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NarratorWashboard, killer abs, a 6-pack, ripped, whatever you call it, a perfectly toned and rippled stomach is what many of us covet.
: five, six, second set.
NarratorAmericans spend a staggering amount of money trying to firm up their mid-sections, but experts say getting a tight torso doesn't have to be expensive or require special equipment. It does, however, require commitment because it's not just about ab training.
Dori RicciYou do also need to do cardiovascular exercise to burn the fat, and you'll also have to have a healthy diet. And if you don't have all three components, it'll take you a really long time to get in good shape.
NarratorThat's because spot training alone doesn't work. Don't break your neck doing sit-ups. They might make the muscle stronger, but if the fat stays on top, you'll never get that a washboard look.
Bruce SalzingerYou know the body's beautiful when you see the muscles and not other structures that come from poor diet and lack of exercise.
NarratorLike other muscles in the body, the abdominal muscles get stronger with resistance training. These muscles are made up of the Internal and External Obliques on the sides of the torso and the Rectus Abdominis on the front— that's the group of muscles that can give us that 6-pack look when they're perfectly toned.
: Extend the legs out...
NarratorEfficient Ab workouts utilize a variety of simple floor and standing routines and can incorporate an exercise ball. The bicycle maneuver is thought to be one of the most effective for toning your front stomach muscles. Keep your lower back pressed to the floor while you alternate pointing opposite elbows to your knees. Another way to get more tone for your time—try doing a standard crunch using the ball, lifting the torso just enough to flex the abdominals. If you're up for it, do the same maneuver, lifting one leg for more of a burn. Or try this. It's called a plank. To stay steady, you're forced to flex your abs. For maximum benefit, each routine should only be done for a few minutes at a time.
Dori RicciIt's really not effective to train your abdominal muscles for more than 10 minutes because once you use your abdominal muscles and you really fatigue them to the point where they're not working effectively anymore then other muscles are going to take over.
: One, two...
NarratorAnd that's the point where you might strain your back or your hip flexor muscles. It's not about how many reps you do. It's more about doing them right by focusing on things like protecting your neck and back, holding your posture and flexing and holding your ab muscles for sufficient amounts of time.
Dori RicciYour abdominals and your lower back muscles work together. So you're going to be using your lower back muscles anytime you train your abdominals and that's okay. You just have to know the difference between good and bad pain.
NarratorFor maximum impact you'll also need to tone up your other muscles as well. So Ab training should always be just one component of an overall fitness plan.
Dori RicciBecause if you have more muscle fiber in your body, you burn more calories.
NarratorAnd that means you'll burn more fat too, and some of that blubber will eventually come off your mid-section. So, killer abs boil down to diet, cardiovascular exercise and resistance training.
Dori RicciIf you do all three at the same time, you can get some progress in about six weeks.
NarratorYou might not end up with a 6-pack, but at least you won't be carrying around the ENTIRE keg. For WebMD, I'm Damon Meharg.
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