Wednesday, March 9, 2011

5 Tips for Better Abs

Wow, you think you guys had never seen abs before. Or at least my abs. I thank you from the bottom of my developing six pack for your kind words. It is a work in progress. Mine are not the best or most sought after abs out there, but being 44 and having popped out two almost nine pound babies, I'll take 'em. 

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Many of you asked what the “secret” is. There is no secret (except I think there is a correlation between how much you poop and how defined your abs are). I can offer up a couple of tips, but you’ve probably heard them all too often.

Disclaimer: I am no ab specialist. I have no clue what I speak of except that it works for me. Take or leave what you like.

1. Lose belly fat. Fat covers up muscle. The less fat you have, the more muscle showP1090322s through. You can have the most defined abs in the world, but if they’re hidden by stuff, no one will know about your existing six pack. This of course means burning more calories than you eat and moving a lot!

2. Tighten. When you’re driving, watching the Bachelor, filing your nails, tighten and hold in your stomach muscles. Make it a habit. This is actually exercise for your abs. It’s funny because from a young age my mom always told me to hold in my stomach. She was ahead of her time.

3. Do yoga. Yeah, I’m a broken record on this one. Don’t crunch your way to better abs. I hardly ever do sit ups. Instead, do the dreaded “core” work, always engaging your abs. I like yoga because it is a total body workout. I think it even tones your fingernails. While doing yoga for 60-90 minutes, you are supposed to be engaging your core the entire time. Even if you are not doing a pose specific to your core (although if you’ve done it long enough you realize they are all specific to your core) you are engaging your abs. Leg raises and static holds like planks are also very helpful.

4. Be active as a child. It might be too late for this one. It’s not the only way, but it helps. I did gymnastics at a time when my muscles were developing. I think this alone gave me an “ab”base for the future.

5. Tighten, again. Whatever form of exercise you are doing be it running, cycling, swimming think about your core and make sure it is tightened, engaged. These days I am trying to strengthen my glutes and I do the same with them. I think it makes a difference. While your core will get a workout during cardio exercise, I believe the benefit is greatly increased if you make a conscious effort to engage, engage, engage. After awhile it becomes habit.

Make sure your workouts are well-rounded and varied. I have noticed increased strength and definition in new areas since I’ve been forced to run less and cross train more. Running only targets certain muscle groups, and really neglects others. It’s my belief that to be a better runner, you have to make cross training funner (like that?).

Are you trying to get better abs? What’s your best tip?

SUAR

46 comments:

  1. The top of my abs are good, it's the lower ones from the 5 kids. I have an EXTREMELY hard time changing how my body looks. I've been the same weight for 7 yrs! Maybe this half IM will give me the sleek bod.. LOL!

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  2. I have started using a balance ball chair at work and that helps because it makes you sit with good posture which includes holding in your gut. I would say good posture is key and hey it makes you look confident!

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  3. Great tips...I would just like to see my abs again one day. Keep up the good work!

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  4. No I am not. My tip is to drink a lot of beer and eat chocolate when I want it (true story).

    Had abs when I wrestled in high school. Never planned on seeing them ever again LOL.

    Good comments on engaging the core during any exercises though, when I do that running, I instantly have proper form... amazing isn't it?

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  5. I think those are all great tips. I've always heard that "abs are made in the kitchen", so I think nutrition has to play a role in all that hard work, too.

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  6. My personal trainer says varying cardio is the key to a 6-pack, or a 4-pack (cuz actual 6-packs are HARD to get). Yes, ab work is good but without losing the fat, you aren't going to see them. (I have a super weak, skinny ass friend that looks like he's got a 6-pack.)

    My trainer ALWAYS tells me to do more than just running. Because I run so much, my body is used to it and burns way less calories than doing other cardio.

    I prefer to run more and complain that I don't have a 6-pack instead.

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  7. I get mine airbrushed on with touchups before big events.

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  8. I like to keep my abs strong because it helps with running form (actually I guess they compliment each other). I do sit-ups on a decline bench once in a while - maybe once a week. It keeps my six-pack toned and my core strong.

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  9. I have noticed a lot more definition in my abs as my running mileage picked up recently... probably lowered my body fat?

    I have always tried to do kegels at red lights ... now I have to tighten my abs too? It'll be like trying to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time ... all this squeezing and tightening going on in different places. I'll be lucky if I notice when the light turns green.

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  10. I tightened my abs the entire time I read this. I'm off to a good start.

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  11. I've always attributed my abs to my mom. When I was younger she taught my sister and I, as part of good posture, to ALWAYS hold our stomachs in.

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  12. dratted! it's too late for me to get abs as a child. sigh.

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  13. Like Leah, my mom always told me to hold my stomach in; I still do.

    On a similar note, keigels are important us runners; practising them (even after pregnancy) does strengthen the bladder so that we can get through our long runs.

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  14. Best tip = genetics. ;)

    Really though, great tips. I think pilates help too.

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  15. Damn mama!! You have abs of steel! I could chop vegetables on your midriff!

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  16. I still have mine hidden behind to much "stuff". Great pointers.

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  17. I prefer not to do any of that stuff which is why I will never appear shirtless in my blog. Just know that if you ever see me with abs it’s only because Photoshop was involved.

    Ron

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  18. yoga definitely helps. I like to think my wine consumption helps define abs, no?
    ;)

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  19. wow. your stomach is nuts! I am trying to loose that belly fat - as soon as I can find "king cake" on my calorie chart I can total up today's numbers and see if i'm on the right track :)

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  20. My abs feel pretty sweet, but I'm too lazy to drop enough body fat to show them off. I lose fat from the top down, so by the time my stomach has definition, my collar bone looks like I'm on a hunger strike, and my thighs look like they did 8lbs ago. Weird.

    Also: You are HOT.

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  21. Thanks for the tips! I have been working on my abs forever but not much is happening down there lol But I am really working on strenghening my core so hopefully something will start happening soon!

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  22. Ha, my mom used to say the same thing but my abs look nothing like yours! you do have some magnificent abs!

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  23. that all sounds too hard. can't I just spray paint my six pack on? Isn't that what "the situation" does?

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  24. genetics also play a role...some people no matter how hard they work won't get that definition. they could have flat stomachs and low body fat, but no six pack.

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  25. Nice abs SUAR! Getting some definition to my abs is a secondary goal of mine, and if it happens, I know I'll dedicate a post to it.

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  26. Great info Beth but I was really hoping when I clicked on this post that you would recommend that ab thing I keep seeing on those infomercials. You know, the one that you strap on and it tones your abs while you lay on the couch.....

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  27. Well I MUST have a 6-pack by now (hidden below my "extra layer" of course) from all the sucking-in I do!

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  28. Great tips!

    I agree that genetics plays a role too. But I'm trying to under my abs...they have to be under there, right??!!

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  29. The only "definition" in my abs is the definition of flabby . . . AND I poop as much, if not more, than you. So I dunno about the correlation, there. But, nice abs!

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  30. Poop = definition. check.

    You definitely fit the bill for an Athleta model!! You look amazing.

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  31. So it's my constipation that is causing my gut... awesome. Once I take that massive crap, I am starting an ab routine on a regular basis. I'm not kidding. I know you all think I am, but I am not.

    You look fantastic!

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  32. wow. you have the abs of a pro! i try and do some crunches every day or every other. but i'm more of trying to have no beer belly at the moment...i definitely don't have the discipline to trim down all the belly fat...or as i like to call it "the nurturing / protection of any future kids i have" fat hahah

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  33. I'm eating while reading this... way to make me feel guilty! ;)

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  34. I am trying for better abs. I usually just get a sharpie at this point and draw them on. Works best for me.

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  35. I'm trying hard to pop out my 6 pack. I'm kinda skinny but still nothing. I'm doing Ab ripper right now. On week 3. Fingers crossed. I would die for your tummy!! You look great!

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  36. Hi SUAR,
    Please share how you got your "Terminator Arms" in you next blog. They are truly a "Work of Art"! :-)

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  37. I really really really hate cross training. I know I should do it but I just really hate it.

    Can't I just run if I promise not to complain about my flabby abs? :-(

    I console myself by telling myself that I'd rather be a distance runner than a runway model. That's the story I'm stickin' to.

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  38. Like your tips specially number 5, On my motorbike in the mornings I'm always thinking stomach in.

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  39. Yoga has definitely taught me to pull my abs in and up and strengthened them more than just crunches. Although my abs remain to be seen like the examples shown above, but I've been working on them since I was 14 and I just think this small layer of fat just isn't budging. I also believe that a good hand stand is a great ab killer and L-Shaped Handstands with leg lowering.

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  40. I wrote a post earlier this week about yoga and the fact that 100% of each class is a core workout, but only if you choose to work in that way. Focusing on that (and going to more yoga classes) has made a huge difference in my core strength. I have a long way to go to get up to your level though!

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  41. For best results, pick a program and STICK WITH IT!!

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  42. Low body fat is a requirement for abs But sacrifice my boobs for my abs? I think I'll keep my girlish figure.

    On the bright side you don't need expensive sports bras.

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