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Dos and Donts for Six Pack Abs Workout

The beach body workout is in this season and the most important feature of a beach ready body are the abs. But there are strict dos and don’ts for building six packs abs, that is, if you believe that crunches are the best, quickest, and the easiest way of developing strong abdomen muscles, then you're in for some shockers. Besides crunches there are several mistakes that most of us may be committing - and thus, we give you different ways on how to develop your abdomen muscles and maintain it in the long run.
The simple science behind six pack abs is that they exist in everybody. It’s just when you start putting on more body fat that these abs disappear. A combination of two major muscles transversus abdominis and rectus abdominis muscles make up what we consider to be our 'abs' zone.

These muscles are buried under the front and side of torso mucles and exist around your midsection like a girdle. Now, if you ate a healthy diet comprising of lean proteins, balanced carbs and less, yet good, fats, you would enter a zone with minimal superficial body fat, and your muscles would become visible, resulting in six pack abs.

Why crunches are not enough for abs - For six-pack abs one needs to strengthen the abdominal muscles and lose body fat. Unfortunately there is no escaping cardiovascular exercise and weight (or resistance) training to lose weight in a healthy way.

Strengthen abdominal muscles - In order to strengthen the abs, you will have to follow exercises related to both, the abdomen and the back. There are different types of crunches and other abdominal exercises that focus on the entire abdomen, from the upper to the lower sections. These exercises are ideal to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

However, training your abs without training your back creates an imbalance in the musculature that supports your spine. And these muscles are not just for show! Therefore, the best exercises for your abdominal muscles are the ones that force your entire core to go into overdrive to support your spine as well. Some exercises that do this are squats and lifts.

Exercises to build your core:

- Yoga
- Cardio
- Pilates
- Kickboxing
- Weight training
- ViPR
- Zumba
- Dancing
Some more exercises other than crunches, squats and lifts that help strengthen both the back and abdominal muscle are: Sit ups, jack-knife sit ups, leg lifts, static holds and side statics.

Are crunches and situps are the best exercises for ab training? - Situps and crunches are two exercises that will surely hit your abs, but not the best. Exercises like dumbell windmills, hanging leg raises, Turkish get up, full contact twists, etc will work your core region a lot harder! In fact even non abdominal exercises like squats, overhead presses, renegade rows, etc will hit your abs hard too.

Unlike crunches and situps these exercises do not isolate the abs and require you to use a lot more muscle groups in each rep, thus making the whole body work a lot harder for burning more calories and a better hormonal profile, both of which will give you a leaner and more defined midsection.

High repetition ab training is the way to go for visible abs - Your abs are working every time you stand and sit straight. Even when you are exercising, your abs are being worked to stabilise your torso in almost all the exercises. So high endurance is something that comes naturally to them, what you need is to strengthen them. And for strengthening any muscle group you need to use high resistance exercises which automatically reduces the number of reps that you can do.

For eg., if you are able to perform 50 crunches, then you will surely not be able to do 50 push ups with the same ease, because push ups are a lot tougher. Thus you need to choose such exercises which will work your abs hard in few (5-20) reps to develop them.

Do you need to work your abs regularly? - While one can do crunches everyday, because they are easy, it would be unwise to do so with the intense and really effective abdominal exercises like hanging leg raises, windmills, etc. These exercises work the abs hard and thus demand some rest in between sessions. Training them everyday will mean that either you are not training them hard or are overtraining, neither of which is ideal if you want to see your abs.

Lifestyle changes - First and foremost you need to think of a healthy lifestyle rather than looking for the shortest of shortcuts. You need to optimize your whole lifestyle to be in your best shape possible. This would mean that you eat well, sleep well, minimize stress, train regularly. If these things are in order then you can expect some great results. And as far as training to get ripped abs in concerned, you need a mix of strength training and intense cardio, to get the job done.

A good example would be to do 3-4 strength workouts a week, where you either do whole body workouts or follow upper-lower split, and finish those workouts with 5-15 minutes of intense cardio and some abdominal training. You can also do another 1-2 cardio workouts on the non strength training days.

Exercises for Abs:
- Push ups
- Ball balance
- Obliques
- Elevated plank
- Reverse crunch
Yoga for Abs - Take almost any yoga posture like the sarvangasana (shoulder stand), virbhadrasana (warrior pose), or the dhanurasana (bow pose). How well you are able to emulate these poses almost always depends on how strong your core is. Being flexible, but having a weak core, will allow you to do some basic postures like Uttanasana (bending forward and touching your toes), but will not allow you to make much headway in the slightly more advanced postures.


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