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Abdominal Exercises and Workout

Rock hard, six-pack and washboard abs are just some of the terms used in today's popular culture when describing the much sought after lean figure for our abdominals. People often want to know how they can achieve this lean physique and many continue to follow narrow minded ab exercise programs. As with any other part of the body, the only way to achieve a lean stomach is through a combination of diet, aerobic, and specialized abdominal exercise. The most common mistake is to only focus on a single body part - in this case the stomach - and hope to achieve spot fat loss. This fallacy often leads to disappointment and potential harm due to over exercising.

Focus on the Diet

The rock hard abs so many of us want require us to lose the excess fat in the adbominal area. As I mentioned above, you can't achieve spot fat reduction so in order to lose the fat around the mid-section, you have to lose fat all over your body. Your diet plays a very important part in weight loss and as a general rule, if you consume less calories than you burn, you should lose weight (hopefully in the form of excess bodyfat). I would suggest dividing your daily food intake to 5-6 small meals spread throughout the day, avoiding sugars and simple carbs, focusing on complex carbs, lean proteins and vegetable source fats.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is key to losing body fat and should be an intergral part of your overall goal for leaner abs. You certainly don't have to go overboard with the cardio; 30-45 minutes of medium-level cardio on an exercise bike or through running; three times a week should be sufficient.

Abdominal Routines

If you wish to take your abs to that next level they need to challenge them through specialized ab exercises. A group of ab exercises done three days a week for 2-3 sets each of 16-20 repetitions would be ideal. There are also many ab workout machines on the market. Though they are not necessary, some could be useful in your workout. Here are some effective ab exercises that should be cosidered;

Hanging Knee Raises


For this ab exercise hang from a bar with your hands about shoulder width apart with your legs hanging down. Curl your trunk up and slowly raise your knees as far as possible towards your chest. Lower your legs back to the initial position and repeat.

Hanging Site-Twist Raise


This exercise is very similar to the hanging knee raise. You start off in the same position but instead curl your trunk up, raise the knees towards the chest and roll the hips to the right. Slowly lower back to the start position and repeat, this time rotating the hips on the left.

Medicine Ball Sit Ups


Medicine balls are quite common in most facilities but are also one of the more underused pieces of gym equipment. For this ab exercise lie on a flat board with your knees bent and feet secured beneath the roller pads. Hold a medicine ball in both hands with your arms straight behind the body. Perform a regular sit up as you bring the medicine ball over your head and towards your knees. Lower yourself back slowly to the supine position and repeat. Since this exercise involves use of some weight, it must be performed slowly and under total control.

Crunches


Abdmonial crunches are a common exercise that can play a key role in achieving those perfect abs. To do crunches lie down on an exercise mat with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hands by your ears. Slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor towards your knees and then back down as you lower your torso. The key to doing abdominal crunches is that its much better to do 20 slow crunches than 200 fast, jerky ones.

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