Sunday, August 16, 2009

Get Abs Fast

A trio of strategies to make your midsection a work of six-pack art.

Sometimes the hardest part about working your abs isn't all the exercise involved; it's figuring out which exercises best meet your momentary needs.
Sculpting the kind of washboard waistline every guy desires doesn't require you to always follow the same road every other guy took to get there. It's hard to stay committed enough to see results if you're not in tune with a program from the start. That's why having a few ab routines to choose from can help you determine the best approach for you.
We asked our experts for routines that address the most common ways men work out. What they gave us were three that cover the gamut.
If you're a gym rat who needs his ab routine to be as tough as the rest of his workout, we've got you covered.

For the guy who likes exercising at home without having to rely on any equipment, we've got that, too.

And if you've tried every possible routine out there and need something new to challenge your abs, then get ready for a three-move plan that may seem more appropriate for a day-care center but will leave you crying like a baby.

Can't decide exactly what category you fall into? Then you've got the best of all options. You can try any of the following routines separately for a total abdominal experience, or create your own by replacing an exercise from one workout with one from another (according to their numbers). Whichever workout you choose, it'll be one custom-made for your abs, and your attention span.

STRATEGY #1: THE GYM So you prefer holding your workouts amongst iron and steel, do you? Then you probably already know there's no need to worry about becoming too bulky by bringing weights into your ab routine. "The abdominal muscles aren't designed for size; they are designed for function," says Fred McDaniel, master trainer and co-founder of the Human Performance Center in Santa Fe, N.M. That means no matter how hard you try, your stomach muscles may get stronger, tighter and firmer, but using weights will never inflate them.
Weights, especially cables, let you work your muscles through a variety of angles by lessening your reliance on whichever single angle gravity allows you. Sticking with the same body-resistance exercises, such as crunches and knee raises, can be counterproductive, especially as you get in better shape. "The leaner you become, the less resistance your muscles get from your decreasing body weight, leaving you with less results in the long run," says McDaniel. Adding weights can prevent this from happening, so your midsection won't suffer from your sleeker appearance.

As for injuries, "the risks involved using weighted abdominal movements are no different than those that come into play using weights for any other muscle group," says McDaniel. "Going slow, maintaining proper form, and always choosing a weight your muscles can handle are the smartest way to lower your odds and improve your results."
You'll need a few pieces of equipment (a high-cable pulley, a chin-up bar and a light dumbbell), but nothing you wouldn't find in any standard health club.

STRATEGY #2: IN-HOME PILATES-BASED Working out at home may feel limiting to some, but for others, it offers the greatest amount of freedom. Being away from prying eyes can allow you to try abdominal exercises you might otherwise feel too self-conscious to do in public-movements that may look silly, but are guaranteed to put your abdominal muscles through paces most basic ab moves can never touch.

This at-home routine is derived from Pilates, a series of floor exercises that force you to hold specific positions which develop strength, flexibility, posture and coordination. But as esoteric as these movements may seem, "they're actually more rooted to the real-life use of your abdominal muscles than your average exercise," says Ed Morand, A.C.E., N.A.S.M., Pilates instructor at the New York Sports Clubs/Town Sports International in New York City.
Every Pilates move requires a set of tight, strong abs simply to hold yourself in the starting position. The continual tension on your abs keeps your midsection muscles working overtime to maintain your posture, which lets you reap even more six-pack success from every exercise on offer here.

Morand offers three positions for developing abs of steel without needing anything but a mat, a few minutes to spare, and the dedication of a pit bull.

STRATEGY #3: HOME OR GYM PHYSIOBALL Maybe it's because you only see women using one, or because it looks like something Toys-R-Us puts on sale around Christmastime. Or maybe it's simply because it sounds like something made by men who enjoy yodeling and find Eucalyptus bearable. Whatever your explanation is for being afraid to use a Swiss ball, you're not alone. Seasoned exercisers share your fears, but for an entirely different reason: Nothing puts your midsection through greater, shape-shifting torture.
Exercising your abdominal muscles with a Swiss ball is one of the best ways a guy can jump-start his routine, for what may seem unique to you is actually quite familiar to your muscles. A Swiss ball mimics movements your abdominal muscles typically do throughout the day. "The abdominal wall's greatest job isn't to curl you off the floor; it's to constantly support and stabilize your body in an upright, balanced position all day long," says Jeff Bell, C.S.C.S., N.A.S.M., A.C.S.M., co-owner of Spectrum Wellness, New York City.
Merely positioning yourself on the ball forces all your muscles (especially your abs) to naturally contract before you even start a movement. "Doing crunches on top of a ball also lets you bend back through a greater range of motion to work more muscle fibers along a safe, supported surface," says Bell. "Trying to arch your lower back on a flat surface to achieve the same effect will only compromise the spine instead of strengthen your abdominals."
SO WHERE ARE MY ABS ALREADY?When you'll start seeing results depends on your eating habits, your cardiovascular routine and a little nuisance we like to call genetics. But, most experts agree, if you follow a low-fat diet (with no more than 25 percent of your daily calories coming from fat), you should shave off enough body fat to start enjoying all the hard work you've put into the muscles underneath.
If you're under 15% body fat and do cardio 3 times a week, you should see results in 1-2 weeks.
If you're 15%-20% body fat and do cardio 3-4 times a week, you should see results in 2-3 weeks.
If you're 20%-25% body fat and you do cardio 4-5 times a week, you should see results in 4-5 weeks.
If you're over 25% body fat and you do cardio 5 times a week, you should see results in 6-8 weeks.
AB BEGINNINGSIf you're entirely new to ab training, or if this is the first time you've made a commitment to an ab program, use any of the three routines for a complete ab experience. After two or three months, when you're ready to step things up a notch, simply replace an exercise, by number, from one routine to another.

Hardcore Men's Fitness

You hear a lot of foul language in the gym. (Admit it - that's one of the reasons you like going.) But there's one four-letter word that should make you cringe whenever it comes up. That word is core. And the reason it's so obscene is because most of the time, people throw the term around carelessly, without knowing what it really means. Think you're in the clear? If you just said, "I know what the core is - it's your abs and lower back," go wash your mouth out with soap. Then come back and finish this article, in which you'll learn about the body's many cores and how to train each of them.

THE CENTER OF STRENGTH Anyone who's hired a trainer, browsed the fitness department at Sears,or stumbled onto an infomercial while searching for Saturday morning cartoons knows one of his cores by now. For the last 10 years or more,"core training" - exercise involving the abs and lower back has been one of the most hyped trends in fitness, and for good reason. "The most important structure in the body's communication system is the spinal cord," says Juan Carlos Santana, C.S.C.S., director of the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton, Fla. "But it's housed by the most unstable structure in the body -the spinal column." In order for the body to move at all, it must first stabilize that structure. "Therefore," says Santana, "we are limited in the force we can generate - in any activity - by our ability to stabilize the lower back and pelvic region."

Meaning, in order to condition your whole body, you need to perform exercises that strengthen the area surrounding the spine - namely, the abs and lower back. Yes, banging out a set of Swiss-ball crunches can be a part of that training, but it's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to true core conditioning.

CORE CONCEPTS Stability training has been going on for eons,but its modern incarnation dates back roughly 25 years. Physical therapists in San Francisco discovered that having their patients train in unstable yet controlled positions (such as on a Swiss ball or balancing on one leg) could alleviate back problems. The concept later became part of the "functional fitness" craze of the '90s, in which more sport- and lifestyle-specific training methods began to replace old-school lifting programs. (In other words, people began to see weight training for health and performance as more than just bench presses and biceps curls.)

In both cases, the training focused on knocking the body off balance so that the central nervous system (the organizer of all your body's muscle activity) would be forced to recruit more muscle fibers to complete the task at hand. Which means when you do Swiss-ball crunches, for example, you're not only training your rectus abdominus (the six-pack muscles), you're training your brain to activate all the other muscles that help keep you on that ball - including your internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus, quadratus lumborum (in your lower back), and many other small but important supportive muscles for your spine.

Once the central nervous system has learned to recruit all those additional muscle fibers (ones that wouldn't necessarily be activated during a traditional crunch), it can put them to use in other exercises and activities- not only helping improve your performance on the Swiss-ball crunch but making your abs pop as well. Essentially, this means that training your body to stabilize itself leads to an overall heightened communication between your brain and muscles, which can lead to a greater capability to build muscle and burn fat, faster recovery times, and greater sports skills with a reduced risk for injury.

David Beckham Workout Routine

How does David Beckham get his abs?

Probably the most famous soccer player of the current day David Beckham has risen through the ranks from a schoolboy hopeful, to team captain, to win caps for England, play in two World Cups, and now helping to increase soccer awareness in the USA, playing for LA Galaxy. But in addition to this, he has become something of an icon, a style guru, and a model for male health and fitness. So, the big question is, how does he do it? How do you get a body like David Beckham? How does he train, what does he eat?.

David Beckham's Workout

Many years ago professional footballers moved on from relying on a few Sunday morning training sessions to get themselves in shape for a game. Superior fitness is now essential in the modern football game.
David Beckham’s well toned physique is due to three essential components to a perfect body: strength training, cardio/endurance training, and diet/sports nutrition. In some ways David Beckham’s body is similar to that of the greatest fitness icon of all time, Bruce Lee. David Beckham has minimal body fat, well toned, but not overly bulky muscles, and a lean and lithe appearance. The three parts to David Beckham’s body can be summarized as follows:
The key to athletic and functional strength is compound weight training. Bodybuilding exercises which focus on individual muscles are only for show. To build functional strength for sports and athletics, compound training is essential. Compound exercises include the dead-lift, squats, bench press, bent-over/cable rows, shoulder presses and standing barbell curls.
The picture on the right shows him performing a free weight inclined bench press. As there is no safety cage and no sign of spotters, David is likely to be lifting a lighter weight, with higher reps. This provides more muscular endurance. Most athletes train with heavier weights for increased upper body functional strength, but for footballers, the main strengths are skill with the ball and speed. However, by bench pressing the upper body is kept in muscular balance with the lower body, and overall athleticism is increased.
Endurance Training
For David Beckham, the bulk of his cardio fitness training probably comes from football training sessions, but supplemented with some running and cycling. The main training routine for footballers is a specific circuit training routine. Footballers include in their arsenal speed work and plyometric training routines, as well as classic old school circuit training, such as shuttle runs, squat thrusts, jumping jacks, skipping, jogging forwards and backwards, plus abs/core workouts and upper-body conditional with crunches, leg raises and press-ups (push ups). Take a look at our circuit training section for more in this type of training. Soccer players require excellent strength and conditioning not only to perform well on the pitch, but also to help prevent injury during a game. Keeping the joints strong and flexible is essential. Here diet plays an important role, and supplementing a diet with cod liver, glucosamine and chondroitin, and other vitamins and minerals is essential to ensure supple but strong joints. Flexibility training is a vital area of physical training, with stretches both before and after workouts.
Combine these three elements of training and you can get a body like David Beckham, and strive to perform as well on the pitch as he does. We cannot help you with looks and style, but for fitness, endurance and strength, this should get you on track to have a “Beckham Body“.

David Beckham's Diet

To ensure fat is kept to an absolute minimum, but muscle can still grow, it is essential to ensure that you have a fast metabolism that burns fat (body fat and dietary fat). To do so requires a well balanced and healthy diet - plenty of green leafy salads, low GI vegetables, lean meats, fish and poultry. Avoiding sugar, high GI carbohydrates (such as bread, pasta, flours, sugars, cakes, and general junk food) is essential to keeping the fat off and the metabolism fired up.

Best Male Celebrity Abs

Hottest Celebrities with their muscular abs

Abs and Weight Loss

A wall of interlocking muscles that stretch from your sternum to your pelvis, abs are the major muscle group responsible for keeping your top half attached to your bottom half. There are five separate muscle groups in your abs: the external obliques, internal obliques, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis and the pyramidalis. They work in tandem, flexing and stretching whenever you twist or bend, keeping your body aligned and providing support for your back. They’re crucial in virtually everything you do, from football to ballroom dancing.But getting rock-hard, rippling abs is no easy feat. Most of us store at least a little fat around the middle and it’s tough to get it to melt away without some serious work. Learn how to turn your beer belly into a six pack with expert advice about ab workouts, low-cal diets and even those newfangled miracle ab machines. Whittle away the fat with diet and exercise, then hone your midsection with a series of rigorous routines. In the end you might just end up being the envy of every guy in the gym.

Lucky few are born with washboard abs, a genetic disposition to shed fat and gain muscle. The rest of us have to work for them. A lot. Any tip or trick to help us slough off extra pounds and sculpt the abs is more than welcome.

Abs Fact
The abs are stabilizer muscles, made to support your body during twisting motions. Even if you do a million crunches, you won’t build true abdominal strength without exercises that force you to stabilize your midsection, like rollouts, the plank, and one-arm pushup holds.
One of the most frequently stated goals of men in the gym is to "get ripped abs." The ab muscles are what really identify someone who is serious about their fitness and diet plan, because without determination and a fair amount of effort, getting ripped abs is a goal that will never be reached.While everyone has developed ab muscles to some extent, it’s getting them to show that becomes the biggest issue for most. This is due to the fact that most of us tend to store our body fat, at least partially, in the abdominal region. This is also one of the most stubborn places to lose fat from.That said, if you know the principles for how to get ripped abs, you can make this goal a reality.

Genetic factor
The first thing you must realize is that every guy has his own uniquely shaped abs. Randomly selecting a picture out of some men’s magazine or billboard and saying that’s what you want your abs to be like could be slightly self-defeating, because even if you did get to low enough body fat levels, your abs may not be genetically shaped in a similar way; therefore, the appearance of your abs will still be different.Recognizing that this factor is out of your control and not getting hung up on it is one step forward on your quest to get ripped abs. If you are unable to do this, you’ll only become more frustrated as time progresses, which is a serious motivational killer.Rest assured, though, that if you can get your body fat levels low enough and perform correct, targeted exercises for this muscle group, your midsection will garner second glances.

Food factor
Next comes the diet aspect of the equation. Ever heard the saying, "Abs are made in the kitchen"? Nothing could speak the truth more. As stated, everyone has some ab muscles, but most have a layer of body fat hiding them. Removing this layer is going to be about 90% dietary effort and 10% exercise effort when it comes right down to it. If you aren’t ready to take control over the foods you are putting in your mouth, getting ripped abs should not be a goal for you.While the old notion used to be that you should eat a diet as low in fat as possible in order to remove body fat, this has changed in modern times. Now, diets that are higher in protein, moderate in fat and low or moderate in carbs are making headway, as this helps to control insulin levels better, and insulin happens to be the prime hormone that stores body fat (in a hypercaloric balance).That’s not to say you can’t get lean on a higher-carbohydrate diet; you most certainly can -- and some guys do -- but for the vast majority, hunger levels are much more manageable on a low to moderate carb approach, which correspondingly makes eating fewer calories easier.At the end of the day, it’s really going to come down to your total calorie intake, with less importance placed on how you get there -- assuming sufficient protein is present, of course.

It has become ridiculous: Every time I crash in front of my TV late at night after a long, hard day's work, I'm bombarded by countless infomercials revealing the newest line of fat-burning, abdominal crunching, body-sculpting, miracle-working machines. Even those Suzanne Somers or Richard Simmons diet plans make me want to shoot myself in the foot for snacking on popcorn.Well, I have news for all of you out there: Don't diet, and don't rush off to buy the next gimmick. Here's the real secret to losing weight: Just eat less.

it's about sensibility
That's right; sensibility is the new word of the decade. After all, doing everything sensibly in your life is the key to living well. You don't need to feel trapped behind the prison of your own body anymore. All you need to do is control your portion sizes by eating less and eating sensibly.Easier said than done? Well, like all things in life, eating less is a learned experience and takes some practice and patience. Our problem nowadays is that we're too lazy to turn this practice into a perfectly balanced meal plan.

breaking bad habits
"The problem for most people is that they maintain certain habits that make eating less quite difficult," says Pat Booth, assistant director of the Nutrition Services Department at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.Old habits are hard to break, however, tomorrow you'll be looking back at the "old" you and feeling good about the "new" you that's yet to come. Get my point? It also has a lot to do with your self-image perceptions. You must first change mentally in order to then change physically.

getting startedAnyone
who has ever tried dieting knows the immediate feeling of deprivation that accompanies most weight-loss plans. The result for most of us is that we can't stick to it.Instead of drastically cutting your diet, try gradually accustoming yourself to eating less. Take smaller portions. Leave a little on the plate. In time, you'll find you need less food to feel satiated.As you practice putting less on your plate, consider these 7 steps to eating less (the following list is taken from Mr. Paul Wolf, Health Correspondent, and I highly recommend it):

1. Mini-meal is the operative wordIdeally, every time you eat, your plate should have some protein, a little fat and a little fibrous bulk to ensure that you feel full and satisfied. This takes some planning. It ultimately means losing the "mindlessly munching on pretzels" habit."Even if you eat fruit as a snack, healthy as it is, you won't feel completely satisfied because it doesn't have any protein and fat," Booth says.An apple followed by, say, some plain yogurt, will do more for satiety than two apples. A baked potato, which has 100 calories, contributes more to satisfaction than 20 potato chips, which, at 114 calories, adds up quickly. Top that spud with a quarter-cup of low-fat cottage cheese (100 calories), and you have a filling, healthy snack for 200 calories.

2. Don't deprive yourselfYou don't want to feel deprived or hungry because drastically cutting calories will only slow down your metabolism by driving your system into famine mode.Don't count calories; just eyeball your portions. Let's say you hope to reduce your daily caloric intake from about 2,500 to 2,000. Focus on reducing your portion sizes by about 20 percent.Within a matter of a couple of weeks, you will be adjusted to the new serving sizes and they will seem normal.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Abs Workout : Side Pillar Bridge

Abs Workout

Lie on side with elbow tucked under and feet stacked on top of each other• Lift body so only foot and elbow touch ground

Elevate hips and keep core tight for specified time• Intensify exercise by adding 25-pound weight to outside hip

Advanced: Raise top legSets/Reps: 4-5 x 30 seconds each side. Gradually increase time.Frequency: 2-3 times per weekThe payoff: Improves strength and stability in the core, hips and groin.

The wisdom: “If your hips are weak, they will sag or keep moving when you try to stop or change direction during the L-Drill, forcing you to stutter step or preventing you from staying rigid and breaking down immediately. Hip strength and stability make athletes solid and efficient in their cuts and changes of direction.”

Abs Workout : Side Jackknife

Abs Workout
Exercise Advice: Lie on your right side on the floor on a mat and keep your left leg over your right, placing your right hand in a comfortable spot and your left hand behind your head. Bring your torso and left leg toward each other as you pull with your obliques. Squeeze for a one-count and return to the starting position.