We all know that one of the qualities of a ‘good looking’ man, according to the trends in recent years, is a lean physique and of course, a rippled belly.
A lot of guys have hit the gym to meet up to this tough standard so as to impress the ladies, while others only dream about having toned abs, mainly because of the rigorous routine required to achieve it.
Below are 10 easy ways to make that 6 pack dream come true:
1. Scrub up:
As well as a dazzling Tom Cruise smile, brushing your teeth the right way will give you an A-list midriff. “Standing on one leg when you’re brushing works deep core muscles,” says Dr Tim Hutchful, of the British Chiropractic Association. “It’s a perfect short workout, creating a degree of instability that works smaller muscles essential for core strength.” Just don’t try the same thing at the urinals.
2. Get in-tense abs:
Intensify your workout to pound the paunch. A study by Laval University, Canada showed men who endured 15 weeks of interval training lost nine times more subcutaneous fat than men who did 20 weeks of steady-state endurance training. Insert a high-intensity interval session into your routine 3 times a week. Do 1 min at a rate of 9/10; 3 mins at 4/10 and repeat for 20 mins. That’s only 5 mins at full speed.
3. Get deep:
Work your deep core by locating the transverse abdominus (TVA) muscle responsible for a washboard stomach. “Take a deep breath and hold it before the lifting phase of any exercise to fire-up your TVA,” says Kate Eddy, strength and conditioning coach at Bath University. “Then forcefully exhale on the return phase.” For a six-pack, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
4. C the light:
People who consume 500mg of vitamin C daily burn 39% more fat during exercise than those who have less than 100mg, according to a study from Arizona State University. “Low levels of vitamin C may impede your body’s ability to use fat as energy,” says study author Professor Carol Johnston. Kiwi fruit and peppers pack twice the C per gram of oranges. Half-time kiwi, anyone?
5. Pile it on:
Your abs are some of your strongest muscles – they can take more than just your body weight. “Hold a 10kg disc or dumb-bell above your head when doing variations on crunches, or attach leg weights to your ankles during leg raises,” says Phil Learney, strength trainer at The Third Space. “You need to load your core for the muscle fibres to grow for real definition.”
6. Prepare to be punched:
Scare your six-pack into being by imagining heavyweight champ David Haye is about to slog you with a body blow. Researchers at Utah State University found that you increase your deep-core activity during squats by 167% if you tense as though you’re about to take a hit. That’s almost worth two rounds with the Hayemaker… almost.
7. Lie down:
University of Chicago scientists found that three consecutive nights of poor sleep causes your muscle cells to become resistant to insulin, leading to increased fat storage in your belly. Guarantee quality shut-eye by snacking on high-fibre cereal such as a bowl of Shredded Wheat just before you go to bed, says Anita Bean, author of. “It lets the sleep-inducing tryptophan through to your brain so your cells start processing insulin efficiently again.” You’ll sleep like a baby, albeit one with a remarkably toned midriff.
8. Eat a burger:
Packed with zinc, protein and magnesium, a burger needn’t be a sin. Cornell University found athletes who upped their weekly intake to 550g – five average burgers – increased fat burn by 20% over those who ate under 300g of lean red meat. Get thee to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen.
Leave any core-specific workouts until the end of your session. “Working your abs first will fatigue them so you won’t get the same benefits from moves such as squats and deadlifts,” says Carl Ellis, personal trainer at Fitness First. Good abs come to those who wait.
10. Get cable:
Put your core’s hidden muscles centre stage on the cable machine. “It gives you the variety to hit every one of your abdominal muscles,” says PT Nick Grantham. Try 10-12 reps of the cable push-pull. Face the stack in a fighting stance with your left foot forward and left arm extended in front of you. Your rear hand should be at chest height. Pull from the front and push from the rear, as though you’re punching through.
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