Build Strong Abs

It pays to tone your midsection for muscle strength and healthy vitality

Doing crunchesThe abdominals, popularly known as "the abs," in gym lingo, are actually several muscles located in them - just below your chest to your waistline and beyond.

There are five reasons to train your abdominals:

  1. Shape. While there are many of us [in our time of food-less diets!] who can claim to be thin, still not many "thin" people can boast of taut and tight abs! Training the abs will help you shape ab muscles, make them more compact and prevent them from bulging out prominently over your belt.
  2. Size. No matter if you are a girl or a guy, this is one part of our anatomy where everyone thinks that"Small is beautiful!"
  3. Strength. Bad roads,bad posture, spending hours in front of the computer, all of this results in lower back pain. Weak abs translate to a weak back. That's why once you start exercising your abs, it will help strengthen your abs and your lower back —because, the back and abs both support each other. So, if your back pain is a minor problem, work your abs and get rid of the pain!
  4. Calories. You can sure go on a restricted diet, but you cannot stay on it forever! Indulging once in awhile in your favourite food, however, will play havoc with your waistline.Working your abs will not only help maintain muscle tone, but also the inches.
  5. Cuts and curves. If you train right and eat right, you can have that "six-pack" definition - especially, if you are a guy. For women, working on abs can do wonders to your curves - especially, if you are planning to wear those midriff baring or form-fitting outfits!
  6. When we talk about ab exercises, it is essential to remember that a good warm-up is a must before you start on any exercise. Important: do not also do any of the following exercises without supervision.

Ab exercises

    • Basic crunch. Works the upper abdomen. This is a simple exercise that can be done by both beginners and advanced exercisers with great results.
    • Lie on an exercise mat with knees bent and hands behind the head
    • Lift the upper body off the floor using the upper back and shoulder blades
    • Do not allow the chin and chest to touch.
    • Leg lift. Works the lower abdomen. Traditionally, the leg lift requires you to lower your legs right back to the floor
    • Lie on the exercise mat with your hands below the lower back
    • Keep your legs up straight so that they are perpendicular to the upper body
    • Move them back and forth, but not beyond a 45-degree angle.
    • Bicycle pump. Works the upper and lower abdomen and the obliques. This is one of the quickest and most effective ab exercises in which you work three parts of the abdomen - all at once! Beginners can start with 10-15 reps per set and advanced exercisers can do this work-out with ankle weights [half kg] to help "up" the intensity.
    • Lie down in the basic crunch position with hands below the head
    • Lift your upper body while twisting it towards the left, bringing the right knee towards the left and vice versa
    • Keep the lower back flat on the floor and the upper back curved in a "C-shape."

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Samreedhi Goel
Samreedhi Goel is a Nutritionist and Personal trainer & fitness columnist who has been a part of the fitness industry since 1999. She has helped hundreds of people shape up, lose weight, achieve the body of their dreams, become fitter and healthier individuals and overcome chronic health problems through her fitness studio Size Wise.Her fitness columns and interviews appear on a regular basis in prestigious publications like Complete Wellbeing, Sunday Midday, Rediff.com, Seventeen India, Mumbai.

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