You’re constantly on the run. No time to hit the gym. That flat stomach is starting to pooch out a little and your tummy is feeling a little mushy…sort of like giggly cookie dough. Not to mention your lower back is starting to act up again. These are all indications of what we refer to as Weak Abdominal (Transverse Process) Syndrome.
In today’s busy, stress filled lifestyle, the abs are the muscles most neglected and least used. Obviously, a consistent exercise regime including a balanced diet is the key to staying fit and keeping that abdominal area from turning into mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, due to life’s wonderful spontaneity a consistent workout schedule is not always an option. So how can you keep the abs from growing like an unwanted tumor?
It only takes four minutes a day to maintain and strengthen your abs. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to have strong, tight abs. Yes, it’s true that to burn the fat silently hiding under the abdominal muscles you do need to partake in a certain amount of cardio activity and eat healthy. However, to strengthen the abs all you need is four minutes a day. Here are four exercises you can do, one minute each, in the privacy of your office or home daily for stronger more firm abdominals.
Abdominal Exercise #1 - Crunches 1 minute
Lie down on a soft mat or carpet. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground. Clasp both hands behind your head to support your neck. Slowly bring your head straight up, not forward, pulling from the abdominal area as you exhale. Your head only needs to come up far enough to feel a complete contraction of the abs. Then allow your head to slowly return down to the floor and repeat. Be sure to do each repetition slowly and controlled, expelling a breath on each contraction. Do as many crunches as you can in 60 seconds.
Abdominal Exercise # 2 - Reverse Crunches 1 minute
Start in the same position as with the crunches, but this time cross your legs at the ankles and slowly bring the knees up into your chest and straighten out your legs, but still with a slight bend as your arms lie flat on the floor, palms down beside your body. Lift your pelvis off the floor an inch or two using only your lower abdominal. Make sure you feel the lower abs working and not the momentum of your legs swinging back and forth. Do as many as you can in 60 seconds.
Abdominal Exercise # 3 - Oblique Crunches 1 minute
Start by lying on your back on a mat or soft carpet with your feet flat on the floor. Take one leg and cross it over the other leg so the crossed leg is resting on the thigh of the other leg. Bring the arm of the bent leg behind your head while the other arm rests on your stomach or on the floor, which is an easier version. Slowly bring the arm that is behind your head up as you twist so the outside of that elbow goes towards the outside of the opposite knee. Slowly lower down and repeat. Do as many repetitions as you can in 30 seconds. Then switch sides and repeat.
Abdominal Exercise # 4 - Slow Bicycle 1 minute
Lying on your back again, clasp your hands behind your head. Bring both knees into your chest and then extend one leg fully as you push out with the heel, simultaneously as you slowly crunch and twist bringing your opposite elbow to the opposite knee. After your opposite knee and elbow touch, or come close to touching, slowly continue to do the same with the opposite leg and arm. Picture yourself riding a bicycle very slowly while lying on the floor. The key to this exercise is to do it very slowly to a 3 count allowing the upper abs and oblique’s to work in unison. Repeat for 60 seconds.
Practice this ab program 3 to 4 times a week and your abdominals will be rock hard before you know it.
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