Best exercises for a flatter stomach

There is a saying that a summer body is made in winter. Amid the cold weather you have exactly six months to get the results you want .With N2 Fitness’s winter diary, you can sculpt your body, one section at a time. Last week we looked at how to tone up the buttocks. For the second part of the winter fitness diary, Emile Solomons and Heinrich Smith will show you how to get that flat, toned stomach in time for summer 2014.

How many times have you seen a person performing countless crunches on the abdominal mat, session after session, with no real improvement in his abdominal area? It’s quite a common occurrence. Your abdominal wall consists of four muscles: rectus abdominals, external obliques, internal obliques and transverse abdominals. They provide movement and support to the body’s core. They also assist in the breathing process.  Here is our guide to exercise these four parts of your abs:

 

Rectus Abdominals:

The primary function of the rectus abdominals is flexion of the trunk.

Exercises: All varieties of crunches/sit-ups, reverse crunches, planks

 

Internal and External Oblique’s:

Your oblique muscles help you bend from side to side and twist your torso.

Exercises: Russian twists, full-contact twists, cable chops, medicine ball v-sit twists, windmills, side bends

 

Transverse Abdominals:

Its main function is to compress the abdominal contents and aid in production of intra-abdominal pressure.

Exercises: plank variations and any movement that requires you to brace or stabilize your spine against a load (i.e. squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc.)

High repetitions of ab exercises get results:  You have to work your muscles hard. If you have to do 50 or more crunches before you feel fatigued, slow down and concentrate on your technique and having good form.

 

Most of us would love to have flat abs but, no matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to get there. Much of the frustration surrounding the abs is thanks to myths and unrealistic expectations.

 

A few myths we have come to believe:

Doing Ab exercises gets rid of abdominal fat: Unfortunately spot reduction does not work. The only way to burn fat from your belly is to reduce overall body fat by creating a calorie deficit. The healthiest way to do that is with consistent exercise (cardio, weight training and flexibility exercises). You also need to follow a balanced diet.

 

Ab Muscles are different from other muscles of the body: Abdominal muscles are just like every other muscle in your body, so you should train them the same way you would train, say, your biceps or  your legs. You need to work them two to three times per week with rest in between.

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