Exercise Tips

Exercise Tips2018-10-08T09:19:41+00:00

How do I get six pack abs as quickly as possible? The ultimate workout

Building a six-pack is a process. To achieve the desired results fast, you need to understand the process itself.

First and foremost, lose the weight as you have to be sufficiently lean for your abs to show beneath your skin. Second, develop the abs through exercise and diet. Finally, to maintain the abs you will need to have a nutrition plan you will be able to work with in a long term.

Let’s start with losing fat 

To decrease your overall body fat, you need to ditch specific foods high in sugar and calories. Avoid junk foods, processed carb, fast foods and soft drinks. It is noteworthy that if you have a lot of body fat, it will be a gradual process. Drastically cutting down on calories can inadvertently harm you.

For a healthier diet eat more of:

  • Vegetables e.g. broccoli, spinach, kales, Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots, etc. vegetables contain healthy antioxidants which protects the body and cells from damage.
  • Fruits e.g. apples, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, peaches, etc
  • Food rich in fibre e.g. oats, barley, nuts, wholegrain
  • Healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, fish oils, and avocados
  • Organic lean protein e.g. lean beef, white-fleshed fish, white-meat poultry, egg white, pork loin, low fat milk, frozen shrimp, etc
  • Drink a lot of fluids, the best being water

Aim for a healthier diet

While maintaining a healthy eating habit and the proper nutrition, you can concentrate on an exercise routine to develop six-pack abs.

Anatomy of abs

There are four muscles in the mid-section. They include:

  • The external obliques – it’s the outermost layer of the abs on the side. They run diagonally downwards. These muscles work to flex the spine and compress the abdominal wall/ increase inter abdominal pressure. They also aid the back muscles in rotating the trunk and flexing laterally.
  • The internal obliques – these muscles are underneath the external obliques. They run diagonally up the side. They assist in the rotation of the trunk and flexing laterally.
  • Transverse abdominis – they compress the abdominal content which aids in core stability.
  • Rectus abdominis – it is the six-pack itself. Rectus abdominis muscles paired abdominal muscles which connect vertically. It enables the curvature of the lower spine and the tilting of the pelvis.  They run from the bottom of the ribs to the top of the pelvis.

Start your exercise regime

For efficiency with exercises, start with cardio vascular exercises to strengthen your heart, the cardiovascular system and lose fat.

  1. Sprint on the spot
    –        Run at full speed while on the spot
    –        Do this for 30 seconds

    2.     High knee taps
    –        Assume a standing position
    –        Bend your arms at the elbow to form 90 degrees, stretch them forward and bring them close to each other
    –        Run on the spot ensuring your knees touch your arms alternatingly (i.e. move your arms left to right without altering the 90-degree angle)
    –        Control your breathing, inhale in and out. Do not hold your breath.
    –        Do this exercise for one minute

    3.      Plank knees to elbow
    –        With your body facing down to the floor
    –        Place your forearms straight on the floor to hold up your upper body and support  your lower body up with the toes
    –        Position your forearms to touch at the fingers and form a kind of forward arrow
    –        The distance between the elbows should be more than the shoulder width
    –        Bring your right knee up to touch the right elbow and lower it back to the starting position
    –        Now push your left knee up to touch your left elbow and lower it back to the starting position
    –        Alternate this leg movements and control your breathing
    –        Do 30 reps

    4.     Plank hops
    –        In a bent position facing the floor
    –        Touch the floor with your palms
    –        Support your legs on toes
    –        Hop forward towards your arms and backward to the starting position
    –        Do 30 reps

    After the cardio you can now work on exercises which target the abs muscles. We will start with exercises that do not require any weights or equipment.

    5.     Russian twists
    –        Assume a sitting position on the floor
    –        Lift both of your legs in a way they are inclined at a 30-degree angle with the floor.
    –       This will automatically cause you to slightly bend, with your back forming an angle less than 90 degrees with the floor.
    –        With both your arms touching at the forefingers, touch the floor directly to the side of your hips
    –        Alternate from the left side to the right side
    –        Do 15 reps

    6.     Seated in and outs
    –        Assume a seated position
    –        Hold the floor with your palms about 30cm beside your hips
    –        Hold out your legs slightly off the floor
    –        Pull the legs inwards towards your stomach and bend at the knee as you pull in (squeeze yourself for maximum contraction)
    –        Stretch the legs back out to  the starting position (as you stretch out, your back will also move towards the floor behind you)
    –        Do 40 reps

    7.     Reverse crunches
    –        Lie on the floor
    –        Have your thighs perpendicular to the floor
    –        Make a 90-degree bend in the legs
    –        Lift your head slightly off the ground
    –        Lift your pelvis, bring your knees towards your head
    –        Squeeze your upper and lower body
    –        Return to the starting position
    –        Maintain the legs angle as you make the movement
    –        Do 15 reps

    8.     Leg raises
    –        Lie on a flat surface (it can be a bench or the floor, and in this case I will use the latter) with your body facing up
    –        Put your palm on the floor, and place each hand beneath your buttocks
    –        Slightly lift your head and shoulders off the ground
    –        Your legs’ starting position will be 20 degrees off the ground
    –        Hold your legs straight and tightly together in the starting position, lift them and bring them towards your face.
    –        Bend them back to the starting position (ensure you do not touch the floor)
    –        Inhale as you lift and exhale as you lower them back
    –        Do 15 reps

    9.     Hip raises
    –        Lie on the floor and hold out your legs keeping them straight and tight together
    –        Put your arms straight on the floor beside your body
    –        Lift your head and shoulders off the ground
    –        The legs starting position will be 30 degrees off the ground
    –        Pull your legs towards your face, as you pull fold your lower legs to form 45 degrees with the upper leg
    –        Lift yourself at the hips and push your hip towards the roof
    –        Bring your hip down and stretch out your legs as you lower them back to the starting position
    –        Control your breathing as you make this movement
    –        Do 15 reps

    10. Flutter kicks
    –        Lie on the floor with your body facing up
    –        With your palm facing the ground, place your hands beneath each buttocks
    –        Slightly lift your head and shoulders off the ground
    –        Your legs’ starting position will be 20 degrees off the ground
    –        Move your right leg up and as you bring it down to the starting position, move the left leg up.
    –        Alternate the legs in this movement
    –        Breath in and out during each kick
    –        Do 60 reps

    11. Chair sit-ups
    –        Have your back on the floor
    –        Slightly raise your neck and shoulders off the floor
    –        Lift your legs to form a chair (the front of your upper legs should form a 90-degree angle with your lower abdomen, and bent at the knee, the back of your upper leg should also form a 90-degree angle with the back of your lower leg)
    –        Lift your right hand towards the roof, have the left hand touch the right shoulder
    –        Lift your upper body the highest you can and lower it back
    –        Do 40 reps

    12. Mountain climber slides
    –        Facing the floor, support yourself with your palms. Hand should be perpendicular to the ground.
    –        Hold your legs on your toes and a slippery matt beneath them
    –        Ensure your back is straight
    –        Pull your legs up and tuck your pelvis
    –        Squeeze your abs for maximum contraction
    –        Push your legs back to the starting position
    –        Do 15 reps

    13.  Jumping jacks
    –        Stand with your legs shoulder width apart
    –        Jump up and step out wards followed by a jump and step inwards
    –        As you step outward flip your hands up and clap right above your head and bring them back to your side as you make the jump to step inwards
    –        Do 40 reps

    We will now incorporate weight and some equipment to our routines to improve the intensity of the exercises.

    14. Vertical knee ups
    –        Align two stands by your side
    –        Support your forearms on these stands (vertical)
    –        Lift your knees towards your upper body directing them to the face
    –        Push your knees as high as you can
    –        Drop your legs to the starting position
    –        Do 15 reps

    15.Hanging knee raise
    –       On a firmly fixed vertical bar that is high enough
    –        Hold on to the bar, your arms more than shoulder width apart
    –        Your starting position is with your upper leg lifted parallel to the floor and bent at the knee to form a 90-degree angle
    –        Pull your legs towards your upper body (aim to lift the pelvis up)
    –        At the top, squeeze your upper and lower body (for maximum contraction of the muscles)
    –        Return to the starting position
    –        In the next lift, add a twist to the right side to target the obliques
    –        Do 15 reps

    16.Rope crunch
    –        With your rope plugged in at the top of the bar
    –        Kneel to the floor and hold on to the rope with both hands
    –        Lock your hands to the forehead
    –        Bring your head down in a curved movement
    –        Push your elbows backwards
    –        And pull towards your belly button (be sure to squeeze)
    –        Relax your muscles as your return to the starting position
    –        Exhale all the air out on every pull and inhale while releasing
    –        Do 15 reps

    17.Side crunch
    –        As opposed to the rope crunch, the side crunch targets your external and internal obliques.
    –        Kneel on the floor, the bar with the stretch line cable to your right side
    –        Stretch out your arms to hold on to the stretch line handle
    –        Your arms will be to the right-hand side direction locked to the side of your head
    –        Pull the stretch line downwards, squeezing into the lower abdomen and forming a curvature
    –        Exhale all the air out on every pull and inhale while releasing
    –        Do 15 reps

    18. Abs wheel crunch
    –        If you do not have an abs wheel, you can improvise with a barbell and some plates
    –        Kneel to the ground with your barbell in front of you
    –        Hold on to the bar with both hands
    –        Roll out the bar as far as possible bringing your hips down to the ground
    –        Pull back up
    –        At the end of the pull, do a crunch and exhale to maximise on the contraction
    –        Do 15 reps

    19. Bench pull ups
    –        Tilt your bench in a way that your upper body will be raised
    –        The more inclined it is, the greater the core strength you will build
    –        Lie on the bench
    –        Hold to the back of the bench on each side of your head
    –        Incline your legs off the bench
    –        Lift your buttocks off the bench
    –        Thrust your hips towards the ceiling
    –        Squeeze the core as you exhale
    –        Slowly lower yourself back
    –        Go as low as you can without touching the bench
    –        Do 10 reps

    20.Declined bench crunches 
    –        Seat with your buttocks at the end of a declined bench and your feet on the bench
    –        You can add resistant weight on the legs
    –        Slightly bend your legs at the knees to avoid putting pressure on your back
    –        Lower your upper body to the position where it is parallel to the ground
    –        Exhale as you lift yourself back up to the starting position and crunch before going back down
    –        Do 10 reps

    Mistakes that you should avoid

To achieve great results fast, there are things that you should avoid doing while exercising:

 

  • You will arguably hear many discussions on whether crunches work to give you that six-pack abs or not. Some will say you should avoid doing the crunches all the same. But understanding where you go wrong when pulling out the move is the difference between the crunch being effective or not. When doing a sit up plank, always ensure your head bends forward towards the knees and not upwards towards the roof. Also do not stretch on your head with your hands. Relax the hands and focus your strength on the abdominal muscles. When you tilt towards the knees, to form a curvature, the top most part of the rectus abdominis is brought closer to the lower part. The shortening of this distance gives a greater contraction to the muscle, tightening the core and thus achieving great results.
  • When doing the hanging knee raise, do not assume a standing position as your starting point. Lifting your legs from a standing position uses more of your hip flexes muscles other than the abdominal muscles. This movement makes the hip flexes tight and pressure applied between the hip flexes and the lower part of your spine will give you back aches.
  • When doing the reverse crunches, maximise on bringing your legs towards your head as opposed to towards the roof.
  • When doing the rope crunches, do not bend the whole of your upper body (i.e. from your shoulders to the pelvis). As you do this, you will notice that there is absolutely no movement on the rectus abdominis muscle. Always ensure there is contraction between the stratum to the belly button.
  • When doing the abs wheel crunch, do not hold your hips in a stiff position. Some people will hold the bar out with their thighs perpendicular to the ground and only engage the upper body in movement. Well, this is wrong as you are not engaging the core which is our target. Ensure you move your hip, such that your whole body is parallel to the floor.
  • Avoid rushing through your reps. Many reps won’t give you those six-pack abs, but the quality of the reps you do will. Go through each rep focusing on the muscle you are working on and aim to do the next rep better than the earlier. Have adequate rest in between sets. Do not settle for less but for the best.

 

The benefits of using a treadmill for exercise

Most people already know that exercising on a regular basis is the best thing they can do for their bodies. However, it’s one thing to know what you should do and another to actually do it. A lot of people come up with various excuses to avoid working out, especially outdoors.

It could be the foul weather, uneven road surfaces, lack of enough space for running, traffic pollution, unwanted attention, or dangerous neighbourhoods. That’s where treadmills come in. A treadmill is an ideal exercise option for everyone. This equipment comes with a range of features that beginners, intermediates, as well as advanced exercisers can use to achieve their fitness goals. Understanding the benefits of using treadmills for exercise will not only help you stay in shape but also make your workout sessions enjoyable.

The Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Using Treadmills for Exercise

I. Lose Weight Fast

Running on a treadmill for just 20 minutes at 6mph can easily burn away 229 calories on average. And, you can burn even more by using the machine’s incline feature or following HIIT principles. Combining your 30 minutes daily workout sessions with a healthy diet will get you your ideal weight in no time.

II. Improve Mental Health

Being physically active also helps with mental wellness. Exercising causes the brain to release increased amounts of endorphins, which are chemical compounds in the brain responsible for making one happy. This goes without saying that using treadmills for exercise directly contributes to reduced amounts of stress, anxiety, and depression. It also boosts energy levels and helps you sleep better, improving your general mental health.

III. Improve Heart Health

Heart diseases are currently among the leading causes of death. Exercising regularly on a treadmill gives a great cardiovascular workout, which helps improve heart health. It strengthens your heart, improves blood circulation throughout the entire body, and helps reduce bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol.

IV. Low Impact

Every time you run on hard surfaces, your legs take a lot of impacts. Eventually, this can lead to knee, back, and ankle problems, which can become severe as you age. Treadmills have relatively soft surfaces, even running platforms, plus, modern models come with shock absorption as well. This reduces impact, lowering joint pain and other aches.

V. Muscle Building and Toning

Generally, exercising on a treadmill works your lower body, including the leg muscles, gluteal muscles, calves, hips, and thighs. Treadmills come with built-in handles that allow you to add your upper body to your workout, helping you build and tone arm muscles as well.

VI. Improve Stamina and Endurance

Exercising on a treadmill regularly will help build your ability to engage in physical activity over time. Shorter, high-speed workouts will build your capacity to do high-intensity exercise, whereas moderate-intensity walking helps build stamina and endurance.

VII. Build Bone Density

Regular running on a treadmill builds bone density, which refers to the number of minerals found in the bones that contribute to their durability and strength. A higher bone density helps you combat diseases like osteoporosis.

How Does Using a Treadmill Compare to Other Forms of Exercise

There are several forms of exercises that can help you stay in shape. Outdoor activities are often considered more effective; however, you always have to prepare for the unexpected variables that may hinder your workout. This makes indoor exercises much more reliable. Even though there’s a wide variety of exercise machines for indoor exercising, treadmills are more dynamic and offer interesting workouts. Here’s how treadmills compare to other forms of exercise:

I. They are Fun

Most people cite lack of time and the fact that exercising is not enjoyable as a reason why they lack physical activity in their life. Using a treadmill makes workouts more enjoyable. It allows you to do other things while working out. For instance, you can walk and at the same time read or watch TV. You can also listen to music during workouts, keeping them more interesting.

II. You Are in Control of Your Workouts

Treadmills come with several features that keep you completely in control of your workout conditions with more accuracy. You are in control of your speed and incline levels, distance, time, warm up, and cool down. Depending on your fitness level, you are able to customize the workout to your liking and abilities.

III. Easily Track Your Progress

Treadmills come with digital monitors that show you important info like heart rate and calories burned. This helps you track your progress over time, which is important, especially if you are working towards a specific fitness goal.

IV. Offer a Variety of Workout Programs

Most modern treadmills come with a variety of pre-programmed workouts. These workouts can challenge your speed and incline, making the entire session more challenging and less boring.

What are the Advantages of Being Able to Exercise Using a Treadmill at Home?

I. Easy to Use

When it comes to exercise equipment, treadmills are among the easiest to use. They require virtually no effort to set up. Most of them will simply require you to press a few control panel buttons, choose the settings you want, and you are good to go. If you don’t understand the treadmill, don’t worry, it comes with instruction manuals that will make work easier for you.

II. Safety and Security

Running alone, especially during dark hours is less than ideal. Treadmills offer the same results you would get running outdoors but in a much secure environment, probably in the comfort of your home. They also come with some degree of shock absorption that reduces the impact of running. This reduces injuries while working out.

III. Privacy

Some people don’t like the unwanted attention that comes with exercising outdoors. If you are a self-conscious person, you can still workout regularly using a treadmill at home.

IV. Consistency

Treadmills are an effective and convenient way to ensure you are staying active. They allow you to exercise in the comfort of your home whenever you want, which helps you to stay consistent. Plus, you have no excuse for not working out when outdoor elements are unfavourable. Consistency is mostly important for individuals with a specific fitness goal to achieve.

V. Allows You to Multitask

Treadmills can make workouts feel less of an exercise as it allows you to do other things simultaneously. You can get your workout while watching TV, listening to music, reading, and taking coffee. This keeps exercising more interesting, which is important to achieve long-term physical activity.

Scientific/medical Research about Using Treadmills for Exercise

Walking and running are the most studied forms of locomotion. The treadmill has always been a useful scientific tool in these studies since it offers a variety of speed/slope combinations, which isn’t easy to find in nature. Some of the scientific/medical research about using treadmills for exercise includes:

  • The University Of Maryland School Of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Centre Parkinson’s exercise trial: The research studied participants walking on treadmills. The study found that low-intensity treadmill workout is ideal for improving mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease compared to high-intensity workouts.
  • Scientists at Johns Hopkins: Research by these scientists show that treadmill exercise can retrain the body and brain of stroke victims.

How Regularly Can a Treadmill Be Used?

A treadmill is an effective tool for getting the recommended dose of cardiovascular workout. NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on a weekly basis. This can be achieved by using a treadmill for 30 minutes daily, 5 days per week. You can also choose to do 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. But, if you want to speed up weight loss or create a vigorously healthy body, then you should increase your exercise time to over 300 minutes per week. Depending on your fitness level, the number of times you use a treadmill can go up, so long as you reach the recommended exercise times.

When deciding how regularly to use treadmills, pay attention to any signals your body is giving you. If you notice signs of dizziness, nausea, feeling light-headed, or pain of any kind, it’s better to reduce your intensity or stop working out altogether until the symptoms subside. If they become a regular problem, consult with your doctor.

How are Treadmills Used by Individuals of Different Health and Fitness Levels?

Treadmills are versatile, and as such, can be used by everyone and for everything from HIIT to easy walks and low impact workouts. Beginners should focus on sessions with slow, continuous rhythm. Whereas, sports enthusiasts tend to use interval running training program, which is more or less an intensive workout method. Treadmills also come with a variety of features to help individuals of different health and fitness levels. For instance:

  • Cushioning: People who suffer from joint pain or have had an injury before should use treadmills with higher amounts of cushioning.
  • Incline: Incline settings are ideal for more advanced runners. This feature allows your treadmill to mimic an uphill, downhill running experience. Plus it can be adjusted to fit different fitness levels.
  • In-built workout programs: Treadmills come with a wide variety of pre-programmed workout programs that are suitable for different individuals with different health and fitness levels. Plus, these programs pose a real balance challenge for beginners.
  • Control panel: Most modern treadmills come with elaborate training modes that allow you to preset specific incline and speed over certain time frames. More advanced options are even programmed with Google maps to allow you to set a route while the control panel automatically adjusts inclines. Control panels are good as they help different individuals track their fitness levels in different modes.

Can treadmills also be used to Prepare for Other Forms of Exercise?

Yes they can. Using treadmills for exercise is a great way to introduce variability into your workouts. Using the incline setting and the control panel can allow you to easily prepare for competitive events like ultra-long marathons. As we’ve seen earlier, treadmills help you lose weight, build upper and lower body muscles, improve stamina, and so much more. All these benefits allow you to engage in other forms of exercise with ease.

The Importance of the Warm-Up

So, your new piece of fitness equipment has arrived. It looked fantastic in the box, just as you had hoped. You’ve added the finishing touches and ensured that it’s stable. You’ve positioned it just where you wanted it, read the manual and you’re ready to go!

But, what one minute! Before leaping on to your brand new treadmill, there’s a critical step that you simply can’t ignore: you need to warm-up.

The warm-up is an important and yet often under-estimated element of any exercise event. It not only helps to protect you from injury but can also increase the effectiveness of your session. Let’s take a closer look at why a great warm-up really matters:

What does warming-up mean?

We’ll all probably familiar with the phrase warming-up, but what is a warm-up exactly? Put very simply, it’s a pre-session, to be undertaken prior to your main activity. During the warm-up, you’ll carry out some stretching exercises and some very light cardiovascular activity.

Precisely what should I do?

There are a number of exercises that are well suited to your warm-up routine. Fundamentally, you have two main aims:

  • You are gearing up your muscles, getting them ready for the exercise routine that is to follow. By stretching your muscles, you warm them up, preparing them for the main exercises that will follow
  • Cardiovascular exercises, on the other hand, will start to bring the heart rate up. They increase circulation and your core body temperature

Why do I need to do all of this?

Many exercise sessions will involve rapid movements. By building up slowly, you’ll help to get your body in the best condition to avoid injuries.

Is this really necessary?

You may think that walking is itself a form of warming-up. If you play team sports, for example, then walking may be a part of your preparations. So why would you bother warming-up before stepping on to a treadmill? That’s certainly true, but there’s value in a short warm-up here too.

Many treadmill users are looking to gain fitness and may be starting from a relatively low level. This can leave them more susceptible to injuries. Prior to an intense sporting activity, a 30-minute warm-up may be appropriate. When preparing for a treadmill session, a lighter warm-up is likely to be right for you. But just as warming-up helps avoid injuries during intensive sessions, so it can help here too.

What if you feel pain?

If you feel pain during your normal exercise routine, or as part of the warm-up, then this may indicate a wider problem. A great exercise session is designed to improve your overall levels of fitness, but it certainly shouldn’t ever put your body at risk. If you are suffering pain, then it’s always best to consult a medical professional.