The first thing that crosses one’s mind when seeing a person with toned abs is that he must have been running endlessly and spending hours upon hours in the gym doing crunches to get that perfect flat stomach. You should know, however, that crunches and running aren’t the best way to get flat abs and burn fat around the waist. You can do a number of other exercises and adopt a specially designed routine which engages all the core muscles, burns fat and tones the abs much more efficiently than the select few crunches target.
Here are 4 exercises that can help you tone your midsection and burn fat at the same time.
This exercise is different from most typical core exercises for it has a twisting movement and impacts the obliquesnot just the abdominal area. This ensures that the sides of your midsection will be toned just as well as the stomach, making it a perfect exercise for preventing or getting rid of love handles.
To do this exercise, get down and lie on your back positioning your feet flat on the ground, with knees bent upwards. Lift your upper body to a 45 degree angle and twist it to your left. Go back to the starting position and then twist it to the right. You can feel how the exercise is attacking your side muscles as you twist to one side and then to the other. This is one repetition.
For greater impact you can try lifting your legs off the ground while doing the exercise. As you progress and feel like the exercise is getting too easy you can take a dumbbell or another heavy object on your hands while you do the exercise.
The scale pose is the textbook pose for core resistance training. This pose is an isometric exercise, which means that your muscles aren’t contracting, you’re just holding a position. Researchers have found that isometric exercises are correlated with lower levels of fat, making this exercise extremely beneficial when it comes to toning and getting rid of belly fat.
Sit down on the floor and cross your legs while placing the palms beside your hips face down.
Exhale and push your hands against the floor, flexing the abs and trying to lift your body up from the floor.
If you find it difficult to lift your entire body up, try pushing as hard as you can until you feel high resistance and hold in than position.
Try to stay in that high-resistance pose for at least 10-15 seconds.
Another pose which once more is perfect for burning fat and getting a flat and toned stomach.
Sit down on the ground and extend your legs straight in front of you. You can then either grab each of your big toes or anywhere on your calves, which will act as a stabilizer to assist you in performing the exercise.
Lean, or use momentum to “rock” your body backwards while you’re flexing your core muscles simultaneously until you reach a V shape, like the picture above. Hold in that position for 10-15 seconds.
Once you master the pose and you feel like you need a bigger challenge let go of your legs or toes and hold the position just using the core muscles. Just for veterans though, as this is exceedingly hard and beginners will have difficult time with it.
The Swan Dive
This exercise is extremely effective but is greatly underrated because it targets the posterior chain. This group of muscles located at the back of your body are crucial for injury prevention and increased core strength, which means that it will make all of the typical core exercises that focus purely on your abs easier and safer to perform. Maybe you didn’t know but almost all of the core exercises involve heavy use of your posterior chain muscles and if they’re not up to the task you can end up injured and the exercise will be much more challenging.
Lie down on the stomach, stretch your arms in front of you while stretching your legs behind you. Then lift your upper body off the ground as much as possible. Hold in this position for 10 -15 seconds.
If you want a bigger challenge, try to lift your legs at the same time, keeping them straight the entire time.
How to perform the routine
Now that you know the benefits of all of these exercises and how to perform them, here is how to include them into your workout schedule:
Start with the abdominal twists. Divide them into 3 sets and start with 5 reps in the first set. Continue with 8-10 reps in the second and third set. It could be a challenge to increase the reps in the 2nd and 3rd set, but if you feel like they’re too easy or too difficult you can increase or decrease the number of repetitions, it’s up to you. Just don’t push yourself too hard or you could end up with an injury. For the last set do as much as you can.
Take a 30-40 second break between the sets.
The scale pose, the swan dive and the V pose are isometric exercises, which means you won’t be doing any repetitions just holding the position for 10-15 seconds, or more if you feel you can. After each exercise, take a break 10 seconds longer than the amount of time you held the position for. For example, if your exercise was 10 seconds, take a 20 seconds break. Do this after each exercise.