“The first rule to get those awesome abs: you do not do crunches or sit ups. The second rule to get those awesome abs: you do not do crunches or sit ups.” – Tyler Durden! If you have been wondering why those abs aren’t showing up despite you dealing in hundreds of crunches and sit-ups daily during your workout. It might come across as counter-intuitive but sit-ups and crunches along with the other common ab exercises do not actually help in getting those abs that you have been dreaming of. Before we get down to the ab workouts that do work, a little bit of science to explain the fat accumulation/removal process is highly warranted.
All fat cells have B1 and A2 receptors. Adrenaline is the hormone that must be secreted to release the fat. Once adrenaline is secreted, a signal is sent to the fat cells through the receptors. B1 receptors are the good cops. They activate hormone sensitive lipase, the enzyme that breaks down the fat and allows it to be released into the bloodstream to be burned. A2 receptors, on the other hand, are the bad guys. They block the fat-releasing enzymes in the fat cell and encourage body fat formation.
As (poor) luck may have it, the lower abdominal region in men is saturated with A2 receptors. Similarly, for women, thighs and hips are the regions higher in A2 receptors! And the process of accumulation and burning of fat takes follows FILO criterion, that is First in, Last out. So, the fat from the lower abdomen in case of men and hips & thighs in case of women would be the last one to come off!
Here’s the good part: you already have abs. They are just hidden behind all the fat on your abdomen. The difficult part is now, to remove that fat and let those abs be seen in all their glory. Ab exercises are meant to strengthen your abs, when you have them. To remove the fat over those abs, there are just 2 elements and 4 ab workouts that you need.
High intensity cardio
The logic is pretty simple. You need to remove that fat from over your already existing abs for them to become visible. To do that, you need to do exercises which elevate your heart rate into a region which burns off fat. To achieve that, you have to use large muscles strenuously and for longer duration of time.
Imagine a ring on the floor and stand beside it with both your feet outside it. Raise the leg closer to the ring and drawing it up to your chest, step inside the ring. Now, do the same with the other leg and drawing it to your chest, plant it inside the ring so that both the legs are inside it. Draw the first leg again to your chest and step outside the ring. Repeat the process with the other leg till you are completely out of the ring. Repeat the entire process for at least 30 times.
Twisting is another way to hammer away at the fat on your belly directly. Stand with your left leg inside a real or an imaginary ring and the right leg outside it. Now jump up in the air and twist your body so that you land with your right foot inside the ring and the left foot outside it. Repeat the process to have your left foot inside the ring again so that you regain your starting position.
Super Effective Core Exercises
Though core/ab workouts are more than just exercise for strengthening of your abs, they help strengthening your core which is your abdominal muscles. You need core exercises so that once the layers of fat over your abs melts away, your abs should be visible in their pristine shape. Along with strengthening your abs, core exercises also help shelve off the fat faster.
Split Leg Arm Raises
Lying on the floor, you have to have your arms and legs straight up in the air. Then you have to lower your left arm by the head and your right leg just 3 inches off the ground and keep both of them at that position for a few seconds. Your neck, shoulders and head should not move. After taking the arm and leg back to starting position, you have to repeat it with the right arm and left leg.
Use a 20-30 kg kettleball and hold it with one arm on your side. It would push you down but use your abdomen muscles to stand straight. You have to then move forward standing straight for 30-40 meters with the kettleball held on the side by one arm. Repeat the exercise for at least 15 minutes during your workout.
So, next time that you think that you are not able to witness your abs in their complete glory despite doing crunches and sit-ups, these and many such ab workouts are what you need for those abs!