Trim your waist and get leaner abs by training your whole body instead of spending lots of time on sit-ups and abdominal work. A new study from Southern Illinois University found that performing a six-week training program that only included abdominal exercises resulted in no loss of body fat. The only positive result from almost four hours a week of ab training was increased endurance in a sit-up test!
A better solution for an attractive midsection is to strengthen your abs and lose the fat that covers them. Do this by strength training three days a week with exercises that use the large muscles in your body. For example, include the following components in your training:
- Do lunges, step-ups, and squats to train the whole lower body, simultaneously targeting the ab and lower back muscles that make up your core.
- Try pull-downs, rows, overhead press, and chest press for the upper body—they’ll target the abs too if you do them right.
- Chin-ups, even assisted chin-ups, are excellent ab exercises because they require you to contract all the muscles in your trunk throughout the whole motion.
- Restrict ab training to one exercise a session—opt for reverse crunches or leg lowering if you have a strong lower back.
- Try interval training in which you run or cycle as hard as you can for 8 seconds and then rest for 12 seconds. Do this for a total of 15 to 20 minutes to lose fat so that you reveal your abs.