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The BEST Types of Workouts for Burning Abdominal Fat

Did you know that you might already be the proud possessor of 6-pack abs? It's true; many of us have strong abdominal muscles, but they stay hidden beneath a layer of extra fat.

Unfortunately, that extra padding around the middle is dangerous. Abdominal fat has been linked to numerous diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

Do you want to get rid of the belly fat for good? Then start by trying these wonderful ab workouts. Each one was tested by researchers at San Diego State University, and each one is proven to whittle your middle:

Workout 1: Bicycle Crunches

To do a bicycle crunch, lie down flat on your back. Use an exercise mat if the floor is too uncomfortable.

Place your hand behind your head as if you were about to do a sit-up.

Raise your legs to a 45 degree angle, so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your feet are pointing forward.

Move your legs with the same motion you'd use if you were pedaling a bike. As your right knee comes toward you, lean in and touch it with your left elbow. Repeat with your left knee and right elbow.

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Repeat alternating crunches 20 times, and don't forget to breathe throughout.

Workout 2: Exercise Ball Crunches

This maneuver requires the use of a large exercise ball. Sit down on the ball, and roll it gently backward while you lean back. Your upper torso should be parallel to the floor, with the ball beneath your lower back.

From this position, simply contract your abs to lift your torso and lean forward to perform an abdominal crunch. Then lean back into your starting position once more. Repeat 12 to 15 times.

As these crunches become easier to perform, you can increase the difficulty by placing your feet closer together on the floor.

Workout 3: Extended Leg Crunches

This exercise is similar to a regular abdominal crunch, but with the legs extended upward instead of straight out in front.

Lie down on your back and place your hands behind your head. Lift your legs so that the soles of your feet are pointing toward the ceiling. Your knees should be slightly bent.

Now do a crunch, tightly contracting your abdominal muscles until they pull you toward your knees. Hold for 4 seconds, then relax. Repeat 15 times.

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Workout 4: Diver Crunches

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and soles of the feet touching the floor. Raise your arms above your head as if preparing to dive into a swimming pool.

Squeeze your abs to bring your torso upward. Keep your arms above your head and bring your shoulders and upper back off of the floor. Repeat 16 times.

Workout 5: The Hovering Plank

Start this exercise in plank position, resting your body weight on your toes and forearms. The exercise is simple: Hold your body rigid in this position for at least 10 seconds, working your way up to 45 to 60 seconds at a time.

As you grow stronger, add leg lifts to give your core an even better workout.

The Cardio Connection

Of course, no amount of ab crunches will produce a stunning 6-pack if you don't lose the extra padding. To burn fat in your midsection, you'll need to burn fat all over your body - and that means cardio and strength training.

Do 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity cardio exercise, 5 or 6 times a week. This exercise could consist of swimming, fast walking, dancing, or using an exercise machine at the gym.

During cardio exercise, your body works hard to burn fat. You can get it to burn fat even while resting if you add some strength-training sessions to your workout routine.

The more muscle you build, the more fat you'll burn - and the faster you'll lose that belly flab.

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How would you like a straight-talking guide to losing belly fat that won't have you doing endless crunches, situps or taking bogus pills? "The Truth about Six Pack Abs" has the answers:

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