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Exercises to help you work your abs

April 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
When it comes to getting your stomach in shape, family history, diet, and lifestyle all play key roles. If you're looking to trim the fat or firm up those abs, there are some exercises that can definitely help.Crunches are the safest and most effective exercises for your abdominals, but do you think you need different exercise for different stages in your life, or even body type? Some experts say yes.

Age, genetics, pregnancy, and menopause all play a role in where fat sits on your body.

"Partnered with cardio and weight training was really the key to my success," said Amber Kinean.

New mom Amber Kinean also watched her diet to bounce back from pregnancy. Since the abdominal wall has been stretched for nine months, the lower belly protrudes. Crunch trainer, Amber Susa says there are three different abdominal muscles to work.

"So we can work the transverse deep abs, work the rectus abs, which are the six pack abs, and then the external internal obliques, to pull the wall back to its pre-pregnancy position," said Susa.

Performing straight leg exercises targets the transverse abdominals, starting with feet at the ceiling and lowering the legs as low as possible without allowing the back to come off the floor. Gals that have trouble bringing the legs back to the ceiling should pull the knees in to the tummy, then straighten up from there to lower back down again. Try 10 repetitions.

A reclining workout hits the oblique or side muscles while tightening up the pelvic floor. Again lower back should remain on the ground while legs at 45 degrees, extend out then return back to the chest. Try 10 repetitions.

Try 30 - 40 minutes of either walking, jogging, or swimming three days weekly, along with these exercises.

Peri - menopause to menopause:

When women begin to lose estrogen in their forties and are heading towards menopause, it's common for excess fat to store in the belly. This is where a plank exercise hits home. With hands and toes on the ground facing downward, tighten the abdominals while slowly bringing a knee into the chest then extend back towards hip height. Repeat ten on each side, then do the other leg. It's great for strengthening the abdominal wall.

For cardio vascular exercise during menopause, a 30-minute walk daily will help fight body fat.

Are you apple or pear-shaped?

Apple-shaped gals who store fat in the upper torso might try a scissor legged exercise. Raising head and shoulders off the floor alternate bringing up a straight leg towards the chest and holding the leg with both hands. This exercise should be done 15-20 repetitions, alternating sides.

Performing 30-40 minutes of cardio most days will help burn off excess fat.

Those just getting back to exercise might try a session with a trainer to prevent injury. Try these exercises ten times to start. Do them two to three times a week for success.

 

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