All Entries For abs

The 'Lose Your Love Handles' Workout


Love handles, the spare tire, the middle age spread: Call it what you will, but nobody likes having excess flab around the waistline (not even when we name it cute things like "muffin" top). And while you can target the oblique muscles located on the sides of your waist by doing specific toning exercises, doing tons of abs moves alone isn’t enough to shrink your waistline. Your best love handle melting strategy involves the same principles for losing weight anywhere on the body: eating better foods (and less in general), and performing both fat-burning cardio along with muscle-toning strength training.
 
But like any exercise program, you should cater your exercises to your specific goals. And if whittling your waistline is one of your goals, you should be doing exercises to help you reach it.
 
I designed this workout circuit to help you target your waistline in a smart way: by keeping your heart rate elevated to burn more calories than you would simply lying on the floor and doing crunches. You’ll alternate a cardio move that also targets your core with a traditional oblique toner for maximum benefit.
Posted 6/12/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 106 comments   1,187,098 views
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Your Guide to Flat Abs


Many people want to have flat abs, but have trouble getting them. Attaining visible abdominal definition depends on a low body fat percentage that isn't realistic for many and your genetics plays a part of it as well, but that doesn't mean you can't work towards a goal of having a slimmer tummy. While you can't spot train or target where you lose fat, you can work on those muscles to help you achieve flatter abs and a strong core overall.

Posted 5/20/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 37 comments   81,264 views
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5 Moves That Are Missing from Your Core Workouts


In college I was a dancer, and Pilates was part of my daily training. Somehow I would ''get through'' the mat classes, just going through the motions, but miraculously, I was never sore. My roommate, on the other hand, would be doubled over the next morning, whining in agony as the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) would remind her of class several hours after it ended. It took me years to figure out that the reason I wasn't sore was that I didn't know how to recruit my innermost abdominals. I was skimming the surface without going very deep. Once I learned how to engage and target the internal abdominals, I was able to redefine my abs from the inside-out.

And that is exactly what I am going to show you how to do today!
Posted 4/29/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 45 comments   174,636 views
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Top 10 Abs Training Mistakes


Want toned abs and a flatter stomach? If all the DVDs, workout gizmos and "belly-fat-burning" pills, books, and diets out there are any indication, we're obsessed with slimming down our midsections, and for good reason. A flat stomach not only looks great; it's also a boon to your health—especially when compared to abdominal obesity, which is correlated with several health risks).

But are all these abs-training products really getting us any closer to the abs of our dreams? If not, it's probably no fault of your own. So much inaccurate information has been circulating for so many years, that there are few muscles more misunderstood than the abs. I've seen so many mistakes firsthand that I figured it was time to clear up the confusion.

When it comes to training your abs, there is a right way and wrong way to do it. Are you guilty of any of these top abs-training mistakes? Find out!
Posted 3/27/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 99 comments   327,647 views
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The Best Workout You Can Do for Your Core


We're all busy. But we can't let that get in the way of our desire to be fitter and healthier. That's why we need to know the best ways to maximize our efforts in the gym.
 
Recently someone asked me, "What is the best workout I can do for my core?"
 
It's a common question! And no reason it's so confusing. There are so many abs gizmos, belly-fat-burning pills, and ab-centric workouts available, that it's hard to make sense of it all.
 
So what works best? Here's my answer.
Posted 10/5/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 26 comments   66,315 views
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Double DVD Review: Core and Cardio with Amy Dixon


I try a lot of workout DVDs. But few really meet my standards for delivering a good workout with good cueing that's easy to follow and safe. But every workout DVD I've ever tried by Amy Dixon has been a winner.
 
I was SO excited to receive her newest titles ("Breathless Body Volume 2: The Edge" and "Give Me 10: Core Cuts"), but my busy schedule prevented me from trying them sooner—which is too bad. Because when I made the time, I adored these workouts just like I had previous her previous titles. What's more, I think YOU will love them, too. Here's a rundown on what to expect in each one.
Posted 8/3/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 15 comments   8,619 views
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Do You Know What the Average Woman's Body Really Looks Like?


I've blogged before about my struggles with a post-baby body. Even though that was in February and my son is now 6 months old, I continue to have body image issues. The tradeoff is worth it, but it's still hard for me to accept that my body will probably never again look like it did before I had 2 children.
Posted 6/23/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 245 comments   232,746 views
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2 Pilates Moves for a Flatter Belly


Are you still doing crunches? While there is nothing inherently wrong with that classic abdominal move (I still do them from time to time myself), we now know more than ever about core training. And with this knowledge, you can graduate to a higher level of exercise that will help you get better results from your efforts.
 
It's no secret that I love Pilates. I've been practicing and teaching it for several years now, and thanks to that consistency, I have better core strength and balance—and less back pain—than ever. One great thing about Pilates is that it helps you strengthen ALL of your core muscles. Whereas exercises like crunches only target the outermost abdominals (rectus abdominis), Pilates moves can engage and strengthen your internal and external obliques, erector spinae, and even your deepest abdominal muscle, the transversus abdominis.
 
This muscle is extremely important, but hard to target, and often neglected by exercisers. A weak transverse can contribute to back pain, poor balance and an overall weak core—even if you do hundreds of crunches a day. But when strengthened, this important muscle helps you with functional strength—and aesthetic appearance. A strong transversus acts like a corset, not only bracing your core and protecting against injury and back pain, but helping create a leaner, flatter appearance of the stomach. No amount of crunches can do that!
 
So which types of exercises best target your deep "corset" muscles? Research shows these two Pilates moves do it best.
Posted 6/13/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 19 comments   45,231 views
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An Interview with Fitness Legend Gilad


During my recent trip to the ECA/OBOW fitness convention in New York City, I had a little "fitness celebrity" sighting. I was introduced to Gilad. That name (Gilad Janklowicz in full) probably rings a bell with many people who remember working out along with Gilad during what is still one of the longest-running daily workout shows ever to air on TV. His popular "Bodies In Motion" workout show, filmed in Hawaii, aired in 1983 as the first-ever exercise program on ESPN. Today, the show is still going strong on the Discovery Channel, along with his newer program, ''Total Body Sculpt" (first aired in 2005). As if that's not enough, Gilad is the creator of more than 30 workout video titles, too. Simply put, Gilad is a true pioneer in fitness, group fitness, and workout videos who set the stage for trainers like me and still resonates with fans and viewers today.

At 56, this fit and healthy fitness guru is in amazing shape and doesn't look a day over 40! When I posted my photo with him to my Facebook wall, SparkPeople members flipped...to put it mildly! I could tell many of you were big fans, so I stayed in touch with Gilad to set up this exclusive interview and DVD giveaway just for dailySpark readers.

Here are YOUR (great!) questions answered—plus a chance to win one of three DVD sets from Gilad). Contest closed! The winners are: JANEXA, THINANDFITEMILY, BESEVEN. Congratulations!
Posted 5/18/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 48 comments   27,924 views
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14 Plank Exercises for a Stronger Core


The plank, according  to many experts, is by far one of best exercises we can do to help strengthen our core--the muscles that support our back and abdomen. And because there are many different variations in performing  this exercise, they also help strengthen our hips and pelvic floor, as well as our shoulders and arms.

A strong core has been known to help provide us with better stability, better posture, as well as making us better and more efficient walkers and runners. In addition, a strong core helps us to performe every day activities with a little more ease.The plank has also been shown to help relieve back pain, just make sure though, that you have received medical clearance from your physician if you have had a history of back pain or back issues.
Posted 11/1/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Nancy Howard : 18 comments   118,000 views
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Tummy Troubles: How I Learned to Embrace My 'Flaws'


Confession: My stomach is my least favorite part of my body. When I was in high school, I had a taut, toned belly that my angst-ridden adolescent self couldn't appreciate. But by the time I realized how rockin' my body really was, it was too late: Years had passed, and eating disorders had given way to lax college eating and weight gain.

Much of the weight settled on my stomach, and, as a woman with fair skin, every bump, ripple and dimple was more visible.

A total of 50 pounds fell away in three phases: the bulk of it during my year in Korea, another 10 pounds when I started working at SparkPeople, and the final 15 since I underwent some major life changes late last year. (If my math seems fuzzy, it's because I gained and lost 10 pounds a few times!)

Everyone loses weight at different rates and in different places. For me, the upper body is the first area to see results, especially my breasts (TMI, but ladies, you know what I mean!). My arms and legs see changes next, followed by my hips and rear end. But the belly--that one's the last to go. It's so hard for me to see results there.

Thanks to years of yoga, I have strong abs... but they're still buried under some softness. (I don't use the "F" word.) I have no trouble baring my arms in tank tops or wearing open-backed tops, and I even overcame my aversion to wearing shorts. But I don't wear bikinis, and I feel self-conscious baring my belly. I pause during yoga practice if my tummy hangs out, and I often tuck in my shirt to avoid anyone seeing it.

A couple of weeks ago, I turned 30, and I celebrated with a yoga retreat in Honduras. With temperatures topping 90 degrees most days, I wore as little as possible to stay cool.

On my birthday, we took a 3-hour hike. About an hour into the hike, my clothes were drenched with sweat. I shed my button-down shirt and wore only my sports bra and hiking pants. I was nervous at first.

Were the other people on the hike staring at my belly, with its soft whiteness? Were they wishing I would cover up? Did they think I didn't have the body to bare my belly?
Posted 6/20/2011  10:06:49 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 86 comments   20,376 views
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Jackie Warner's Secrets to Amazing Abs


By Kimberly Papa of That's Fit

Celebrity trainer Jackie Warner has the kind of abs most of us can only dream about, but the creator of the "Personal Training with Jackie: Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs" DVD and star of Bravo's "Thintervention" says anyone can get a seriously toned tummy with the right diet and her must-do moves -- which, by the way, do not include crunches.

Why do you say crunches alone are a waste of time?

Crunches are not going to change your body shape at all. Diet is the key. If you don't change your diet, then doing crunches will add only muscle to your shape and can actually make you appear larger. The best exercises for changing your body shape and strengthening the core is to do push-ups and weighted squats.

Read the full story at That's Fit!
Posted 3/16/2011  2:00:58 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 42 comments   23,905 views
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10 Core Stabilizing Exercises


For many of us working our core is one area of the body that is often neglected as it takes time to see the results of all our hard work. But working these muscles is just as important, if not more so, than working the other areas of your body. The reason, by building a strong core it helps create a strong foundation so that we may help prevent injury anywhere up and down the kinetic chain. In other words, having weak lats can cause a runner to lose form which in turn may lead to IT band issues, which may lead to knee issues.

Performing core stabilization exercises help us develop better posture, in addition to helping us develop better balance. For runners these exercises help recruit muscles used during running which may help one maintain proper form, especially when fatigue begins to set in during the latter part of a training run or race. Keeping the core strong and erect also allows for the chest to remain open which allows for better lung expansion. Just a few core stabilizing exercises a week is all it takes to help build and maintain the muscles needed to keep us strong.

Posted 1/5/2011  6:30:14 PM By: Nancy Howard : 25 comments   48,021 views
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Another Reason to Try Pilates: Sculpted Arms


I love Pilates. Having practiced the method for more than five years, I can't imagine my workout routine without it. My once-persistent back pain is virtually nonexistent these days, an improvement that I attribute to the core strength I've gained from my twice-weekly sessions.

While most people think of Pilates as a core workout—and it definitely is one—it offers so many more benefits, from increased flexibility to the mood-boosting effects of mind-body exercise. And thanks to a recent study, we can now we can add upper body strength to that list of perks.
Posted 6/4/2010  7:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 49 comments   18,436 views
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6 Good Reasons to Try Pilates


I never thought Pilates was for me. I saw the videos, infomercials and classes at the gym, often full of older women in leotards, lying on their backs, moving their legs around in the air. It sure didn't look hard. Where was the challenge, resistance, or weights? And it didn't look very fun either, just lying on the floor for so long. I decided that it wasn't for me and that was that…or so I thought.

After I had been teaching fitness classes for a few years, I started to get bored with my usual strength and cardio classes. I needed something new to keep my interest and enthusiasm. What started as a weekend Pilates workshop for inexpensive continuing education credits (necessary for every certified trainer or instructor) turned into a new passion for me. While I took the training course just for credits, I found out that I really liked this Pilates business, and the more I trained, the more benefits I experienced.

I believe that every person can benefit from Pilates—men, women, athletes, couch potatoes. People of all body shapes and weights. People of all levels of fitness and coordination. It truly does offer something for everyone.

In a new dailySpark series, I'll give you plenty of good reasons to try a variety of fitness endeavors that you may have never considered before. First up: 6 good reasons to try mat Pilates.
Posted 5/20/2009  11:15:18 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 191 comments   40,871 views
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