With summer right around the corner many of us are reluctant to whip out our bikinis and bask in the sun. Right around this time is when panic mode sets in, meaning the gym just got a little more crowded.
A major concern with summer nearing is how to tone up your abs. Contrary to popular belief, an instant six-pack won’t come from simply doing daily crunches. The best results come from being properly informed on how to achieve them. We have done some digging and found the most effective ab workouts from an expert.
Sarah Slattery, a Manhattan-based fitness expert with an M.A. in Applied Physiology from Columbia University says the key to a flat stomach is aerobic training.
“People often develop really beautiful abdominal muscles but seldom are they visible. The goal is to reduce the size of the adipose cells (fat cells) so the muscles underneath can be seen.”
Sarah emphasizes that, “you can’t spot reduce and you can not get rid of fat cells once they are formed. The bad news is they there for life but the good news is that you can shrink them.”
Slattery suggests two of her favorite ab exercises, and the good news is that anyone can do with or without a gym membership (no excuses!). Along with these exercises she recommends a set of supermans (see below) to help strengthen your back. She said having amazing abs is reliant on having strong back muscles.
1. Reverse crunch: Lie with your back flat with legs perpendicular (pointing towards the ceiling). Lift your glutes only about a half inch off the floor (and keep your palms up to avoid cheating by gripping the mat). Lower and repeat. Avoid momentum and make sure each lift is slow and controlled. For an added challenge place a small ball between your feet. This is great for your lower abs.
2. Cloud catcher: Lie with your back on the floor and legs in table top position.
Arms are straight up (not forwards) and pretend you are trying to touch/grab something just beyond your reach. Peel your shoulder blades off the mat, but again, this should be slow and controlled to avoid too much too fast.
3. Superman: Lie face down on your belly with arms and legs stretched out straight. Keeping your body straight (but not locked) and belly on the floor, lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling to form a gentle curve with your body. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and repeat.
For all of you procrastinators out there- the time is now! Good luck and remember to stay positive and focused. To learn more about Sarah Slattery visit her website at sarahslattery.com.