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Basic Abdominal Exercises that Will Tone, Flatter and Contour Abs

The best exercises for toning the abs have always been ab-centered, but there has never been the variety there is today. Once, the truly dedicated did situps while holding a medicine ball on the stomach, but today's toning focuses on training the abdominal muscles to strengthen the back as well as flatten the stomach.

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Abdominal Muscles Show with Diet and Exercise

If you're in a quest for the elusive six-pack, dieting alone won't give you the necessary tone to achieve your goal. A flat tummy usually requires some attention to dietary fats, carbs and sugar, but to get a really great stomach, you need to isolate and work the upper and lower abs. Fast results aren't the norm, especially for men and women who have added a few pounds to the midsection, a typical problem when you hit middle age. And if you have back trouble you need to take special care before starting an intensive ab workout: it may be better to start with overall muscle stretching and toning by taking a beginning Yoga class. If you're already in good condition, you can increase the number of crunches or the number of sets you do to build the muscle. And for extra quick results, cut out the breads, fats and sweets.

Variety of Crunches Styles

A crunch is a crunch, but some may be more palatable than others, which is why some people prefer to do their crunches with a fitness ball, or on a slanted board, or in a class that combines aerobics with toning exercises. A good aerobic workout, even if it's fast walking, powers up your body and makes it burn fat faster, lessening the chances of increasing fat deposits around the belly. Spot toning has been spotted as something of an exercise myth: if you're overweight, exercising one area won't make that area skinnier.

Six tips for a great abs workout:

  1. If you have back or neck conditions, tell your trainer or instructor before attempting abs exercises: there may be modifications you should know about.
  2. Never strain your neck upward when doing crunches.
  3. Focus on your middle when going for the burn: this can prevent you from straining your neck by pulling forward when you're tired.
  4. Check with your doctor before doing any abs exercises when you're pregnant.
  5. Take it easy on your tummy: give yourself an hour after eating before doing abs work.
  6. Can't get the washboard stomach? Consider hiring a trainer for some added help in muscle definition.
Continue reading the next aerobics article on back exercises

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