Flat abs may be a matter of losing the belly fat first. If you are dieting, then the best way to get a six-pack may be with some old-fashioned crunches. You’ve seen those ab-enhancing devices hawked on late-night infomercials and secretly wondered if they are worth the dough. Promising a flatter stomach and smaller waistline, countless abdominal exercise machines and training programs are available on the market. Do these fancy commercial products work any better than your typical curl or crunch? A recent study put a range of exercises and ab machines to the test.
In the study, 30 volunteers were asked to practice a list of specific ab exercises daily as well try a few commercial products like the “Torso Track” and the “AB Rocker.” The researchers used an EMG to measure ab muscle activity. For those of you on a tight budget or who prefer a home workout, the study bears good news. Exercises that can be done at home like the “bicycle maneuver” and simple crunches performed on an exercise ball were surprisingly more effective than the expensive commercial ab products. The “Torso Track” was as effective as the traditional crunch but users reported back pain. The “AB Rocker” was 80 percent less effective than the standard ab crunch, and scored at the bottom of the pack. The popular Ab Roller and the traditional crunch both scored in the average range compared to the rest of the exercises.
Okay, but what about the notion of “targeting” specific muscles? As the study explains, “the average exerciser appears unable to differentially recruit the upper and lower abdominal muscles. Translation: most exercisers cannot trigger a contraction in one particular part of the abdominal muscles—upper or lower abs. Despite popular theory among fitness professionals, his data suggest that the upper and lower rectus abdominus actas a sheath, or one large muscle group.”
Here’s 3 Effective Ab Toners:
1. Bicycle Maneuver: Lie flat on the floor, legs in the air and mimic cycling on a bicycle.
2. Captain’s Chair: This is usually done in a gym. Suspending your body above the ground, holding onto hand rails of an elevated “chair.” You slowly bring your knees up to your chest.
3. Crunch on Exercise Ball: Lie on the ball, and use your legs for balance. Raise your body 45 degrees.
Research suggests that the results of an abdominal exercise depend on individual metabolisms, body types, general heath and other personal factors. Choosing several exercises and sticking to a regular routine is the best way to see results. The study suggests that doing crunches at home may be the best way to get that perfectly toned six-pack. But if using an ab device helps you stick to your routine, by all means trust your instincts and invest in a product. After all, a regular ab routine doesn’t just affect your image; it also helps avoid lower back problems and supports good posture.
Here’s the FYI roundup for the six tips to lose belly fat fast.