Wednesday, April 4, 2012

3 tips for a Rock-Solid Stomach

1. Keep Your Abs Engaged. Your core region (lower back, abs and glutes) make up your “stabilizer” muscle group. This powerhouse is constantly at work when you’re doing ANY kind of workout, so take advantage of this! When you’re lifting weights, or doing anything that uses your stabilizer muscles, consciously tap into that strength—keep your abs tight and posture solid, and you’ll see big results.
2. Use Compound Movements.  When targeting your abs, compound exercises are better than isolated ones. Why not work multiple muscle groups at once? Some compound movements that work the whole ab region include Planks and the Bicycle Maneuver:
     For Planks, lie face down, forearms and toes pressed into the floor, and lift your hips up off the floor. Engage your abs, straighten your back and hold this position for as long as you can. Trust us, you’ll feel your entire ab region engaged! 

  • For Bicycle Maneuver, lie with your back on the floor, hands behind your head and elbows spread wide. Keeping your lower back pressed into the floor and abs contracted, crunch across the body—one elbow to the opposite knee. Alternate continuously. This will work more muscles than a standard crunch.  Add a fitness ball to increase strength.

3. Eat Protein.  Protein will allow your body to rebuild muscle after your workouts. Great sources include lean meat, nuts, eggs, cheese and legumes. Another excellent source of protein is a protein shake, which can be one of your 5-6 daily meals. A whey or soy protein powder, when mixed with soy or skim milk, can give you roughly 20 grams of protein. 

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