Photo: Ultimate Performance
Score those abs.
Besides eating right, firming up your flabby abs also boils down to a smart fitness plan. For instance, are you exercising correctly to optimise fat burn and muscle-building in your tummy area?
Here, personal trainers from Ultimate Performance share their best exercise tips to trim and tighten your middle. No more muffin top!
#1 Do a variety of core exercises
For a toned tummy, a strong core is everything. I recommend all my clients do a core-focused routine for 10 minutes every day, including exercises that are done pronated and supinated, and which involve diagonal and lateral movements. Some of my favourites are Swiss ball crunches and Russian twists. – Joa Rivas
#2 Stick to short exercise reps
Contrary to what most people think, the best way to develop your abdominals is not to do 1,000 sit ups. The abdominals are made up primarily of fast-twitch muscle fibres, which means that they have the potential to grow quickly and respond best to exercise reps ranging from eight to 12. Make these reps count by doing them in good form. – Caroline Yeo
#3 Go for the slow burn
The duration of your muscle contractions – that is, the time spent under tension – is key for muscle growth. When doing ab exercises, control the eccentric portion when your muscles are contracting. The recommended duration for each set is 30 to 40 seconds. What that means: If you’re doing 10 reps of bicycle crunches, you should spend 3 to 4 seconds doing each crunch before relaxing your ab muscles. – Chu Sean
#4 Focus on compound exercises
Do compound exercises like squats or deadlifts regularly, and brace your core while doing so. Moves that work multiple muscle groups at once will strengthen and develop your abs. – Kate Yeo
5. Get sufficient rest
Rest as hard as you train. Recovery and stress management are as important as training intensity and diet management. The downtime allows your muscles to repair and get stronger. – Evy Bellina
#6 Prioritise strength training
Overall, strength training burns more calories than cardio exercises. (Your metabolism stays elevated for a longer time when you do weights.) If time permits, strength train three or four times a week, and incorporate one or two HIIT sessions into your regime. – Natalie Kuan
#7 Be consistent in working out
Consistency is key when starting a new fitness regime. Keep up with your exercise schedule, even on days when you feel unmotivated or if your muscles are aching. For instance, if your legs are sore from a previous workout, work a different muscle group like your arms, or cycle at an easy pace for 30 minutes. Once you establish a routine that works for you, exercising will no longer be a drag. – Jomel Law
This story was originally published on Shape Singapore. Cover image: Her World Brides