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8 Insider Tips for Tighter Abs
One of the strongest indicators of a successful weight loss or weight maintenance program is the shape of your waistline. We all use it to measure how fit we are. When you feel a little pudge there, you know it’s time to get serious about your workouts! Here are 8 tips I share with anyone who asks me about having tighter abs. They work for me so I know they will work for you, too!
1. Work on building a strong foundation throughout your entire workout.
Core muscles include all the muscles in your torso – not just abdominal and low back muscles, but hips, shoulders and stabilizing muscles too. So, actively engage your core or trunk muscles when you perform exercises for your shoulders, legs and back.
2. Don’t skip the stretch…
Constantly contracting the abdominal muscles shorten them and this can make your core inflexible. Elongate the muscles in your torso by taking the time to stretch. You’ll get a sleeker, more toned core if you do.
3. Rest? ABsolutely!
As with any other muscle, your core muscles need time to rest, recover and rebuild. Whenever you do a targeted workout like using an ab machine, take a day off the next day. If you happen to do a different workout that includes core moves, take it easy.
4. Try abs first for a change – right after your warm-up.
You’ll maximize your core training if you do these exercises before you’re completely fatigued from your workout.
5. Brace & breathe!
Contracting or bracing the abdominal muscles is a great technique for working your core. To do this correctly, place your hand on your belly; feel your muscles tighten against your hand, without sucking them in or pushing them out. You should be able to breathe evenly while the abdominal muscles are engaged. You can do this anytime—during your workout, at your desk, walking the shopping mall.
6. Fabulous 4: calorie-burning cardio, muscle-sculpting exercises, sensible eating and core training.
You have to include all four if you want to totally reshape your waistline and strengthen your midsection.
7. It’s about form, not reps!
If executed properly, you don’t have to do 100s of crunches to get beautiful abs. Don’t overdo it; modify the exercise or take a short break if you cannot maintain proper form. Otherwise, you’ll risk injury and hinder your results.
8. Listen to your mother … Sit up straight and practice good posture.
Pull your abs in toward your spine slightly — don’t suck them in so much that you can’t breathe — reach up through the crown of your head and roll your shoulders back throughout the day. You’ll work your core even when you’re not working out.
Article provided courtesy of The FIRM. Join The FIRM Believers Club for more online fitness tips, advice, blogs and how-to’s from The FIRM instructors