Six-minute abs
24June/2014

Six-minute abs

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Six-minute abs

BY KAREN ASP | PHOTOGRAPHY TERRY GOODLAD

Whittle your middle with this quick workout you can take with you to the gym. Each move is Oxygen-tested.

Getting strong, sexy abs tops your to-do list.

Trouble is, while you might be long on desire, you’re short on time, and no matter how you stretch the day, you still have only 24 hours. Not to worry. You don’t need a ton of time – or reps – to get your abs in tip-top shape. Just do this six-minute workout and you’ll be sporting rock-solid abs in no time.

Overtraining is actually one of the most common mistakes made when working abdominals. Many women believe the more that abs are trained – sometimes every day – the better results will be. However, this group of muscles is no different than your biceps or quadriceps. Just as you wouldn’t train those muscles every day, experts say you shouldn’t train your abdominals daily either. “Train the abdominals like you would any other muscle group, which means working them only two or three times per week,” says Tom Seabourne, Ph.D., professor of exercise science, and author of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Great Abs (Alpha, 2006), adding that you usually see hypertrophy in the muscles after about 16 workouts.
Remember too, that with any physical activity the core gets a workout. “Every movement you do originates from the core,” says Chris Robinson,
celebrity trainer and author of the Core Connection (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2008). “So  even if you’re not directly working those muscles,  but are running on a treadmill or playing tennis, you’re still activating the core.”

SETS AND REPS
Do two sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each of the following moves. Use enough intensity so that you feel fatigued by the last repetition. Also, go slowly enough to feel the work. Take about three seconds to lift and three seconds to lower.

 

Scissor

TARGET MUSCLES: rectus abdominis

SET UP: Lie on your back and extend your legs, keeping your abs flexed to help support your lower back. Place your arms by your sides, palms facing down.

ACTION: Cross your right foot over your left; separate your legs to just beyond hip-width, then close them again, this time crossing your left foot over your right. Always keep your core engaged.

 

Weighted crunch

TARGET MUSCLES: rectus abdominis

SET UP: Lie on your back with your knees bent (keep them hip-width apart) and your feet on the floor. Place the weights above your head, parallel to each other.

ACTION: Lift just your shoulders off the ground, contracting your upper abdominals. Hold for one count and repeat.

 

Weighted crunch on a decline

TARGET MUSCLES: rectus abdominis

SET UP: Lie on your back on a decline bench. Place the weights above your head, parallel to each other. Engage your core muscles. Make sure the leg pad sits comfortably on your shins.

ACTION: Lift just your shoulders off the bench, contracting your upper abdominals as you do this. Hold for one count, then repeat.



Pullover

TARGET MUSCLES: intercostals, serratus anterior

SET UP: Lie with your upper back on a bench so that your lower body is suspended in the air. Keep your core engaged to support your back, and firmly place your feet on the floor just ahead of your knees and hip-width apart.

ACTION: Bring the weight behind your head, then contract your abdominals and bring the weight forward so it’s parallel to your face. Inhale as you lower the weight back down; exhale, contract your abs and repeat.

 

Cable crunch

TARGET MUSCLES: rectus abdominis

SET UP: Stand facing the weight stack with your feet together. Hold the ends of the rope in your hands at chest height. Keep your elbows tucked against your ribs for support, and keep your shoulders pulled down.

ACTION: Using your abs, not your arms, to crunch forward, contract your abdominals and hold for a count, then slowly come back to the starting position, resisting the pull of the weight as you do.

   

Repeat offender?

 

Another abs mistake? Doing the same old crunches every day and doing dozens, if not hundreds, of them. Crunches certainly have their place,
but by only doing crunches, experts say critical parts of your core are being ignored.

Your core is made up of all of the muscles that run from your glutes to your shoulders. They include the pelvic floor muscles, external obliques, rectus abdominis (most often referred to as the six-pack), multifidus, serratus anterior, erector spinae and transverse abdominis. If you want a strong, slim core, you have to train all these muscles. The best way to do this, explains Seabourne, is by changing your regimen every now and again – vary the exercises so you can train these muscles from different angles.

And of course, doing hundreds of reps of any exercise isn’t only an inefficient use of time; it’s also an ineffective way to train. “Although that will increase muscular endurance overall, your muscles also need muscular strength,” says Seabourne. If there’s enough challenge, just six minutes
of core training two or three times a week should be all you need.

Timing is everything


So now that you know the parameters for building your core, one question remains: When should you train your core – before or after cardio?

For optimal results, do abs first, advises Seabourne, because if you do cardio first (like running for 30 minutes on the treadmill) you’ll deplete your muscles of glycogen stores, needed for that abs session. However, a by-product of high-intensity abs training is lactic acid, which your body  converts into glycogen. If you do abs first, your body can then use that glycogen to help fuel your cardio. The exception? If you’re a highlevel athlete, training in your sport should probably come first, as that’s a higher priority. So throw out those misconceptions you’ve had about core  training, and start training your abs the right way, starting with this workout.
 

Source Url: http://www.oxygenmag.com.au/Training/tabid/4730/entryid/1433/Six-minute-abs.aspx
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