Getting the right information and recognizing that a lot of what you hear and read on what is considered the best ab workout are myths and this sometimes presents the biggest challenge to getting rid of fat from your mid-section.
For most people, especially in men, the abdominal section stores most of the bodies excess fat. For men and women that are seeking the ideal ab workout, it should be understood that it is a fallacy that fat around the abdominal section can be eradicated through exercising the abs and turning fat into muscle. Who can blame anyone for such a belief when the promoters of ab belts, ab machines, ab rollers and ab workout dvd’s through their advertising help to perpetuate this myth. Firstly, you can NEVER turn fat into muscle. They are completely different cell structures and one cannot be transformed into the other. Just think about all the time, expense and scientific research that was devoted to the successful cloning of an animal cell – an amazing accomplishment! Yet, through the media and infomercial ads, we are lead to believe that we can completely alter a human cell structure through exercise!
Also it should be understood that your ab workout should not be measured by the amount of weight that you lose or fat that is reduced. Spot Reducing, the theory that you can burn fat directly above the muscle your are exercising is a theory that has been proven to be false over and over. With that said, if you are striving for six-pack abs and you are not already at your ideal weight (10-12% body fat for a man and 13-15% body fat for a woman) your priority should be trying to achieve a caloric deficit (burning more calories than consumed) in addition to working out your abs. Most fitness experts agree that in order to achieve a caloric deficit, you should combine cardiovascular activity combined with a healthy diet that promotes fat loss. With that said, to get a defined mid-section should involve cardiovascular exercise, control of your diet and working out your abs.
Work the Larger Muscles to Burn Calories
Working your abdominal section is an absolute necessity for toning and tightening your abs, but does not represent the best way to burn calories simply because the abs represent a small group of muscles. Focusing on the larger muscles groups such as the legs and biceps get the heart rate going at a much greater rate which translates to more calories burned. Your ab workout should include an exercise such as the squat. The squat exercise performed with weights is considered an excellent exercise because larger muscle groups are engaged which gives the potential to burn a tremendous amount of calories. The squat exercise involves the quadriceps (thighs), the spinal erectors (back muscles), the hamstrings (back of the thighs) and the buttocks.
Cardiovascular Exercise Should Supplement Your Ab Workout Routine.
To get a good six-pack, you will need to combine a cardiovascular workout of medium intensity with ab exercises. Before you begin with an anaerobic workout, you will need to burn off fat and warm-up, the goal is for you to be working hard enough to sweat for 25-40 minutes. This can be anything from a 4-mile run to using a rowing machine. It doesn’t have to be specific to upper or lower body but simply to get the heart rate up. The intensity doesn’t need to be too extreme, overall it needs to be sustainable enough for you to carry out these activities 4-5 times a week. Intensity can also be mixed; for example, some days you could go for a gentle hour long jog, whilst on other days you could hit the cross-trainer hard.
By far the best ab workouts are those that incorporate different exercises. For example v-sit-ups and squats. These will work different areas of the abdomen harder than sit-ups will. As you become fitter you will be able to develop your own routine containing different ab exercises as well as other exercises into your workout such as shuttle runs, push-ups and even free weights. It’s even possible to cut out other forms of endurance exercise such as jogging or swimming and to use only circuit training to maintain overall body strength and general fitness provided you are fit enough to keep up the intensity for a reasonably long period of time. An ideal abs specific circuit workout would contain exercises such as sit-ups, squat-thrusts and v-sit-ups in repetitions of 15-20 with shuttle runs in between each exercise for a duration of around 30-40 minutes. This is an ideal workout that does not involve any equipment.