Turns out, crunches are not as effective as they say.
It’s midsummer and it’s so hot outside that you would never go out if it is not for some more ice-cream. So I decided to stay at home and spend my day writing a new article.
Back then when I was working in the gym I came to the conclusion that every girl’s dream is to get a slim and fit body, a.k.a. sexy abs. The good news is that you don’t have to do millions of crunches and endless abs exercises to get rid of the belly fat. Just do it right and eat healthy.
Wait, but before you go do abs exercises and start crafting your perfect “six-pack”, you have to know the hard facts about abdominal muscles. So, I am ready to dispel the most common myths about abs.
Myth 1: You can get rid of the belly fat if you do more and more abs exercises.
Truth: So called, “six-pack” or rectus abdominis is an abdominal muscle and it works just like any other muscle in your body: when you put double or triple load on it, it gets pumped. But the fat will not go anywhere, the muscles will grow and increase the overall size of the belly. It will cause tears and resentment, tons of disappointment, getting stuffed with sweets and lead to sports aversion. Don’t do it to yourself.
A set of 3-4 exercises by 20 reps each two-three times a week will be more than enough to get rid of the belly fat. It’s also recommended doing stomach vacuum to train the abdominal muscles from inside and get the perfect “six-pack”. Increasing the load progressively is a must but don’t go too far too soon.
Myth 2: You have to remove fats from your diet to get rid of the belly fat.
Truth: Nonsense! Good fats facilitate weight loss. They actually dissolve fat. Instead, you’d better refuse the sugar and pastry. You don’t have to give up on whole-grain pastry but keep it within reason, of course.
Myth 3: Certain products burn fat on the belly.
Truth: Fat loss cannot be targeted to one body part. Many foods and additive manufacturing companies claim that certain products are able to stimulate the belly fat burning process. It might sound good, but it’s just a myth. Indeed, there are certain foods which contribute to weight loss, for example, fiber-rich dark greens and vegetables, red berries, and fruits (because they contain a natural fat burner: lycopene), and citruses. However, these products will help to “dry out” the entire body not just the belly.
Myth 4: classic crunches is everything you need for a perfect “six-pack”.
Truth: No way! Crunches are old school. Of course, they are perfect for building your abs. But only abs exercises will not be enough to get a slim waist and flat belly. It’s very important to engage also muscles of your spine and core.
You should do plank and vacuum in the morning to tighten the inner muscles. Research shows that crunches are the most effective exercise to activate the rectus abdominis which is the main frontal abdominal muscle. However, it is just one of many muscles which should be tightened to get “six-pack” and flat belly. For example, external obliques are abdominal muscles that ensure core stability. To keep them toned, you’d better do side planks and bridge with leg raises, “superman” and side bends.
As you see none of the exercises can do the job alone: neither help to get rid of the belly fat nor create a “six-pack”. You should combine different exercises for abs, as well for spine and core.
Exercises for abdominal muscles
Let’s get to the most important part. How to get a slim waist and sexy abs? A set of special exercises for abs will help you to get the job done. Just remember the correct technique and do it regularly. Ideally, you should workout 3-4 times a week.
Tips: don’t rush when doing exercises, try to focus on every muscle to feel how it works. If you also do 30mins jogging or brisk walking, you can also improve your well-being and endurance together with waist size and abdomen.
Remember these top 4 exercises which will make you love the way you look in the mirror more than ever. And of course, don’t cheat and remember about the healthy diet.
Starting position – lay on your back, bend your knees to have your legs in parallel to the floor. Stretch your arms along your body, palms down. Pull in your stomach. As you exhale, engage your abdominal muscles, and keep them tight, raise your hips a few centimeters above the floor. Then return to the starting position. Do 12-15 reps in three sets.
Tip: try to lift your hips as slowly as possible. Focus on each muscle and movement. Make sure that the load is exclusively on the abdominal muscles, and not on the legs.
Crunches with Head Raised
Lay on your back and bend your knees. Put your hands behind your head. Pull in your stomach. Raise your head and shoulders while lifting your hips off the floor. Return to the starting position, but keep the abdominal muscles tight. Do 12 reps in three sets.
Tip: when lifting your hips do not squeeze your buttocks too much. Despite the fact that it will be difficult for you to keep them completely relaxed, try to keep the main load on the abdominal muscles.
Hands Overhead Crunches
Lay on your back, bend your knees, put your feet on the floor, stretch your arms along the body. Then put your hands behind your head, stretch them out and lock your fingers together. Pull in your stomach. Raise your arms, head and shoulders at the same time. After that, slowly get back to the starting position. Repeat this 12 times in three sets.
Tip: make sure that your arms are straight during the exercise, do not bend them. Try to keep your shoulders relaxed when you rise and fall. The slower the pace of the exercise, the better.
The Forearm Plank
Plank or static is one of the best exercises for the whole body, including the abdominal muscles. It allows you to strengthen and tighten the rectus abdominis and the core.
Tip: when doing the plank, it’s important to stick to the right technique so that the body is parallel to the floor and resembles a perfectly straight, fixed-line.
The spine should not bend down, and the buttocks should not be lifted. At the same time, calmly breathe, as usual, relax your shoulders and tense the muscles of the abs, hips, arms, and chest.
At first, hold this position for 30-40 seconds, then repeat. Increase the time of sets with each new lesson.
That’s it! Now you know that there is no magic product that burns fat on the belly. You also know that 250 reps of abs exercise can do no good. Forget the shiny headlines and just start building the best version of yourself. Your efforts will pay off over time.