10 minutes to a six-pack stomach

Kim Droze

You've seen the ads for miracle ab-toners, you've tried doing 100 sit-ups every night... but what really works to give you that six-pack stomach? Well, if you have 10 minutes, here's the perfect solution for you...

Yes, 10 minutes is all it takes to tone those abs. Forget about costly gym memberships that'll never be used. Don’t even think about expensive equipment that'll quickly become a dusty coat rack. It’s time to get down to belly busting business by following the three D’s!

Decide! You need to make the decision that this is important. Set it as a goal. Practice mentally so you are committed to and aware of your desire and goal.

Define! You need to reduce body fat and actively work towards a better body and better health. The combination of a healthy, balanced diet, cardiovascular exercise and toning will give you the results you’re looking for.

Develop! Develop the muscles of the body - not just the abs, but your whole body.

One of the most common misconceptions about shaping up is the belief that we need to perform 100 reps to firm the abs. The reality is that even for the best abs you only need to do 15 to 20 reps of an exercise, which takes 10 minutes tops, two to three times a week at most.

Use these three exercises to get started... and don’t exceed the maximum reps.

Basic crunch
- Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet resting flat on the floor. Position your hands behind your head to support it, not to pull on it. Do not lock your hands behind your head! You might find it comfortable to lie on a towel or an exercise mat.
- Concentrate on contracting the abdominal muscles before you even begin to lift your upper body off the floor.
- Contracting the abdominal muscles, curl the shoulders up and forwards until the upper back starts to lift off the floor. Do not try to sit all the way up! Concentrate on flexing the abdominal muscles when you are lifting the shoulders up, imagining you’re trying to make a dent in the floor with your lower back, and let that contraction pull your shoulders off the ground. Hold the contracted position for a full two seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Then simply repeat.

Training Tip To increase the range of motion and to get even more ab work, try putting a rolled-up towel under your lower back.

Side crunch

- Begin by lying down on the floor with your knees bent and your torso twisted so your left leg is lying flat on the floor but your upper body is still facing upward. Place your hands by the sides of your head.
­- Now, take a deep breath and begin contracting your abdominal muscles. Let that contraction slowly lift your upper body off the floor while you breathe out. As soon as your shoulders come slightly off the floor, try to hold that contracted position for 2 seconds. Then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Perform 12 to 15 repetitions in this position, and then reverse the position so your right leg is touching the floor and perform 12 to 15 more repetitions.

Training Tip When you rotate your legs to the left, do not allow your upper body to rotate along with it. Keep your shoulders facing upwards.

Reverse Crunch

- Begin by lying on your back, knees bent, and feet together, about six inches above the floor. Put your hands behind your head, like you would if you were getting ready to do an ab crunch.
- Keeping your feet close to your hips, contract your abs while you slowly curl your lower body up towards your shoulders, gradually rolling your hips off the floor. Exhale when you contract the abs, so your rib cage will drop and allow for a more intense muscle contraction. Keep flexing the abs until your hips and lower back are just slightly off the floor. Hold that position for a count of two, and flex as hard as you can! Then slowly lower your hips back to the starting position, take a breath, and repeat. Bear in mind that the slower you do this exercise, the better it works.

Training Tip One variation of this exercise simply involves placing the hands, palms down, by your hips. This is a bit harder and more intense.

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Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.