04 June, 2008

get fab abs

The first key to losing body fat and gaining muscle is with proper nutrition. You need to create a diet that burns slightly more calories than consumed.
Other tips for avoiding fat gain include: getting calcium, eating breakfast and eating high fiber foods. Make sure you stay well hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Also, be sure not to cut calories too drastically or you could inadvertently lower your metabolism.
Aerobic Exercise Aerobic exercise is the best way to burn calories and manage (or lose) weight. Reducing your calories without exercise will lead to initial weight loss, but you'll likely reach a plateau and you may also lose muscle. A personal exercise plan will get you past plateaus and can help you maintain muscle.
Stronger firmer abdominals and a true six-pack can be achieved by performing the following abdominal circuit. 
The abdominal workouts will strengthen your lower, upper and oblique abdominal muscles. Try to perform the desired amount of repetitions and sets for each abdominal exercise, having sufficient rest between abdominal exercises and sets (20 -30 sec's). 

Try and increase the amount of reps that you perform each week by 2, until you can comfortably perform 20 reps of each abdominal exercise. The best way to strengthen your abdominal muscles is to vary both the exercises you perform, and also the workout routines that you do.

1. The abdominal crunch
The starting position for the abdominal crunch is on your back, both feet off the floor, legs forming a right angle, shoulders just off the floor. 

Inhale, then simultaneously bring your knees in towards your chest, while lifting your upper body to an angle of around 30 degrees. Be sure to keep the contraction in your abs the whole time. Keep your chin up off your chest.

2. Oblique exercise

Lie on your back, with your left hand supporting your head, elbow pointing forward. 

Lift both legs off the floor, taking your right leg over your left, crossing at your knees. Inhale and slowly contract your lower abs, bringing your right knee up towards your chest, whilst lifting your upper-body, focusing on taking your left elbow to your right knee. 

3. The Sit-Up
Start on your back, feet on the floor, knees bent. 
Place your fingers to the side of your head, elbows out to the side. Your hands will thus support the weight of your head, not pull you up. 
Look straight ahead, keeping your chin up off your chest. This will help to keep your neck in a relaxed, neutral position. Inhale, and slowly lift your shoulders, neck and head. Your elbows should stay out to the side, your neck relaxed. Your lower back should stay in contact with the floor throughout the movement. 

With your abs contracted, lift until you are about 30 degrees off the floor, hold for a second, then exhale and slowly return to the starting position. 

The key to this exercise is smooth, slow movement, feeling the contraction in your abs the whole time.

4. Bridging

The starting position for Bridging is flat on the floor with your hands resting by your sides. Your feet should be flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, knees bent.
Contract your abdominals; low back and gluts, and then slowly lift your midsection to form a straight line from your knees, through your hips to your shoulders. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then slowly lower.

5.Hands to Knees

The starting position for Hands to Knees is on your back, legs bent, hands resting lightly on your thighs. Using only the abdominal muscles, curl slowly upwards - first the shoulders, then the upper back - sliding your hands up your leg towards your knees.
6.Knees to Chest

Avoid this exercise if you have lower back problems.

The starting position for Knees to Chest is flat on the floor, knees bent. To perform the exercise, lift both feet off the floor, ankles and knees together, while pressing your low back into the floor.

Inhaling gently, contract your abs and bring your knees towards your chest. Pause, and then slowly extend your legs out. Your lower back and head should stay in contact with the floor throughout the movement, arms pushing down against the floor for balance. 

To avoid injury to the lower back, do not allow your legs come up or go out to far - stop while your knees are still slightly bent on the outward phase. 

7. Hands Through Knees

Inhale and slowly push your hands between your thighs in a smooth motion avoiding any jerking movements. Control the movement on the way down, exhaling as you gently lower prior to repeating again. Focus on keeping your shoulder blades off the floor throughout the movement, as this will keep your abs contracted. 

Keep your chin off your chest, and if your neck aches, support your head with one hand.

8. Bicycle Maneuver Exercise. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands beside your head. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Breath evenly throughout the exercise.

9. Captain's Chair Exercise This was one of the few on the "most effective" list that involves gym equipment. Start with legs dangling and slowly lift your knees in toward your chest. The motion should be controlled and deliberate as you bring your knees up and return them back to the starting position.

10. Crunch on an Exercise Ball. Sit on the exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor. Let the ball roll back slowly and lie back until your thighs and torso are parallel with the floor. Contract your abdominals raising your torso to no more than 45 degrees. To work the oblique muscles, make the exercise less stable by moving your feet closer together.

11. Exercise Start in a Plank Position with your forearms and toes on the floor. Keep your torso straight and rigid, and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds to start. Over time work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds.
12. Lift Start in the same plank position as above with your forearms and toes on the floor.

13. Plank with Arm Lift Start in the same plank position Carefully shift your weight to your right forearm and extend your left arm straight out in front of you and hold your core tight for three seconds. Slowly bring your arm back to starting position. Switch arms and repeat.

14. Wood-chops
Anchor a resistance band near the floor and stand with left side facing it. Hold handle with both hands and, keeping your hips forward, sweep your arms up and across your body in a diagonal until arms are over the right side of your body. If you don't have a resistance band you can use a medicine ball, a light dumbbell or nothing at all. Don't swing--do the movement slowly.

15. Ball Pikes. Lie facedown with ball under shins/ankles, body supported on hands (like a pushup). Beginners bend the knees and roll the ball in towards the chest--try to keep your back straight and contract the abs. Roll out and repeat. Advanced, keep the legs straight, contract the abs and pull the ball in in a pike position until toes are on the ball.
16. Oblique sit with legs bent, back straight, arms extended straight out in front of you. Contract the abs and sweep right arm down and behind you in a half-circle motion, leaning the torso back a few inches. Sit back up and repeat on other side.
17. Lying Torso Twists. 
Lie in the floor with knees pulled in over the chest. Place a ball between knees and stretch arms our to the sides like an airplane, palms facing up. Contract the abs and twist the hips to the right, bringing knees towards the floor (keep your shoulders flat on the floor). Don't touch the floor, but use the abs to bring knees back to start and go to the other side.
18. Side-Lying Hip Lift Lie on your side balanced on forearm, feet and hips stacked on top of one another, other hand behind head. Holding the torso steady, slowly contract your abs and lift the hips off the floor (don't sink into shoulder). Lower and repeat.
19. 100's
. Lie face up and bring legs up, keeping them straight and together. Lift head and shoulders off the ground, pulling in the abs (don't let them bulge out) and bringing hands next to thighs. Lower the legs as much as you can while keeping your back on the floor and press hands up and down, counting with each press. Inhale for 5 counts, exhale for 5 counts and repeat until you hit 100, lowering your legs once again halfway through.

20. The Roll Up. Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms stretched above your head. Relax your shoulders. Keeping your back on the floor, slowly lift your arms toward the ceiling as you slowly breathe in. As you breathe out, slowly roll forward, peeling your spine off the mat. Keep your stomach tight. Breathing in again, stretch out over your legs trying to keep them as straight as possible. Breathing out, slowly roll back down to the floor. Breathe in roll up again to begin the second repetition.
21. Single Straight Legged Stretch
Lie with your back flat on the floor. Extend legs in air, parallel, with knees bent. Rest your hands firmly on your knees. Slowly inhale. Exhale and flex your upper body, extending both legs. Extend one leg away from your torso while bringing the other leg toward torso. Pulse twice. Reach your hands near the bottom of your leg (near your ankle). Inhale and switch legs, keeping knees extended. Exhale and pulse twice as legs reach.
22. Double Straight Legged Stretch
Lie on your back with your legs straight. Slowly raise your head and neck off the mat as if you're starting a basic crunch. Place your hands behind your head. Bend both legs in and raise them off the floor then straighten and point them in the air at 11 o'clock. Keep your head and neck off the floor. Slowly move both legs down (keeping them together and as straight as you can) until they are about a foot from the floor.
23. One-Leg Circles
Lie on your back with arms at your sides. Pulling in your abs, extend the left leg toward the ceiling, and point your toe. Now rotate your foot slightly inward. Rotate leg clockwise. Breathe in as you round your leg down without touching the floor. Exhale as you rotate your leg up to 12 o'clock.

24.Rolling Like a Ball -- Fun AND effective! Sit up and pull your ankles in toward your buttocks, wrapping your hands around them. Bring your head toward your knees and lift your feet off the mat so that you're balancing on your tailbone. Tighten your tummy and slowly roll backward just until your shoulders touch the mat -- be careful not to roll on your neck. Immediately roll back up -- like a ball!

25.The Teaser -- Lie flat on your back with your legs straight out and arms on the mat, stretched straight up over your head. Lift your legs up while raising both arms overhead until your fingers are pointing at your toes (see photo). Exhale and slowly roll back down, feeling each vertebra press into the mat, back to the starting position.

26.Crisscrosses -- With your head slightly raised, bring your knees to your chest and place your hands gently behind your head (don't interlace your fingers). Inhale and slowly twist to the right, bringing your left elbow to your right knee while extending your right leg (see photo). Hold this long enough to exhale. Now inhale and return to the starting position. Repeat, bringing your right elbow to your left knee.

27. The Bow Pose:
This simple pose involves laying flat on your belly and grabbing your ankles with both arms while simultaneously lifting your head up high. When performed correctly, you should be resting on your abdomen. Needless to say, it is a pose commonly recommended for weight loss and the prevention and correction of chronic constipation.
28. The Peacock Pose:
The objective is to balance your abdomen on your conjoined elbows while simultaneously raising your legs and head of the floor. Naturally, merely attempting it speeds up abdominal weight loss and detoxification of the visceral organs and the preparatory stage could suffice as the actual execution of the pose till the mastery of it is achieved.

29. The Sun Salutations:
These are a combination of poses that serve as a warm up routine for a Yoga session or class. Due to the forward and backward bending motions involved, after performing a few to several rounds on a daily basis, you are bound to notice a marked loss of weight in you abdominal area and the added bonus of muscular tone.

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