The abdominal region seems to be one of the first places people notice weight gain. Reducing fat in this region only (spot reduction) may not be possible, according to the American Council on Exercise. Combining an aerobic workout with abdominal training may reduce your stomach the fastest.
While everyone under 65 years of age should exercise 30 minutes, five days a week, at a moderate intensity, to burn fat you should exercise at this intensity for 60 to 90 minutes, advises the American College of Sports Medicine. Working out at a moderate intensity involves getting your heart rate up and sweating, while being able to carry a conversation. You can get a moderate intensity workout by swimming, cycling, brisk walking or playing active sports, like basketball.
Of all abdominal-strengthening exercises, the bicycle maneuver works the best, as shown by the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University. Start this exercise on your back, pressing it into the floor. Your hands should be beside your head, barely touching it. Elevate your legs while bending your knees to a 45-degree angle. Raise your head and shoulders while you touch your right elbow to your left knee. Rotate your abdomen and use a bicycle motion to switch your knees to touch your left elbow to your right knee. Continue this exercise your abdominals feel fatigued.
The lunge works your abdominals, in addition to your quadriceps (front of thighs), your hamstrings (back of thighs), your calves and your glutes (butt muscles). Working this many muscle groups at one time allows you to elevate your heart rate to burn more calories as you strengthen and tone your abdominals. Start a forward lunge by standing tall with tight abdominal muscles. Keep your abs tight throughout the exercise. Step forward into a lunge by placing your right foot approximately 24 inches in front of your left foot. Focus on lowering your hips to the floor, not stepping forward. Continue lowering your hips to the floor until your right knee makes a 90-degree angle. Do not allow your right knee to go beyond the toes of your right foot. The American Council on Exercise advises pushing off with your right foot to return to standing. Repeat on the left side.
Exercise Ball Crunch
The exercise ball crunch ranks third on the best exercise for the abdominals, according to a study performed at San Diego State University. Sit on a fully inflated stability ball to start this exercise. Slowly lower your torso until you are lying on the ball. The ball should be in the middle of your back; place your knees hip-width apart and cross your arms on your chest. Curl up until your torso is off the ball, and hold this position for three deep breaths. Slowly lower to the starting position.
- American Council On Exercise: Why Is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- American Council On Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch On Ineffective Ab Exercises
- American College of Sports Medicine: Location Plays Key Role in Daily Physical Activity Levels
- American Council on Exercise: Stability Ball Sit-ups/Crunches
- sexy tummy image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.