How to Increase the Tone of Your Abs

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Everyone knows that you can't out-exercise a bad diet. But what is one supposed to do if their diet is nutritious and healthy, exercise is a normal routine, yet no results are seen? Personal trainers agree that it is very difficult to obtain an ideal stomach and most people struggle to get their dream abs. Here are a few things that may be going on, along with some tips to correct the problems.

You only do crunches.

Crunches only target the surface muscles of the abs, leaving the internal and external obliques at rest. It is better to incorporate some planks and wood chops into a regular ab strengthening routine. The larger movements of these exercises use more muscles in your abdomen.

An even deeper muscle that affects the appearance of the abs is the transverse abdominus. This very deep muscle helps pull the abdomen inwards. In order to exercise this muscle, incorporate compound movements such as squat presses or dead lifts.

You fail to engage your back.

Your middle back is an important area to focus on when trying to get stellar abs. By strengthening the middle back muscles, you can improve your posture, which will help you to stand tall and show your confidence. By keeping your core engaged during the day, you will look and feel thinner. Try engaging your back muscles for spine-straightening and abs-tightening effects.

You are not building muscle.

If you move too quickly, lifting light weights, you are unlikely to build muscle. In order for muscle to be built for great abs, it is important to lift heavy weights. This decreases the number of reps to six to 12 or until exhaustion. Rest for about one minute between sets.

Learn the pelvic tilt.

When lower back aches during an ab workout, it means you are engaging your lower back muscles, rather than the front of your core. In order to engage your abs, tilt your hips forward so your back remains straight. Many trainers tell clients to imagine they are pushing their belly button into their spine to create a proper form.

You limit ab workouts to once per week.

Rather than focusing on one muscle group each day, exercise a more full-body functional regimen of training. This will engage more muscle that will boost caloric burn, and also mimic how the body naturally moves throughout the day.

You do not do HIIT.

While high intensity interval training is not something to necessarily look forward to, it is great for burning fat. Mixing short spurts of highly intense cardio exercise with short periods of slower recovery is one efficient and effective way to get lean, burn calories, and boost your metabolism. This also ensures that your body burns calories throughout the entire day. There are several ways to do high intensity interval training. You can run sprints, do squat jumps, jump rope, or do box jumps. While this may be tough on your respiratory system, it is great for lean abs.