consists of cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercises. Plus, don't forget a healthy diet. Good examples of cardio exercises are: walking, swimming, aerobics, and jogging. Strength training can be done with dumbbells, resistance bands and even just your own body weight. Flexibility can be as simple as a few stretches held in place for about 20 seconds.

Now, back to the specifics of abdominal training. Traditional crunches can be a part of your abdominal training, but should be limited and certainly shouldn't be the only part. To most effectively work your stomach area, it's necessary to include about 80% rotational work. Rotational exercises are those that include twisting-type methods. Simple crunches do not fall into the rotational category because you simply lift your body straight up and down.

To most effectively train your abs, incorporate a lot of variety, including different positions and equipment. This will allow your muscles to continually be challenged, which is what will help make them stronger and more defined. Remember that you don't have to lie on your back in the supine position to work your stomach area. There are hundreds of different ways to work them, including exercises in a standing position, on your side, raised on a ball, hanging from a bar, etc.

Don't forget the importance of form. If you don't use correct form when performing abdominal exercises, you'll severely limit the effectiveness not to mention possibly cause an injury. Tips for correct form include:

  • Don't ever pull on your neck or head

  • Don't allow your legs to move, they should remain still -- let your abs do all the work

  • Try to keep your belly button pulled in toward the floor throughout the entire move.

To get you started, below are a few sample exercises* with instructions. Start working out today, and you can show-off your toned abs in time for summer.

Basic Crunch: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands lightly behind your head for support. Using your abdominal muscles lift your shoulders a few inches off the ground, pause briefly and return to start position. Complete at least one set of 10-12 reps.

Standing Towel Circle: Stand tall and hold a small towel (or resistance band) taut overhead. Contract abs and slowly draw a large, wide circle over your head and around your torso with your hands. Keep towel pulled taut throughout. Return to beginning position and reverse the circular direction. Complete at least one set of 8-10 reps in each direction.

Oblique Twist With Ball: Begin by sitting on the ball. Walk feet forward until ball is resting under your back -- body is now parallel to the floor. Place hands lightly behind head for support. Using your abdominal muscles slowly crunch up lifting your shoulder blades off of the ball and rotate left shoulder toward right hip. Return to starting parallel position and repeat then switch sides.

For access to a huge library of exercises demonstrations (including demos for the above exercises), visit: http://www.workoutsforyou.com

*You should always consult your physician before trying any new exercise programs.

About The Author

Lynn Bode, author and certified personal trainer, offers her services online through WorkoutsForYou.com. Workouts For You delivers affordable weekly exercise programs to help even the busiest of people lose weight, tone-up, build muscles, increase stamina and more via the Internet. Let us guide you one-on-one through your fitness journey. Visit us online for a free sample workout.

info@workoutsforyou.com


MORE RESOURCES:

I Lift Weights But Can't Build Muscle. What's Wrong?
STACK News
The best diet to build muscle requires a calorie surplus of at least 15 percent of what you eat to maintain. Your diet must also be balanced. I learned protein is not the only essential thing we need to build muscle and be healthy. Do not neglect ...



4 Ways to Build Muscle as You Age
The Epoch Times
Pretty alarming, eh? Though it certainly explains why Granny needs help carrying the groceries. On the upside though, while Gran's got her challenges, you've still got time to slow the muscle mass slide and even build muscle mass, and, as my buddy says ...



How Getting a 'Muscle Pump' Helps Athletes Build Muscle
STACK News
If your goal is to build muscle, then absolutely. The pump is an essential aspect of any hypertrophy training phase. However, we want to reiterate that as an athlete, building muscle is only a part of your overall training program and should not be ...



One Green Planet

How to Build Muscle Slowly With Your Plant-Based Food Choices
One Green Planet
There is plenty of evidence that a vegan diet actually promotes lean muscle mass and muscular growth. Nevertheless, there are some strategies you can use to build muscle slowly over time, boost your metabolism, and keep you in shape all year long.



Build Muscle Faster With This Simple Weight Room Trick
STACK News
If you're not seeing the gains you want from your workouts, it may be time to challenge yourself with an intensity booster. The two most popular types of intensity boosters are the Rest Pause and the Drop Set. If you're doing a Rest Pause set, you take ...

and more »


Mexican youths build muscle strength to resist a life of violence
Fusion
Thousands of Central American children are heading north to the United States, desperately trying to flee gang violence, murder, rape and hopelessness. But in the violent birthplace of Mexico's most notorious drug cartel, some children are developing ...



New health book helps men shed fat, build muscle, increase testosterone
KABC-TV
'Refuel' program could help men shed fat, build muscle. 'Refuel' program could help men get healthy. The so-called 'Refuel' program could help men shed fat, build muscle and increase testosterone. Embed. <iframe width="476" height="270" ...

and more »


Fitness Friday: Exercise for Mental Health
Wink News
Many people hit the gym or pound the pavement to improve cardiovascular health, build muscle, and of course, get a rockin' bod, but working out has above-the-neck benefits, too. Regardless of age or fitness level, studies show that making time for ...



How to Raise the “Barre” on Your Regular Workout
InStyle
Using isometric holds and small, controlled movements, barre3's aim is to help you build muscle and burn fat in one low-impact workout. I headed out for the 60-minute class during my lunch break, where, in the interest of time, I didn't bother changing ...



Adults Can Stay Healthy and Active Despite Old Age
dailyRx
Resistance training should be intense for lengthy periods of time to build muscle strength, the authors wrote. To build up endurance, exercise at least 150 to 300 minutes a week, in 10- to 30-minute episodes, they suggest. This is good for the heart as ...

and more »

Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.