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Are you frustrated about the fact that you just can't seem to get perfectly chiselled abs? This may not be much comfort, but you definitely aren't alone in your predicament. Many people are continually frustrated by that stubborn layer of flab around their stomach that just doesn't seem to go away despite all the efforts they put into their regular workout routine. Some people have even tried almost all types of workouts for abs to no avail. Many exercisers successfully work their way down to their ideal weight, but then find themselves still having to deal with that stubborn abdominal fat. As a result, there are those who have actually given up on the idea of ever getting a perfect set of abs. But, before you decide to give up on your dream abs, here's a bit of good news that might encourage you: The only thing standing between you and your dream abs is misinformation. Yes, getting a flat belly is within your reach, but only if you let go of the common misconceptions surrounding workouts for abs. Many people get frustrated simply because they approach abs workout in the wrong way. One of the most common misconceptions that prevent you from getting the perfect set of abs is the belief that doing countless sit-ups every single day will make your abs pop out of your skin. In truth, this is just a complete waste of your time. Your abs is just like any other muscle group in your body. Therefore, you need to work it in the same manner as you do with your other muscles. You need to give your abs hard and direct training with enough rest in between sessions. A good rule of thumb is to do another abs workout only when your abs is no longer sore from the previous session. You should also remember that the most effective way to work your abs involves not only a good workout routine, but also a good nutrition plan. Nutrition One of the most important things for you to understand as regards developing your abs is that what you eat will greatly affect how your abs look. This means that your workout will not be able to provide any real benefits if you continue to practice bad eating habits while you exercise. Your abs may be built in the gym, but they are ultimately sculpted in the kitchen. How do you make sure that your belly is sculpted properly? Simply put, you will have to create a daily calorie deficit. This means you have to cut down on the calories that you take in day by day. Of course, you will have to do this gradually. Cutting down on your calorie intake drastically is counterproductive. It will cause your body to go into shock and store fats in an effort to protect itself from the shock of getting too little calories all at once. The best and healthiest way to decrease calorie intake is to do it bit by bit. You would do well to
keep a food diary and write down everything that you eat. Count the calories that you consumed on the day that you began your food diary and then plan the next day's meals such that you decrease your intake by, say, 50 calories. Another excellent technique is to eat 5-6 small meals instead of three large meals in a day. This will help ensure that you do not experience hunger pangs and grab fatty snacks in between meals. The ideal ratio for each of your meals is one part fats, two parts protein, and three parts carbohydrates. This is, however, not a strict guideline and you can vary it a little bit. For example, it is advisable to take in more protein and carbohydrates after exercise. Finally, never forget to supplement your diet with a daily dose of multivitamins. Exercise Now that you have an idea of how to adjust your eating habits in order to promote abs development, the next step is to learn how to train the abs properly. Many people aren't quite sure whether a low intensity-high rep workout is best for the abs or if a high intensity-low rep routine would be much better. The best way to get the answer to this question is to gain a better understanding about your abs. Just like your calves, the abs is composed of muscle fibres that are built for endurance. Think about it: Your abs support your body whenever you walk and you already know that a reasonably healthy person can walk for a long time without tiring. This means that the abs is made more for activities requiring endurance than for short and quick movements. With this in mind, it is safe to say that heavy resistance is needed to properly work the abs. A good workout routine would involve a warm-up session of two sets of sit-ups followed by five more sets, this time with weights. It is best to gradually increase the weight with each set, thus forming a pyramid routine. Be sure to stretch your abs out and limit the weighted sets to less than 25 reps. To get maximum results from your abs workout, it would be best to work on your obliques first before working your lower abs and then finally, your upper abs. Here are the top exercises you can perform for this purpose: The Obliques 1. Dumbbell Side Bend This exercise is one of the best for strengthening your obliques as long as it is done with good technique. This is important simply because many of our everyday activities involve considerable twisting and side bending. What you should remember in doing this exercise is that the quality of your movement is a lot more important than the amount of weight that you use. In fact, it is best to use moderate to light weights coupled with slow and controlled movements in order to build strength quickly while avoiding injury. To begin the exercise, stand with your feet at shoulder width position. Bend your knees slightly and grasp a dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing your body and then place your left hand on your waist. Bend slowly to the right from the waist and then bring yourself back up. Now, bend slowly to the left in the same manner and then bring yourself back up. Make sure that your right arm is kept straight throughout the movement. Complete your reps and then repeat the
exercise with the dumbbell held in your left hand. 2. Hanging Knee Raise to the Side This exercise is perfect for working not only your obliques, but also your lower abs. What's best is that you don't have to find any special equipment for this. You can hang from whatever is capable of holding your weight for an extended period. Most people choose a pull-up bar for this purpose. Perform the exercise by hanging off the bar with your hands slightly wider than a shoulder width apart. As soon as your feet are lifted off the floor, pull your knees up and then bring them across towards the left side of your body. Pause for one second and then slowly lower your knees back down. Bring your knees back up, this time bringing them towards the right side of your body. When you bring your knees back down this time, you have completed one rep. Repeat the movement according to your desired number of reps. 3. Oblique Crunches This is a great exercise for targeting your love handles. Plus, the fact that it requires you to perform rotation and spinal flexion also means that it works both your obliques and your upper abs. Here's how to do this exercise properly: Lie on your back and then cross your left foot over your right knee with your hands positioned behind your head. Lift your shoulders off the floor and then curl your upper body towards your left knee. Be sure to keep your lower back pressed to the floor. Contract your obliques and upper abs as hard as possible at the top of the movement and then resist on your back down. Do 12-16 reps and then switch to the other side. The Abs 1. Ab Crunch Machine This is one of the very few times that we will recommend a machine exercise for your abs. To begin the exercise, pick up a light resistance and then sit down on the ab machine with your feet placed under the pads. Grab the top handles with your arms bent at a 90-degree angle and your triceps resting on the corresponding pads. Now, lift your legs up slowly while crunching your upper body. Inhale at starting position and exhale as you perform this movement. Be sure to move in a slow and controlled manner and focus on moving the weight with your abs while keeping your legs and feet relaxed. Pause for one second at the top of the movement and then slowly return to starting position. For this exercise, you should remember that too much weight can cause injury, so keep it light. 2. Weighted Decline Crunch This is another excellent exercise for your abs. To perform, lie down on a decline bench with your legs held secure at the top end. Hold a dumbbell or weight plate between your hands and position it just above your chest. Slowly roll your shoulders off the bench while pushing the small of your back down. Contract your abdominal muscles at the top of the movement while you exhale. Hold the contraction for one second and then slowly bring your shoulders back down. Remember to
keep your elbows in throughout the movement and avoid using momentum to lift your shoulders up. 3. Flat Bench Leg Pull-in Crunch This is a variation of the classic leg pull-in exercise. It's an excellent choice for working your lower abs. Begin the exercise by lying down on a flat bench with your legs hanging off of one end. Place your hands under your butt with your palms facing the bench and then hold your legs straight out. Slowly bend your knees as you pull your upper thighs towards your midsection. Pause for one second at the top of the movement and then slowly return to starting position. You may also do this exercise with a dumbbell held between your knees for added resistance. To develop your abs properly, you also need to include cardio in your routine. Start your cardio exercises slowly and then just increase the pace gradually. It is advisable to do 2-4 sessions of cardio each week, but be careful to never go beyond 45 minutes per session. These exercises will help you burn about 200-400 calories per day and possibly more than a pound of pure fat each week. Results Expectation Of course, while the above nutritional techniques and workout guidelines are guaranteed to help you get well-toned abs, you can't expect to see results overnight. As previously mentioned, unrealistic expectations are the common reasons why people get frustrated over their efforts to get a perfect set of abs. Consistency is the key to a successful diet and workouts for abs. Another thing you need to remember is that some people are just blessed with better genetic profiles. These are the people who shed excess fat very quickly. For most people, however, losing fat is a very slow process. So, before you give up on your workout and nutrition routine, you should first consider how long and how hard you've been working towards your goal. If you do cardio only twice a week and you often cheat on your diet, then how can you expect to get your desired results? You really have to be dedicated to your routine and consistent about every detail of it. Believe it or not, many of the fitness enthusiasts who now sport perfect figures started out in the same situation that you find yourself in right now. Some of them have also tried a variety of exercise routine to no avail. But, once they educated themselves on the proper way of developing the abs and dedicated themselves to achieving their fitness goals, they were finally able to move forward in the right direction. With the same kind of dedication and consistency, so can you.
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