Get On the Ball for Tight, Toned Abs


Likely, you’ll fit into one of two exercise camps. Either you hate abdominal work, but you do it because it is a necessary evil, or you thoroughly enjoy it. Either way, most people want to have better abs. Adding a few more sets of sit-ups is not usually the answer for producing those washboard six-packs or tightening your midriff. Don’t let excuses like “poor genetics” or a “slow metabolism” control your fitness outcome, because these excuses are usually self-fulfilling prophecies. The solution is relatively straightforward, but it is not simple. One of the “secrets” for improving abdominal shape is to increase your metabolic rate, both acutely (for a short time) and chronically (throughout the day). Usually, your metabolic rate will be elevated for several hours after a workout, so it’s important to maintain regular workouts for your metabolic success.

Cardio for at least 20-30 minutes a day will go a long way toward increasing your metabolic rate both during and after training. Cardio uses the stored fat calories as energy sources to eventually reveal a flat abdomen. However, your long-term success is improved if your lean body tissue is increased because larger muscles burn more calories throughout the day than small muscles, even if you’re only sitting at your computer and working from home. By no means do you have to add 20 pounds of muscle before your resting metabolic rate increases; even a little more muscle helps, regardless of your age. You should choose abdominal exercises that shorten and tighten the fibers in this area and not exercises that excessively stretch the abdomen. Crunches on an exercise ball are great because they optimize your abdominal contractions, while protecting your back.

Muscle Form and Function

The rectus abdominis muscle is really a series of short fibers stacked vertically on each other. The linea alba is a thin tendon-like vertical line that creates a groove in the middle of the abdominal wall so the rectus abdominis appears to have a left and right half to it. Usually, there are three additional rows of horizontally placed tendons running across the rectus abdominis. The fibers of the rectus abdominis are short and only run from one horizontal tendinous insertion to the next. When the rectus abdominis is tensed, these short fibers bulge between the tendinous grooves, almost like small ropes or blocks, giving that six-pack look. However, even if you are not interested in a six-pack, the small blocks of abdominal fibers will give your waist that tight and flat look from your rib cage to your pelvis.

If both right and left halves of the rectus abdominis muscle contract together, the trunk is flexed forward so the head and chest move closer to the hips and legs (assuming a fixed pelvis). This is the general movement of the crunch. Although there is muscle activity in all the blocks during most abdominal exercises, the upper two rows preferentially contract and shorten the most when doing crunches. However, in the crunch on the ball, the inferior fibers close to the pelvis can be effectively activated.

You can see the external oblique muscles dance and tighten, if your midriff is reasonably tight, and especially if you twist to either side. If this is not the case yet, then crunches on the ball will move you a little closer to this goal. The external oblique runs from the lower ribs by small bundles of muscle fibers that are angled in the same direction that your fingers would point, if you were to put your hands in your pockets. As the external oblique approaches the center of your abdomen, it unites with other slips of muscle fibers to form a flat fan-shaped muscle that attaches to the iliac bones of the pelvis and hip structure and also the linea alba. When both left and rights sides of the external oblique muscles work together, they can act to flex the trunk and move the head toward the feet. When one side contracts (unilateral contraction), the body twists to that side.

The internal oblique muscle sits just deep to the external oblique muscle. It attaches on a thick connective tissue sheath in the lower back, called the thoracolumbar fascia, and from the iliac bone of the hip. Its fibers run around the side of the trunk at right angles to the external oblique muscle, fanning out from their origins and running toward the head (superiorly). It attaches on the lowest three or four ribs, where it becomes continuous with the internal intercostal muscles (respiratory muscles of the rib cage). Similar to the external oblique muscle, if both left and right portions contract together, the internal oblique flexes the trunk at the waist and moves the head towards the feet. It assists in twisting the torso if it contracts unilaterally.

Crunch on an Exercise Ball

This exercise will most effectively contract the upper two rows of the rectus abdominis, but the internal and external oblique muscles will also assist in the flexion of the trunk.

1. Carefully lie back on a Swiss ball. Start by placing the ball behind you and holding it with your hands. Bend your knees and lower yourself so your shoulders and back are lying along the center of the ball. Next, extend your knees and let the ball roll a bit toward your head. Continue until your knees are at about 90 degrees and the ball is lying in the small of your back (lumbar). Your shoulders will not touch the ball, but your shoulder blades will contact the ball in the starting position. Make sure your shoes have a good gripping surface; otherwise, you may risk sliding off the ball.

2. Place your hands so that your fingertips are on either side of your head. It’s not a good idea to place your hands behind your head and interlace the fingers. This is because as you fatigue, you could pull up on your head with your hands and forcefully bend your neck forward. This has the potential to hurt your neck. Instead, with your fingers placed on the side of your head (the temple area), you cannot use your head as a lever to help you lift your head and torso off of the ball.

3. Point your elbows to the side and away from your body (not forward). Take a breath; then exhale as you bring your head and chest upward toward the ceiling. Your shoulders should rise an inch or two during this first phase; you’ll feel your lower back press deeper into the Swiss ball and the upper row of rectus abdomnis contract strongly as you come up. Do not let the ball roll forward as you come upward. And don’t let your hips drop down as your chest comes upward.

4. During the second phase, try to come up even further so your shoulder blades (scapula) lift off of the ball. But, think about curling your shoulders and upper back so your chin moves toward your chest as your upper body is curling (or crunching) toward your thighs. Hold the crunched position for a count of two.

5. During the third part of the exercise, tilt your pelvis forward and upward toward your head as your shoulders move upward. A pelvis tilt is critical because it strongly activates the lower blocks of your abdominals. All the while, try to keep squeezing your abdominals while you’re holding the pelvis tilt.

6. Inhale as you slowly control your upper body as it returns to the starting position. The ball prevents your shoulders and head from resting between repetitions so you’ll maintain tension throughout the entire exercise and between repetitions. This greatly increases the effectiveness and intensity of the exercise.

Important Tips

Getting on and off the ball can be difficult or uncomfortable if you have previously hurt your lower back. Consult your sports medicine doctor before doing this or other abdominal exercises. However, this is considered an excellent exercise even for someone with a weak back, because it does not put your lower back at risk if done correctly. Also, the ball supports your lower back throughout the exercise, whereas regular sit-ups and leg lifts jeopardize even a healthy back. Furthermore, strengthening the abdominals reduces the risk for other back injuries.

Don’t hold your breath during the crunch on the exercise ball, since this increases intra-abdominal pressure and prevents the abdominal fibers from shortening as much (although it might feel easier to do the crunch when holding your breath). It is good to either exhale as you are crunching forward, or even better, exhale before you do the contraction. Then concentrate on achieving a maximal shortening of the fibers during the exercise.

It would be impossible to attain fitness, aesthetic or sport objectives and tight abdominals if your diet is mainly high in fats and calories. Even if your diet is pretty good, you may need to add cardio to help meet your training goals. If your bodyweight goes down, crunches will become easier because you have less to lift each time you rise from the ball. Therefore, you’ll need to add a few more repetitions to continue progressing. You can also add a slight twist to the right as you elevate your shoulder blades from the ball, followed by a slight twist to the left on the next repetition. The twists increase the activation of the oblique muscles and this tightens the “love handle” region of your waist.

Probably nothing worthwhile or lasting comes easily, and this is certainly true for the abdominals. As a result, you must carefully set high standards and realistic goals for your diet and exercise program and you must establish firm deadlines for achieving success. Then, you must move your dream forward with determination; let nothing stop you from meeting those goals. So, maybe not all abdominal exercises are fun to do, but this exercise is not exhausting, yet it’s effective and intensive.

References:

Arokoski JP, Valta T, et al. Back and abdominal muscle function during stabilization exercises. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 82: 1089-1098, 2001.

Bayramoglu M, Akman MN, et al. Isokinetic measurement of trunk muscle strength in women with chronic low-back pain. Am J Phys Med Rehabil, 80: 650-655, 2001.

Bower A. Absolutely fabulous? The TV ads promise easy rock-hard abdominals, but studies show there’s no such thing as a free six-pack. Time, 158: 54-55, 2001.

Demont RG, Lephart SM, et al. Comparison of two abdominal training devices with an abdominal crunch using strength and EMG measurements. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 39: 253-258, 1999

Moore KL and Daley AF. Cinically Oriented Anatomy. Lippincott Williams & Williams, Baltimore, 4th Edition pp. 1999. 178-187.

Sands WA and McNeal JR. A kinematic comparison of four abdominal training devices and a traditional abdominal crunch. J Strength Cond Res 16: 135-141, 2002.

Stich V, Marion-Latard F, et al. Hypocaloric Diet Reduces Exercise-Induced alpha2-Adrenergic Antilipolytic Effect and alpha2-Adrenergic Receptor mRNA Levels in Adipose Tissue of Obese Women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 87: 1274-1281, 2002.

Suleiman S and Johnston DE. The abdominal wall: an overlooked source of pain. Am Fam Physician, 64: 431-438, 2001.





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Strictly’s Max George brings the heat as he unveils ripped abs in nothing but a towel


Strictly Come Dancing recruit Max George has paraded his stuff in a string of jaw-dropping bathroom selfies.

Snapping himself in the mirror and wearing nothing but a low-riding towel, Max showed the world his enviable ripped abs, muscular chest and arm ink.

The star, who’s paired with Aussie pro Dianne Buswell on the show, rocked some rugged stubble and cast a moody glance at the camera.

He held up two fingers to the camera, signalling the second week of rehearsals after Saturday’s first live show.

In another he threw up a peace sign and stuck his tongue out as he showed off his fun side.



Max sent temperatures soaring and fans into a spin

Max wrote: “Ready for week 2 of rehearsals. However, this tan ain’t ready to wash off yet! Any tips?”

And fans couldn’t stop looking, many of them taking to the comments with gushing remarks.

“Handsome what a body,” one fawned, “good luck u was amazing on sat.”

“Total babe!!” another wrote.

A third chimed in: “Omg hot hot hot hot good luck for Saturday xxxx.”

A fourth just shared a string of heart emojis, while a fifth branded The Wanted star “gorgeous.”



Max oozed confidence in the sexy snaps



Max and Dianne proved fan favourites during the first of the live shows

And his Strictly co-star and GMB host Ranvir Singh offered: “Max I’m only looking closely because you’re asking for help.. and I like being helpful.”

As if his abs weren’t enough to make fans swoon, it’s emerged that Max is a real gent behind the Strictly scenes as well.

Fellow contestant and Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo told on her show that the hunk made a very sweet gesture to his female co-stars after last week’s show.

“A really lovely thing happened this week. I wanna big up lovely Max George,” she told.



Max made a lovely gesture to his female co-stars



Clara gushed over the ‘really lovely’ gesture

“He was so sweet… he went and got a bouquet of flowers for every single girl in the competition. Which I think is just really lovely.”

She went on: “We all came back to our dressing rooms to find big, beautiful bouquets from Max. Which for me gets 10s across the board.”

Max and Dianne trailed just behind Clara and her pro partner Aljaz on Saturday’s leaderboard, earning 17 and 18 points respectively.



They’ll be looking to do even better come Saturday

Topping the chart was singer HRVY and Janette Manrara, followed closely by Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez.

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Anton du Beke sit at the bottom, just one point below Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer.

*Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 7:10pm on BBC One.





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Secrets of 6 Pack Abs


Taut tummies and enviable six-pack abs are something that many women long to secure. But, unfortunately, the avenue to amazing abs is cluttered with training evangelism, and everyone has their own opinion, technique or idea about how to best train this often troublesome area. So, how can we find what exercises work best to tone and tighten our total tummy? To weed out the flack and uncover what really works in the elusive world of abdominal training, we turned to the reliability of scientific research.

Ab-natomy

Your abdominal area consists of four separate muscle groups. The transversus abdominis lies innermost and keeps your insides, well, inside! The internal obliques run from your pelvis diagonally up to your sternum, while the external obliques lie atop the internal guys and help you bend, twist and turn.

Outermost is the rectus abdominis, the muscle we lovingly call our “abs.” Originating in the pelvis and attaching to the sternum, the rectus abdominis supports the spine and allows us to bend forward. Bands of connective tissue run across this single muscle, and create the desired “six-pack” appearance most evident in a lean, toned individual. While certain movements can target different areas of the rectus abdominis to a greater degree, there’s really no such thing as the “upper” and “lower” abs; the entire muscle gets stimulated each time you perform an exercise.

Science and a 6 Pack

Although you can’t willingly divide your rectus abdominis in half like Moses did the Red Sea, you can choose exercises to work it wisely, and some exercises are scientifically superior to others. In a study conducted at the University of San Diego, California, 31 subjects were tested using an electromyography machine (EMG). Electrodes were attached to both the topmost and bottommost sections of the rectus abdominis, atop the obliques, and on the hip flexors. “When a muscle contracts, it sends out an electrical impulse which is read by the electrodes, and in turn computes into a reading,” explains Dr. Peter Francis, Director of the Biomechanics Laboratory and conductor of the study. “It’s this reading that tells us which exercises are eliciting the most work from the different areas of the abdominal region.”

The willing subjects performed 14 repetitions of 13 different exercises, and a ton o’ crunches later – 182 to be exact – the results were in. While all the exercises tested elicited lots of work from the rectus abdominis – good news for those of us who are six-pack obsessed – three exercises beat out the rest when it came to total abdominal recruitment: The Roman chair leg lift, the bicycle crunch and the reverse crunch. “These exercises all put your pelvis in an unstable position, causing all of your abdominal muscles to contract to help stabilize it,” explains Francis. “This happens when you hang in space or pick your feet or hips up off the floor. Add to that a body rotation, and you generate even more muscle activity by recruiting the obliques to a greater degree.”

Realistic Results

For all the exercises tested, Francis also found that the positive contraction (on the way up) evoked more muscular work than did the negative contraction (on the way down). And whereas some people are obsessed with keeping their hip flexors out of the exercise, Francis found this to be an anatomical impossibility. “The hip flexors, obliques and abs are synergistic – they work as a team and you cannot successfully use one without using the others,” he states.

Although they are technically separate muscle groups, your abdominals work together to support your body and enable you to run, jump, play and dance. With that in mind, try a new approach to wholistic abdominal training: Instead of focusing on which exercise works which part, concentrate instead on developing all your abdominals thoroughly to ensure good posture and balance, and to better procure that killer midsection.

Crunch and Munch

And remember: You can crunch and crunch until the cows come home, but if you’re still eating like one, you’ll never see the fruits of your labor. Reduction of body fat is the only way to uncover that hidden six-pack. Eat a low-fat diet that includes lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and plenty of fruits and veggies. Combine your healthy diet with moderate cardiovascular activity three to five days a week and the excavation of your abs will be underway. Shoot for 45-60 minutes of cardio inside, outside or on any piece of equipment. Try to stay in your target heart rate range for the majority of the session to best enable your body to utilize fat as fuel, and reveal that six-pack of your dreams!

Plan of Attack

The Time Cruncher: Choose three to five of the exercises described, and perform them in a circuit manner. Execute 10-20 controlled repetitions for each exercise, doing one right after the other with no rest. Repeat the circuit two to three times. Nonstop circuits such as these should be performed no more than three times a week, with a minimum of 48 hours rest between sessions.

The Slow and Steady: If you prefer to train abs every day, choose one of the listed exercises and perform three or four sets of 15-30 slow, controlled repetitions per session. Choose a different exercise for each day you train, always using impeccable form and remembering to breathe.

Although you may be tempted to utilize only the top three in your routine, Francis warns against this. “Changing your exercises around and utilizing different strategies will best train your total abdominal region,” he says. “Beginners especially should work their way into the top three, as they proved difficult even for our more advanced participants.”

No matter which plan you choose to sculpt that stomach, use a count of four to elevate and a count of two to descend to elicit the most muscular activity possible.

 

#1: Roman Chair Leg Raises

This exercise proves best for total muscular recruitment.

Keeping your shoulders down and your back flat, balance your weight evenly between your forearms and allow your body to hang freely inside the machine. Exhale and slowly lift your legs upward, keeping them straight and avoiding the use of momentum, until your body forms an “L” shape in mid-air. Pause a moment before slowly lowering your legs back to the start. Repeat.

Alternative: Oblique Roman Chair Raises

Not only will this exercise target your six-pack, it will also trim and tighten your waistline.

Position yourself in the Roman chair as you did for the straight leg lift, but begin with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle as if you were sitting in an “air-chair.” From here, exhale and simultaneously lift and twist, bringing your knees up to one side of your body. Pause a moment at the top before slowly lowering them back to the start. Repeat on the other side.

Alternative: Hanging Leg Raises

Take an overhand grip on a pull-up bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart, and allow your body to hang freely. Keeping your legs straight and your toes pointed, exhale and slowly lift your legs upward, avoiding the use of momentum, until your body forms an “L” shape in mid-air. Pause a moment before slowly lowering your legs back to the start.

Alternative: Hanging Oblique Raises

Position yourself on the pull-up bar in the same manner as for the hanging straight leg raise, and bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair in mid-air. From here, simultaneously lift and twist, bringing your knees up and to the side of your body. Pause a moment before returning to the start and repeating on the other side.

#2: Bicycle Maneuver

This exercise works the whole abdominal region, especially the obliques and hip flexors.

Lie on the floor with your fingers touching your ears, your elbows flat on the ground and your knees bent. Lift your feet off the floor so they make a 90-degree angle with your hips and point your toes. This is the starting position. From here, lift and twist your upper body while simultaneously bringing one knee in toward your head. Try to touch your right elbow to your left knee without allowing your arm to fold across your face, and push your right leg out and away from your body. Come back to the center. Repeat on the opposite side.

#3: Reverse Crunch (on floor)

This exercise initiates the work from the lower portion of the rectus abdominis, and utilizes all the abdominals for pelvic stabilization when the hips are in the air.

Lie on the floor with your back flat, your focus forward, and your feet straight up in the air above your hips. Place your hands either straight out to the sides like a cross, or underneath your hips for support. From here, press the soles of your feet straight up toward the ceiling and contract through your abs to pick your tailbone up off the floor three to four inches. Slowly allow yourself to return to the start and repeat.

Alternative: Reverse Crunch (on bench)

Position an abdominal bench so it rests at a slight angle. Lie on the bench with your hands over your head gripping the pad or bar behind you, your back flat and your knees bent and held above your hips. This is your starting position. From here, slowly curl your knees up and in toward your head, lifting first your tailbone, then your hips off the bench. When your knees come to eye level, reverse the motion and slowly uncurl one vertebra at a time. Pass the start position and extend your legs straight out and away from you, keeping your back on the pad and your shoulders down. Pause a moment and come back to the start. Repeat.

#4: Exercise Ball Crunch

This exercise works primarily the rectus abdominis and allows the spine to move through its complete range of motion.

Balance yourself on an exercise ball with your arms folded across your chest, your focus on the ceiling and your feet flat on the floor. Your starting position should find your back slightly arched over the curve of the ball. Exhale and slowly lift your upper body off the ball, keeping your focus high and your elbows wide. Pause a moment in the topmost position before inhaling and slowly lowering yourself back to the start.

You can also change the difficulty of this exercise by changing the positioning of your feet. The farther they are apart, the greater your balance, and the simpler the motion. The closer they are together, the greater your imbalance, the more difficult the motion, and the more stabilization you require from your obliques.

#5: Cable Crunches with Rope

This exercise challenges primarily the rectus abdominis, but recruits work from the obliques as well balances and holds the body in space.

Attach a rope to a high pulley and kneel on the floor approximately three feet away from a cable machine. Sit up and off your heels and hold the rope with both hands, keeping it close in to your ears with your elbows bent and pointed down toward the floor. This is your starting position. From here, exhale and slowly crunch downward and inward, aiming your elbows toward your knees, and keeping your hips and lower back stationary. Pause a moment at your peak contraction before slowly coming back to the start position, breathing in and resisting the pull of the weight stack on the return.





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Get Rock-Hard Abs with 4 Moves


No equipment needed! All you need for this workout is some motivation, good music and determination. The best part? You can easily get rock-hard abs from this bodyweight workout in only 20 minutes!

Join me and trainer Gideon Akande as we show you four bodyweight moves that you can do right from home, right now!

You ready? How you do it:

Set a timer to have a running clock. Make sure it will be visible to you at all times. Set the timer for 20 minutes. Perform each move for 30 seconds

Rest: 20 seconds in between moves

That’s it!

Keep rotating through the four moves until that timer says 20 minutes! You will be sweating, smiling and happy you did this 20-minute bodyweight workout!

The moves:
Lateral to Reverse Lunge Combo
Typewriter to Burpee
V-Ups
Kick Through Push-Ups

Be sure to regress where needed. Stay in control, stay safe and break a sweat, baby!

Chase it!

Ben Boudro, MS, CSCS

Ben Boudro is a former Division I college wrestler, fitness junkie, husband, dad and dog lover with a passion for fitness through strength and conditioning. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with a bachelor’s and Master of Science degree in kinesiology, and the owner of Xceleration Fitness. Ben has helped millions of people unleash their inner beast through fitness, take control of their lives and believes: “The sky is the limit, and I live my life to one common theme: You can either wait for success to come to you or you can chase it … CHASE IT!”

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Dr. Victor Prisk is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon and medical director of P.O.W. – Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness, PC in Monroeville, PA. He specializes in regenerative medicine and foot and ankle treatment, and brings experience and empathy to his practice in the care of dancers, gymnasts and weight-training athletes. Dr. Prisk is an IFBB Professional League bodybuilder and judge, a member of the GNC Medical Advisory Board, and author of The GAIN Plan and The Leucine Factor Diet. Follow Dr. Prisk on Instagram at @drvictorprisk and for more information, visit orthoandwellness.comorthoandwellness.com





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Victorian employment losses slowing: ABS


The rate at which locked-down Victoria is losing jobs is slowing, but again dragged down the national total, new figures show.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics weekly payrolls report revealed the number of jobs across Australia fell by 0.4 per cent over the month to August 22.

But payrolls in Victoria fell two per cent in that period while the rest of the nation saw a modest 0.1 per cent rise in jobs.

“While payroll jobs continued to fall in Victoria into the third week of August, it was at a slower rate than earlier in the month,” ABS head of labour statistics at Bjorn Jarvis said.

Since mid-March when the virus began to take hold in Australia, national payrolls are down 4.2 per cent, while they are 7.9 per cent lower in Victoria.

Payroll jobs in the accommodation and food services and the arts and recreation services industries have suffered the largest losses during the COVID-19 period.

The payrolls report is a special publication that gives a more frequent guide of the impact of COVID-19 on the jobs market.

The latest National Australia Bank business survey also pointed to a weakening employment outlook.

Its business conditions index fell six points to minus six points in August, unwinding most of the previous month’s gain.

NAB Group chief economist Alan Oster said the decline was led by a drop in its employment index, suggesting while the Australian economy is generally starting to open up, the labour market is still in decline.

The business confidence index made only a modest six-point improvement to an index of minus eight points after falling sharply in July, indicating sentiment still remains fragile.

Mr Oster said given the sheer magnitude of the fall in economic activity in the June quarter, which confirmed Australia is suffering its first recession in decades, and the subsequent lockdowns in Victoria, the recovery will likely be protracted.

This will also result in a further rise in the unemployment rate.

“Policy makers have provided unprecedented support but we think there will need to be more,” Mr Oster said.

“This would help businesses and the economy recover more quickly and the focus can again return to growth.”

Extra support is expected to be unveiled in the October 6 federal budget.

Still, Australians appear to have taken confirmation of the country’s first recession since the early 1990s in their stride.

The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index rose one per cent, with respondents optimistic about future economic conditions, which jumped 4.1 per cent.

But ANZ head of Australian economics David Plank is quick to point out the survey was carried out before the Victorian government announced it was extending its harsh coronavirus lockdown.

“Even taking this into account, the uptick in confidence comes as a positive surprise,” Mr Plank said.

He felt the jump in “future economic conditions” may indicate that a number of people think the economic situation is close to the bottom.



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4 Tips for Awesome Abs


“Abs are made in the kitchen,” the fitness saying goes. But a more accurate rephrasing would be, “Abs are revealed in the kitchen.” They’re made in the gym, during your ab workouts and even total-body training. That’s where you build the muscle tissue that dieting later reveals by removing excess belly fat.

Once you’ve dialed in your nutrition, leave the kitchen and head to the gym for your workout. To help you, here are four abs workout strategies to improve your core muscles and build a scroll-stopping torso. Regardless of your current routine, these ab moves can make a big difference.

Tip 1: Use Weighted Core Exercises in Your Workout

The abdominal muscles are like everything else you train; in that sense, they’re no different from, say, your shoulder muscles. They all benefit from weighted resistance, whether from a cable, a dumbbell, etc. There’s this fear in the fitness world that using weight in your training will expand the circumference of your waist and mess with the symmetry of your torso. That’s not the case. If anything, doing weighted movements as part of your workout will make those abs pop even more when you cut down.

When done correctly, the weighted rope crunch is a great exercise for your abs workout. Your stomach works hard to contract, and the cable pulley applies continuous tension where you need it. Use your ab muscles, not your hip flexors, to crunch. Squeeze your abs hard when you pull in on this exercise. Feel that contraction fully on each crunch.

Hit your oblique muscles by crunching and dipping your shoulder to either side.

Tip 2: Lift Slowly, Lower Even More Slowly During Your Workout

You should know this by now, but it bears repeating: When training, momentum helps no one. Your six-pack is no different from every other muscle group in this respect, and if you’re trying to build, each rep counts. As you perform each rep, slow your tempo and maintain control throughout the movement. Your abs will work harder this way, leading to better results from your training.

Take that abs workout favorite, the hanging knee raise. If all your knee raises look like the beginning of a Kipping pull-up, you’re not alone; it’s easy to generate momentum and lift those legs high by swinging. Unfortunately, this kind of momentum doesn’t do much for your abs or your ab training.

Instead, start by tucking your knees to your chin, which will force your hips to lift and contract your ab muscles. Exhale at the top of the contraction to further activate your abs. Slowly lower your knees with control. Slower means you’ll do fewer reps, but each of those reps will benefit your lower abs a lot more. Only move to straight-legged lifts once you’ve mastered the bent-leg version in your training.

Want to shift the emphasis to your oblique muscles? Raise your knees to either side. Want to add some resistance? Hold a dumbbell between your ankles.

Tip 3: Focus on Stability During Your Workout

The core isn’t just about the six-pack. It’s also responsible for helping you stay upright and maintaining stability during other tasks. If you have a weak core, it will affect your training on other exercises, like the squat or even something as simple as a dumbbell curl. You need core strength to stabilize the weight before you can lift it for an exercise.

Additionally, the transverse abdominals—the “girdle” muscle that wraps around your midsection—becomes stronger and tighter through stabilizing isometric exercises, not through crunches. This means all those flailing ab exercises you’ve included in your ab training are missing the one muscle that helps tighten everything up.

Tip 3: Focus on Stability During Your Workout

Not to worry, there’s a simple solution: an exercise called planks. I don’t just mean the traditional version of the exercise, using the standard plank position. You should be working side planks into your training, too. By doing regular planks, then a plank for each side, in your abs workout, you will soon see a noticeable improvement in the look and strength of your core.

Tip 4: Don’t Forget to Vacuum During Your Workout

Any bodybuilding fan has read about the top pros getting ripped for having distended stomachs onstage. Champions from the so-called Golden Era of bodybuilding used vacuums during a workout to keep their tummies tight. After previously falling out of favor, this classic waist-slimming exercise has made a comeback in recent years among the ab routine of today’s fitness stars.

Not only can you include vacuums in your ab training, you can also do this exercise in between sets when you’re training other muscles. It’s a simple way to double-down on your ab gains, and it can be a killer superset no matter what you’re training that workout.

Perform your normal set and follow it up by trying to do a vacuum before you start your next one. With a little practice and consistency, you’ll gain better control of your waistline and your breathing. This exercise can benefit your other training and workout routines, as well.

Here’s a sample ab workout incorporating the principles you just read:

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more exercises



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The Best Yoga Exercises That Build Abs


Building cut abs is a cherished dream for most people in the gym. With so many ab workouts out there, yoga exercises that build abs are often forgotten about.

In saying that, yoga exercises might be one of the best-kept secrets of building great six-pack abs.

The secret behind the effectiveness of yoga exercises for building abs is the development of neuromuscular connection and being able to keep your abdominal muscles activated for long periods of time.

Yoga is great for steadiness training. Studies have shown the therapeutic effects of yoga, especially when incorporated as a part of core stability training. Many of the basic Yoga asanas are great for improving the mind-muscle connection and can be added alongside your normal ab routine.

Yoga Exercises That Build Abs

The best yoga exercise for building a strong set of abs might be the stomach vacuum exercise, but it is not the only one. Below we will list 4 yoga exercises that can help you to build great abs and a strong core. We recommend that you do these exercises at home as a morning workout. Remember that the goal of doing these yoga exercises is to improve your mind-muscle connection, not the number of repetitions.

During your workout, you should keep your abdominal muscles tense at all times. Over time you will learn to feel and control not just your abs as a whole, but also the individual muscles that make up your abdomen and even certain leg and pelvic muscles.

1. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

The Best Yoga Exercises That Build Abs by gymnasium post (GP) (gymnasiumpost.com)

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, raise both of your arms above your head. Start to exhale as you slowly squat down. Visualise the movement as if you are sitting down on a chair. Don’t let your knees go past your toes. Breath slowly and maintain this pose for 30-40 seconds, keeping your abs tensed throughout this exercise.

2. Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana)

Start by standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your right foot forward and bend your knee, then move your left foot back with your toes pointing slightly outwards. With your tailbone pointing to the ground, raise your arms above your head. Make sure that your hips are facing straight. Now concentrate on tightening your abdominal muscles and maintain this pose for 30-40 seconds. Focus on your breathing and keep the tension in your abs.

3. Tiger Pose (Vyaghrasana)

Start by standing on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart. Look forward with your neck in a neutral position. As you inhale, tighten your abdominal muscles and point your right leg up, slightly bending your back. Hold this pose for 10-20 seconds, then tense your abs even harder as you slowly exhale and bring your leg back down, towards your elbow. Bend your back slightly when you do this and repeat for 3-5 sets on each side.

4. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Sit, straighten your legs, both hands are standing on the floor behind your back. Bend the left leg and place it on the outside in the region of the right knee. Tighten the press, then, on the exhale, tighten the press even more and carefully turn the case to the side. Raise your right arm bent at the elbow to your left knee. Hold for 30-40 seconds and switch sides.

How To Get Abs

Training your abs is fundamentally different from training your arms, for example. The primary function of the biceps is the help you to bend your arm in order to lift the load (usually within a few seconds). Your abdominal muscles are designed to consistently bear the load. This is why slow twitch muscle fibres are the dominant type of muscle fibre.

The best way to engage slow twitch muscle fibers is through static and isometric exercise. We have covered strategies on how to get abs in previous articles, please see them below:

How To Get A Six Pack Of The Gods by gymnasium post (GP) (gymnasiumpost.com)

How To Lose Belly Fat

The main problem with not being able to see your abs is not the lack of sit-ups that you do, but rather the layer of fat that covers them. Did you know that the primary fuel source for slow twitch fibers is fat? Since your body knows this, a lot of the fat is stored on the abdomen – the less daily activity your body receives, the thicker the layer of fat becomes.

A common problem that people experience is the excess consumption of fast carbohydrates. Since carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for us, all of the excess gets stored as fat ‘for later use’. If you want to shift some of the fat quickly, try a no-carb diet. In reality, it doesn’t matter how many exercises you do to get abs if you don’t have your diet in check. It’s no wonder that the old saying goes something like ‘abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym’.

If you want to learn more about how your body uses and stores fat, as well as how to get rid of it check out our previous article below:

This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 6th August, 2020.



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Melbourne units closing the price gap with houses: ABS figures


Spectrum Apartment

Could better apartments be the reason why the gap between median unit and house prices is closing in Melbourne? Picture: James Ross (AAP).


Melbourne’s median unit price has closed to within $150,000 of the typical house price for the first time in three years.

Market experts believe it’s a sign new apartments being built across the city are getting better.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week show the median unit price rose from $522,500 at the end of March 2019 to $565,000 at the same time this year.

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It leaves only a $141,000 gap to the city’s $706,000 median house price, which is up from $681,100 a year prior.

The figures also show the gap has trended down since it peaked at $185,000 in June 2018.

ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said Melbourne and Hobart had been the nation’s top performing property market in the first three months of the year — though COVID-19 was expected to have changed the market since.

Modern suburban houses on the hill in Melbourne

The gap between unit and house prices is narrowing in Melbourne.


“But the quirky thing about Melbourne is that the unit price is doing relatively better than other areas of the country,” Mr Hockman said.

Under the ABS definition, units include any attached properties, such as townhouses, villas and apartments.

Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said it was possible the tightening gap between unit and house prices could reflect better quality apartments being built in Melbourne since 2017 as a result of the Better Apartments Design Standards.

Photo outside Sky One

A growing number of high-rise towers have also emerged in Melbourne suburbs like Box Hill since 2017.


“And since 2018 developers have had to provide to more of the owner occupier market,” Ms Conisbee said.

“So maybe it’s just a reflection of a general uplift in quality.”

She added that while first-home buyers had traditionally aimed for a house over a unit, they were increasingly considering the latter as a result of higher house prices.

National Property Buyers advocate Antony Bucello agreed.

Mr Bucello said a growing number of young buyers were simply not prepared to travel to affordable housing markets on the urban fringe.

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“In the end, it is about lifestyle,” Mr Bucello said.

“The apartment market has shifted from investors to owner occupiers — and they are the ones who drive prices.”

Supplied Editorial Fwd: UoA Melbourne campus - photos

Some Melbourne suburbs, such as Docklands, have thousands more apartments than other home types.


Buyers had been particularly willing to consider smaller homes in the months leading up to COVID-19 being declared a pandemic as Melbourne’s property market kept moving upwards.

“People were strongly considering buying an inner-city apartment instead of moving out to the fringes,” Mr Bucello said.

Wakelin Property Advisory director and buyer’s advocate Jarrod McCabe said government support for first-home buyers aimed at affordable homes would also reinforce the unit market.

“And the established (apartment) stock has probably had a bit of a resurgence in the last few years after being quite dormant over the first part of the past decade,” Mr McCabe said.

“But I don’t think it has drastically changed. Once the market recovers there will be a greater recovery in the housing sector and while apartments will appreciate, it won’t be to the same extent.”

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ABS data demands more for women from Government – 16 News


Today’s ABS Household data survey provides further confirmation that the impacts of COVID crisis are falling disproportionately to women. The Greens are calling on the National Cabinet to ensure that addressing these disparities is at the forefront of any recovery plans.

The ABS results reveal that women are almost three times as likely as men to have looked after their children full-time on their own during the crisis.

The ABS results also confirm reliance on unpaid care work, with one in eight adults taking on additional caring responsibilities for a vulnerable person outside their household because of Covid-19.

Greens Senate Leader and Spokesperson on Women, Senator Larissa Waters, said:

“The health and economic crisis highlights the unequal burden of unpaid care work that has long been carried by women. As we plan our recovery, we must look at better ways to acknowledge the value of care work and give families more options to fairly distribute caring responsibilities.

“Universal free childcare and more flexible workplace arrangements are an essential part of that.”

“The government must invest in recovery in ways that address gender inequality”

Read the ABS’ Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey here:
https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4940.0



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