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Abdominal Exercises

They are all around us: washboard abs and trim waists. Consequently, the desire to attain the ultimate 6-pack is what drives millions of Americans to keep the exercise equipment industry booming.

However, many of the gadgets on the market are being unsafe are truly ineffective. The advertisements for these products perpetuate misconceptions about what really works and what doesn’t.

It will be safe to say that any exercise program or ‘equipment’ will perhaps only work best with a combination of aerobics to burn the excess fat and of course a customized and proper diet.

Now let’s go over the common terms mentioned in most of the exercises infomercials we see in the media.

Spot Reduction

A “Trim” waist is a description used frequently in hyping up abdominal exercise equipments. In reality, none of these will trim or reduce your waist. Thus it will be safe to say don’t believe ANY abdominal toning equipment advertisement that promises to decrease fat around your waistline. The fact is that exercises will train your ab muscles, but you will have the same layer of excess weight sitting on top of these muscles unless you create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume. The most effective combination is aerobic exercise, targeted-abdominal exercises and healthy eating habits.

These will all be covered in full detail as we go further.

The Flat-Stomach Myth:

Technically, our abdomens are not meant to be ‘flat’ per-se. Perhaps depending mostly on one’s eating habits, amount of exercise, gender, age, and individual body types can affect the size and shape of your abdomen.

In truth, many people are on a quest to achieve a “flat stomach” and will religiously engage in vigorous and oft-times unsafe exercises to this effect. When exercises seem useless for the abdominal muscles, the ensuing obsession with the abdominal area can cause frustration, anxiety, and can even lead to eating disorders.

So instead of worrying about how effective or otherwise ineffective the commonly prescribed exercises might be for you, focus more on a healthy diet FIRST and the right kinds of exercises to tone the overall body which as a result will lead to a trimmer and slimmer physique for the totality of the body.

Calisthenics

As mentioned earlier, abdominal exercises won’t reduce fat from your waistline. With the proper exercises, you will strengthen the abdominal muscles but again remember to lay emphasis on the aerobic exercises that burn excess fat and to create a calorie deficit in your diet to speed up abdominal weight loss.

I will share a trick with you for getting massive and quick results with slimming down the waist in due course: TRUST ME IT WORKS!!! However, in advance here are some great abdominal exercises using calisthenics first. Now just as performing 100 biceps curls is not the proper way to overload the biceps–neither is doing 100 crunches to work the abdominals. Effective abdominal exercises (or any exercise for a specific body part) will fatigue muscles in less than 20 repetitions and will produce better results.

1. The Bicycle:

The bicycle has been ranked the best abdominal calisthenics exercise by the American Council on Exercise because it uses every muscle in your abs to create a strong, lean torso. Make sure you pull your abs in (draw your navel towards your spine) and keep them contracted throughout the movement to protect your back. Don’t hold your breath and go slowly so you can really feel it! Do 10-16 reps.

exercises

2. The Plank:
The plank is another great exercise that challenges your Transverse Abdominis as well as the muscles of your back. In advance, I will let you know this is essentially a Yoga Pose as will be described below. You can do this move on your elbows or on your hands. Position yourself as though you’re about to do a push up and hold that pose, making sure your body is in one long, straight line from head to toes. Don’t let your belly sag and keep your neck straight. Hold as long as you can!

exercises

3. The Sit-Up and Crunches:

The Sit-up and the Crunch are pretty much the same exercise, and one of the most basic but most effective exercises. Now, there are many different types and styles of Sit-ups and Crunches but we will have a look at the most simple version.  Remember, always stay in your own comfort zone while performing these exercises and keep good form, move slowly and with smooth movements.

• Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, legs bent at a 45 degree angle and hands resting underneath the neck.
It is very important to press the small of your back into the floor throughout the duration of the exercise to guard against back injury.
• Lift the back and head off the floor and towards the legs. The feet, buttocks and small of the back remain on the floor.
• There is no need to bring your head and body right up against your thighs, if you keep your abdominal muscles clenched you will get the desired effect.
• Roll the shoulders upwards towards the knees, lifting the head and top of the back off the floor.
• Lower back to the ground and into the starting position.

The amount of repetitions you do will really depend on the strength of your abdominal muscles. As you perform the crunches regularly, the number of repetitions you will be able to perform will come in leaps and bounds.

Instead of doing crunches on the floor you can lie on an exercise ball. You’ll challenge your abdominal muscles in a whole new way while also working other muscles in your body like your legs and butt.

exercises

4. The Ab Wheel (aka Ab-slide)

This is an exercise that employs the use of an ab-roller available in sports stores. It is known amongst boxers and martial artists to strengthen and tone the arms, chest and the abdominal muscles. It’s an advanced exercise so pay close attention to your back. The movement involves rolling or sliding your hands out, using your abs and back to keep your body straight and then contracting them to pull back in.

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Now that we’ve covered targeted calisthenics as a form of exercises,  let me introduce you to my personal favorite for abdominal muscles: Yoga!
Helpful Yoga Poses

Now, if you notice whenever anyone says or gestures that they want to lose weight, most of the time, they point to their guts saying “I wanna lose all this!” Obviously, abdominal weight loss is a goal for many people.

However, of all exercises Yoga actually can help immensely for weight loss in the abdominal region and specific poses actually serve as marvelous abdominal exercises.

Moreover, unlike the ones mentioned above, these exercises for the abdominal region serve the dual purpose of aiding in detoxifying the body. Now think about this, most of the excess weight found in the abdominal region just might be due to clogged up colons and digestive tracks.

This considered, some of these poses literally massage the visceral organs and press this debris out while at the same time tone the abdominal muscles the way calisthenics may perhaps not be able to target.

Just take a look at the peacock pose below. (number 3).  Do you notice how the conjoined elbows are pressing on the abdominal tract? Bet you thought Yoga was all about stretching eh? Well, you may be wrong. Trust me when I say, for superior abdominal exercises, Yoga can offer some challenging options.

There are specific poses, that target excess weight in the abdomen and coupled with a customized diet, those seeking toned abdominal muscles would find success in using these yogic exercises.

Let’s go over them, shall we?

1. The Sun Salutations:
These are a combination of poses that serve as a warm up-routine for a Yoga session or class. They are very similar to the popular calisthenics exercise known as burpees. However, they differ in that they have a spiritual significance included as a result of executing them. 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.

yoga

2. 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.

more yoga

3. The Peacock Pose:

This is slightly more challenging. 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 weight loss in the abdominal regions 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.

yoga sun

4. The Abdominal Lift:

This is not a pose, per-se but is a specific exercise that involves you exhaling your breath and pulling the diaphragm in while holding the breath out. This is a specific exercise for weight loss, spiritual rejuvenation and detoxification.

yoga

Now friends, there are other poses such as the shoulder-stand, the forward-bending pose, the spinal twist and the wheel pose that also target increase in muscular tone and weight loss in the abdominal regions, however from practice the 4 above will perhaps be the most effective  exercises of yogic origin.

Do note though that if you are female and pregnant or in your menstrual period, some of these poses might not be the best to execute.

Moreover, since these poses-besides helping with abdominal weight loss-aid tremendously with detoxifying, it is advised that one eats a proper and healthy diet to augment the actions of these poses.

Now to combine a use of both forms of abdominal exercises: Calisthenics and Yoga, or for an exclusive use of one or the other, I have outlined detailed and effective instructions in my e-book Fitness: Inside and Out as presented below.

In addition customized diets and recipes along with important principles to speed up weight loss and ensure proper nutrition for effective results are included in the section on the Proper Diet.

As for the secret tip I mentioned above for quick and effective waistline reduction, friends I refer you to my Fasting for Weight Loss page.

Don’t panic!!! It is customized so if you have never tried a fast before, it will still be easy and may not necessarily require you to miss meals…per se, however…trust me when I say again that it works!!

Exercises when performed correctly WITH a healthy diet and of course exercises to target the whole body can be effective when done correctly.

However, like anything else, you have to work at it friends. To get a slim AND healthy waistline (yes being clean on the inside matters) a combination of all the factors thus far mentioned will be your best bet.

SO GET YOUR COPY OF FITNESS: INSIDE AND OUT TODAY by scrolling down below to the Purchase Icon

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell

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This article is written by Foras Aje, an independent researcher and author of “Fitness: Inside and out”, which provides tips on how to improve and maintain your health using all natural methods. For more information on these guidelines:

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Written by Foras Aje, an experienced Yoga Practitioner and Naturopath, The e-book, Fitness: Inside and Out-A guide to Improved Health, Vigor and Vitality is a lifestyle changing program that helps motivated individuals make the necessary changes to get long-term results in not only weight loss, but improved fitness, health and an overall well being. Contrary to conventional health dogma, this e-book focuses on the following:

1. Effective health and weight loss solutions helping people to create lifestyle changes.

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* Aerobic and Anaerobic calisthenics as a welcome alternative or wise addition to Yoga.

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