Abs seems to be the buzz word playing on the mind of every fitness freak out there. So much so, that the concept of fitness has become synonymous with having that flawless set of packs in the abs. If you have ever tried to sweat it out in the gym with a personal trainer or experimented with different diets and workout regimes in the hope of landing those abs, you know they remain elusive more often that not. Let’s try to decode the mystery behind a perfect set of abs and ways to achieve them:
Above you can see Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel toned up for “Blade Trinity”
Understanding the Six-Pack
The abdominal muscles, or abs as you popularly known them, are responsible for a host of different bodily function. Besides, there is a myriad of workout training and exercises for toning and building up these muscles. The combination of these two factors contributes greatly towards the complexity of achieving a perfectly toned set of abs.
Even if you don’t want a full-out six-pack, there is no arguing that having a flat and toned stomach is… sexy
Though the abdominal area is packed with a number of muscles, the six-pack is developed out of rectus abdominis, which is a single muscle that starts at the rib cage and runs along the entire length of the abdomen, right up to the hips. The key to developing a six-pack is to work on the fibrous tendons of this muscle and lose body fat around the area at the same time. If there is a layer of fat on the muscle, you may not be able to see the six-pack abs even if they are duly formed.
Note: Doing ab exercises is more than for aesthetics. It’s important for your lower back, posture, and overall strength!
Are You Doing It Right?
The failure to see apparent results often pushes people to wonder if they are doing the abs training right. Since there is a vast variety of work-out patterns and mix of exercises that work for toning of abs, different fitness trainers can have different opinions on the truth about abs. While some will recommend dead lifts and squats, other will advise static holds and overhead lifts. Here is a low-down on some of the most effective exercises for abs training:
- Knee Raises: Practicing knee raises in a lying down position is an effective abs toning exercise. Lie down on a bench, with your tailbone at one edge of the bench. Keep you legs perpendicular to your body and grip the bench firmly with your hands. Raise your legs upwards slowly, till your toes point towards the ceiling, hold for a few seconds and continue to move upwards, trying to touch your elbows with your knees.
- Ball Crunches: Lie down with your back on the ball and your hips hanging slightly low. Stretch the upper portion of your body backwards, till your shoulders and head hang from one end of the ball. Hold on to this position, giving your abdominal muscles a full stretch. Then work your way upwards, contracting the muscles and breathing out. The stretching and contracting works effectively in toning the fibrous tendons of your abdominal muscle.
- Build Resistance: While a lot of people advise against adding resistance to your workout regime when you are working on abs. However, adding resistance to your workout can actually help you have visible abs sooner. Resistance training leads to widening of waistline, which offers a good platform for evenly distributing and holding the body fat, thereby, making the six-pack more readily visible.
Having a toned and sexy stomach, or a full on six-pack is possible. Remember that in order to be able to see your six-pack or reveal that toned stomach, you will need to lower body fat if it’s relatively high. There are more exercises not mentioned here that do work. These are just a foundation, a foundation… that works! Keep at it!
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