Achieving 6-pack abs is pretty much the holy grail of physical fitness and strength, even though much of your abdominal appearance is decided by genetics, not effort. But whether you have 7% body fat or a layer of “insulation” over your abdominal muscles it’s extremely important to keep those muscles strong. Working the muscles that make up your core strong (the abdominals, obliques, and mid- to lower-back) will make your entire body feel stronger, give you better posture, and improve your balance. However, the question remains—what’s the best technique to building and managing core strength?
We’ve been presented with so many different options for strengthening the abdominal muscles that it’s hard to know what works best. Should we be lying on our backs, balancing on our hands and toes, standing up, squatting, or using a contraption like the ab flyer or ab rocket?
Luckily, a group of fitness experts commissioned by the American Council on Exercise recently conducted the research to answer that very question. ACE reached out to experts at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse to conduct research determining the effectiveness of the most popular equipment and exercises compared to the traditional crunch. The team incorporated several different varieties of popular equipment including the Ab Circle Pro, Ab Roller, and others, as well as exercises including yoga’s boat pose, the stability ball crunch, decline bench curl-ups, the captain’s chair crunch, the bicycle crunch, the side plank, and a standard plank.
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By Cindy Whitmarsh, a certified personal trainer, nutritionist and fitness correspondent for Good Morning San Diego.
The popularity of High Intensity Interval Training (“HIIT”) has surged, and if you haven’t tried it yet now is the time. I just released three new DVDs based on HITT, which I call my Ultra Focused Interval Training (UFIT) program.
What exactly is HIIT? It’s a workout that is meant to push speed, endurance, and strength to the next level. You perform activities at a VERY high intensity for short bursts, or intervals, and you complete multiple sets of these intervals with minimal rest between them. This drives your heart rate up, forcing your body to adapt and accommodate.
Just what do I mean by “adapt”? With HIIT, you’ll burn calories in the moment but you will also increase your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (“EPOC”) which basically means that you’ll continue to burn more calories even long after your workout is over. This can will lead to significant changes in muscle tone and strength, along with a reduction in body fat.
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Lack in muscle tone, a stiff neck, a couple of aching wrists and two tired eyes are what our modern day life is plagued with as a result of sitting at a computer for hours on end. If you fall into this category, help is on the way. All it takes is a few moments of computer yoga to feel refreshed, revitalized and ready to take on a new assignment. Aches and pains have nothing on you when you practice this simple yet effective routine during long stretches of time on your computer. Be the first to share this with your friends.
Facebook Fanny Firmer
Place both feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Squeeze your gluteal muscles (a.k.a. your rear) and hold for five deep breaths. Release, and repeat up to ten times. Feel your fanny firm right up as you type about computer yoga in your status update.
Twitter Tummy Tightener
Take a deep breath in and with your exhale draw your lower belly toward your spine. At the very end of your exhale, engage your abdominal muscles just a little bit more, and hold your muscles firm for as long as it takes you to tweet this article!
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