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Abdominal Training Tips
by Justin Leonard

How can I get a six-pack?

Anyone can have decent abs with a few key concepts and techniques. Everyone actually has a good set of abs. It's just a matter of removing the fat and sculpting them. To remove bodyfat, consider one or more of the following: exercise regularly, reduce calories or meal size, increase meal frequency, reduce sodium, and drink low-calorie beverages. In addition, a combination of both strength and cardiovascular training will help tremendously.

How many situps should I do to tone my abs?

Situps are generally not recommended for most people, although there are a few exceptions to this rule. There are several alternatives to situps that are safer and arguably more beneficial. Also, there is nothing on the market that burns fat only around the midsection (with the exception of liposuction and some injectable and topical steroids). Fat loss from a certain area is known as "spot reducing," a concept formerly thought to be effective. Fat is actually burned all over the body during diet modification and exercise.

What's the best way to lose fat around my midsection?

The best way to burn fat over the "entire" body is through nutrition modification, low-impact cardiovascular exercise, and weight training. Bodyfat is best burned when calories are reduced and one is consistent with a diet that doesn't exceed the demands of their daily physical activities.

Sample cardio exercises are the stationary bike and treadmill. If you decide to use a treadmill, consider brisk walking instead of running. In comparison to walking, running is generally more anaerobic (without oxygen) than it is aerobic (with oxygen). Although the slower you run, the more aerobic it is. Also, running is not as safe on the joints as walking.

In addition to the above modifications, supplements such as vitamins, thermogenic formulas, meal replacements, and whey protein formulas have been shown to be beneficial for some.

What is the best abdominal exercise?

There is no specific exercise which is better than another. What works for someone else may not work for you. You must experiment with each to find which is best for your individual body type. Listed below are two commonly used ab exercises:

Crunches

   

Side Crunches

   

How often should I train my abs?

The answer to this question varies depending on individual levels of fitness. It also depends on the goal of the person (athletes and non-athletes). For starters, consider training your abs as often as you would any other body part (1 - 2 times per week). Although the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine say that it's okay to train the abs 5 - 6 times per week.

My upper abs are visibly good, but how can I work my lower abs?

The centermost region of the abs is scientifically referred to as the rectus abdominis. It functions one muscle. As such, you cannot target the lower portion of the abs. Surprisingly, traditional crunches will effectively train the entire abdominal region. Not convinced? Here's a test: 1) Get into a crunch position on the floor. 2) Place your hand on the "lower abs." 3) Now slowly lift the shoulders off the ground and contract your abs. Did you feel it? The rectus abmominis muscle contracts at the same time.

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