Ab Crunch – A Flat Stomach Exercise Made Easy

We all want a great physical body and some of us would like to have the solid, visual, rock hard, six pack, tummy that we see in the fitness magazines. Surprisingly it is possible if you are willing to commit to your sincere desires. Having a flat stomach also assures you that more of your body is in the right proportion as well.

Ab Crunch is the method for a very simple reason, it works and it works the muscles that give you the look. Muscles regardless of where they are on the human body, require exercise to maintain there very purpose. Unfortunately the brain is the controller and the eyes are the beholder, which usually fixates on the foods of pleasure. Thus, the eyes and the brain are dominating your overall appearance.

A Flat Stomach is a measure of brain and eye control, so that the desire to attain an appealing exterior looking body is realized. We only have one tummy and what we feed it is ultimately what we look like. A beer belly is an obvious sign of what we feed our stomach. If you think about it, your job is also an affect on what your body shows. We tend to be affected to often with what we do and what we eat, so if changing those affects requires a total makeover of your thinking.

Rock hard six pack abs actually express a lot about what type of mental position we exhibit to others. If you peel off your shirt and you get second looks or lingering looks you are suddenly in control of what others find attractive. This alone is an inspirational reason to attain a flat stomach.

Flat Stomach Exercises should start with a mental clarity, that you have a goal in mind that cannot and will not settle for less than optimum results. That is where those that succeed get their start. First, visualize what you want and then pursue it without fail.

Fat Burning Foods can actually assist your efforts for that flat stomach. Eating the right foods is knowing what foods you should eat. Having the knowledge of what different foods can do to help you is a great way to get started.

Overweight Teens can be helped by you setting a new example of how they can join in to do some healthy changes and this will give you and them support, which is another great tool in succeeding at improving your health and figure.

Post Pregnancy Fat is just that, fat, that was needed to produce a healthy baby, but now it’s time to regain your womanly figure and feel great about yourself, along with that precious bundle you recently delivered. Starting a daily routine of proper eating and a steady exercise routine is a can do and succeed attitude to get you back where you want to be.

Figures of the Stars, those eye googling bodies of the Hollywood elite can be intimidating, but the facts are, they are no different than you are. They may have more money, but they still have no more time than you to tone and condition their bodies. Learning their secrets is not hard to find out. Having a mentor, whether they are close or just a role model to look up to is another great inspiration to get you those second looks with those beautiful ab crunch flat stomach rock hard six pack abs.

Crunch Variations – The Best Ab Exercises?

There are many ab exercises that can give you the firm abs you want. People who want to have firm abs usually start with the crunches because some experts believe that they are the best ab exercises. Crunches are exercises that target the abdominal muscles but they do present some risks; they can cause back injuries. Firm abs can be achieved by doing crunches, but they’re not the only exercises that will do this for you.

While it is true that crunches can do wonders on the major abdominal muscles, traditional crunches are not really complete ab workouts and can actually pose a risk to your health. Instead of traditional crunches, you will do better with exercise ball crunches. This type of ab exercise does not pose a health risk and it even is a more complete ab exercise.

Exercise Ball Crunches

To do exercise ball crunches, lie back on your exercise ball with your arms positioned across your chest. Use the exercise ball as the fulcrum as you slowly lean forward to a sitting position. Make sure that as you pull yourself, your ab muscles are the ones doing the work. Keep the exercise ball in place with your other muscles. Just as slowly, go back to a lying position.

The placement of your arms is important when you’re doing any crunch variation. In the past, you may have been instructed to place your hand behind your neck. Know that this position actually forces you to pull on your spine, increasing the risk of injury.

If you’ve taken a more recent class on crunches, then you know that a much better way is to put your arms across your chest. However, it is widely recognized today that you can maximize the benefits you can derive from crunches if you extend your arms straight above your head as you do the crunches. In fact, you hardly need to do a full crunch with this position; simply lifting your shoulders off the floor is enough to give your ab muscles a good workout.

Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is a crunch variation that’s becoming very popular. Compared to the traditional crunch, the reverse crunch is thought to be much safer since you don’t need to rock your body or strain your spine. To do the reverse crunch, lie down with your back flat on the floor. Bent your legs slightly. Lift them off the floor, holding your tummy muscles tight. Ideally, you will want your legs to be as straight as they can be — which will be easier as you become more advanced.

Full Vertical Crunch

Another great ab exercise is the full vertical crunch and many can attest that it is one of the best ab exercises because it gives a complete ab workout. To do the full vertical crunch, lie down on your back and point your legs straight to the ceiling. Next, lift your shoulders off the floor. As you do this, make sure your legs remain pointing straight up.

If you’re aiming for fully developed abs, try doing active crunches. For instance, you can lie down on the floor and simulate cycling motions. This is very good for firming your abs and also helps give your waist a trim look. Simply begin pedaling your legs in the air. Do this ab workout in 3 sets, 12-15 reps per set. It won’t be long before you see great results.

Six-Pack Abs Without Crunches and Sit-Ups

Some legends die hard. Just when I think that everyone and his cousin has gotten the memo that you can’t get rid of your gut by doing sit-ups, I see someone at the gym doing endless sit-ups, crunches and leg throws (where a partner throws the legs to the floor and the person raises them back up, usually with the person arching his back dangerously). Sometimes I venture to ask them what their goal is. The common response: “Get rid of my gut so you can see my abs.” Sadly, their chosen method is not only ineffective, in many cases it’s actually unsafe as well. Bottom line: sit-ups will not get rid of your gut, will not give you ripped abs and may well get you hurt.

Why Won’t Crunches and Sit-ups Work?

There are a couple of things you need in order to have decent six-pack abs: low body fat and well-developed abs (specifically, the rectus abdominis). If you don’t have low body fat (under about 10% for men and under about 14% for women), you simply won’t have a six pack. The problem is, you drop body fat by working the BIG muscles in your body: glutes, quads, back. If your heart rate isn’t climbing, the exercise you’re doing is having a minimal impact on body fat.

A lot of different types of exercise will help get you leaner, but modern research shows that high-intensity, full-body interval training has the biggest effect for the amount of time spent working. Let’s take those terms in turn:

  • high-intensity – this means cranking up the dial. There is a myth of the so-called “fat burning zone” where the heart rate is kept at a moderate level for a very long time, burning fat as you exercise. Unfortunately, this type of exercise is fairly low intensity and has little “afterburn” effect or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). The afterburn really kicks in when you work hard during your workout and that keeps your furnace running hotter for hours after the workout. Obviously, if you have any concerns about your cardiovascular health or you are new to exercise, you should ask your doctor for a stress test before engaging in high-intensity exercise, but once cleared by your medical professional, it is the most effective way to burn calories.
  • full-body – this means working your big muscles (and working them hard – see #1). So this means lifting weights, not just running (I got really into running a few years ago and watched my arms and legs wither and my belly grow, even though I was running up to 25 miles on a Saturday). It also means big-muscle exercises, preferably ones that get you to move your torso. So rather than curls and bench press, you need to do deadlifts, squats, lunges, pull-ups, push-ups, rows. You need not do squats with a lot of weight – one-legged squats with 50 pounds in your hand will challenge even serious athletes and yet they are very safe.
  • interval training. This is kind of a corollary to #1 as well. Interval training, that is alternating between hard and easy, is really effective for ramping up your metabolism. It also goes better with more forms of exercise than “steady state” training. In other words, I can do interval training lifting weights as well as running, but a steady state workout with weights is pretty hard.

But Can’t I Still do Sit-ups and Crunches?

Sit-ups are fairly evil. In modern society, most of spend a lot of time sitting. As such, a muscle called the psoas tends to shorten. This muscle starts on the front of our legs and wraps around to the small of our back. It helps us raise our legs to step up onto things. That’s good. What’s not good is that as it shortens, it torques our low back and a shortened psoas and stretched and weakened antagonistic muscles get out of balance and – OUCH! – back pain. Most of us need to stretch our psoas and strengthen the muscles that oppose it. Unfortunately, sit-ups strengthen the psoas and, to make matters worse, as we get tired doing sit-ups, we tend to arch our backs and this puts the low back under even more stress. All of this does not add up to a healthy back (I was plagued by back problems in my early 20s. Trust me, it’s not fun and when I switched to smarter core exercises, my back problems went away).

But crunches are fine, right? I mean, we were all told in the 1980s to quit doing sit-ups and start doing crunches as the healthier alternative, right? Well, yes, we were, but research has progressed since then. Dr Stuart McGill, perhaps the leading back expert in the world, has done lab experiments with pig spines and had decades of clinical experience and he has found that flexing the spine under load is a recipe for spinal damage over the long run. And that’s what crunches do.

Of course, we flex our spines all the time in sports, but in training we want to keep our risks as low as possible. Consider this: every decent skier falls, often hard and at high speed, when pushing himself. But that does mean he practices for skiing by running into walls. We want to train safe to prepare our bodies for danger.

So If I’m Not Going To Do Crunches, How Do I Get Decent Abs?

There are some interesting studies that divided soldiers into two groups. One trained for their sit-up test by doing sit-ups (logical). The other group did static core strengthening exercises instead. When it came time to take the test, there was no performance difference between the two groups. So you don’t need to do sit-ups to get strong for sit-ups. Personally, I never had decent abs when doing sit-ups, but when I started doing full-body, high-intensity workouts that combined Turkish Getups and static core training, my abs suddenly popped. Within a month, my wife took notice that something was different!

So what exercises work? In addition to the basic full-body routines, for core training, try these:

  • Front planks: lying face down, raise up on your toes and your elbows, keeping your body as straight as a… plank! For a great challenge, put your feet up on a bench or a stability ball.
  • Side planks: as above, but start lying on your side and raise up on one elbow and the side of your foot. In this case, you are facing the wall, not the floor, but from head to foot you are as straight as a plank.
  • Palov presses: Set the cable machine so the pulley is about the height of the middle of your torso. Grab the handle and hold it close to your chest. Step away from the machine so the weight comes into the air, then extend your arms straight out in front of you (increasing the lever arm) and avoid twisting. Hold for 10 seconds and change sides. If 10 seconds is easy, add weight.
  • Turkish getup: Probably best to get on YouTube and find a video of this one. But in brief, lie on the floor, hold a dumbbell or kettlebell straight up and simply stand up without dropping the weight. This is an amazing ab and shoulder exercise
  • TVA leg lowers: these are great for back health. Lie on your back. Bring your knees to your chest (or as close as you can). Now press the small of your back into the floor and, without letting up on the pressure between the floor and the small of your back, lower your feet. If you are really, really strong, you can do this with your legs straight, but most people who try this find they can’t maintain the pressure, which changes this from a great exercise for back health to one of the worst ones, just like the awful leg throw that we started with.

These exercises will give you a safe workout for your core, will improve back health rather than jeopardize it, and when combined with smart eating and high-intensity workouts, will get you on the path to six pack abs and better health.

The Rise of the Credit Crunch

I get a lot of questions as to why it is so hard to get a loan. So, here is the brief background on the situation from a global perspective.

The term “credit crunch” might have been a foreign concept a year ago, but that is no longer the case with today’s financial market crisis. A credit crunch is also known as a credit squeeze, finance crunch, or credit crisis. In a credit crunch, the general availability of loans is reduced and the conditions to acquire a loan from the banks are tightened.

The credit crunch stemmed from U.S. mortgage companies giving loans to individuals with poor credit records. The lending conditions were very lax, and just about anyone could qualify for a loan. People took advantage of this, borrowed cheap money and bought properties.

This created a huge debt bubble and these debts were sold to financial institutions around the world. In turn, these financial institutions sold these debts to different pension and hedge funds. These institutions eventually suffered great losses. The credit crunch is now on a global scale.

Today, banks are now reluctant to lend money to individuals or to each other. Furthermore, investors are becoming suspicious of the stability of the financial sector. This means a decrease in mortgage-related investments.

The crisis affects the consumers the most. Banks and other financial institutions are reluctant to lend simply because they are not sure of the health of the financial sector. Mortgage companies even find it difficult to lend to borrowers with good credit histories. They become nervous with the simple act of lending. They become choosy. For those who are fortunate enough to qualify in their rigid conditions, they charge higher rates of interest to cover their risk.

The credit crunch brought about many home foreclosures. With a large number of homes in the market, prices are dropping. Because of the soaring borrowing rates, good value mortgages are hard to come by.

The struggle in the mortgage market caused confidence to fall. As a result, stock markets have dropped dramatically.

There is no doubt that the credit crunch has caused the decline in the housing market and, ultimately, the global economy. The crisis, however, is far from over.