rywhere you look today there are:
1. Magazines claiming to tell you the best exercises or workouts for ‘six pack abs’.
2. Adverts for ab-sculpting equipment that will give you ‘great abs in just 5 minutes a day’.
3. Group Fitness classes with ‘ab sections’ full of endless crunches, sit-ups and planks.
4. People in gyms working on their ‘abs’ and always looking for the answer to the question:
‘What’s the best exercise for getting great abs / a flatter stomach?’
But what is the answer to this question? What is the secret to getting a flat, toned stomach or six-pack abs?
Well, in the past I have heard a number of answers to this question:
– I’ve read that celebrities claim that they do 500 sit-ups a day to keep their stomach toned;
– I’ve heard fitness professionals claim that working on the ‘core’ with planks and cable rotations (possibly while standing on a BOSU ball) is the key to having a flat stomach;
– I’ve heard martial artists and dancers say that they’re convinced that their activity is great for the abs because nearly every movement they do works the abdominals in different ways;
– I’ve also read that performing exercises that focus on strengthening the abdominals (e.g. hanging leg raises) for a small number of reps is much better for ‘sculpting’ the abs than performing endless reps of exercises that do not require as much strength (e.g. crunches).
But who’s right? If we want a flat, toned stomach should we be performing lots of crunches every day, dropping into a plank whenever we can, or performing a small number of ‘Pull Up Pikemans’ on gymnastic rings one or two times a week?
Well, a few years ago at a fitness convention I heard a speaker (I can’t remember who) say that the ultimate exercise for getting a flat stomach was something he called the ‘Push Away’ and in the time since then I have come to agree with him…
I firmly believe that if you want to get a flat, toned stomach, the Push Away is the best exercise you can do to help you reach your goal.
The Push Away Can be Performed in one of two ways:
1. When eating a meal, push the plate you are eating from away from you when you have eaten 80% of what is on it.
2. When a tempting ‘treat’ (like cake, chocolate, biscuits etc.) is offered to you, push the food away from you.
Perform this exercise at least once a day and watch that belly fat disappear!
Okay, okay, so I’m being a little facetious here – I’m not really advocating that you go around pushing food away from you every day. However, the point is that there really is no magic exercise that you can do to get a flat stomach and six-pack abs – you can perform crunches or hanging leg raises ’till the cows come home but if those great abs you’re building are covered by a layer of fat, you’re still not going to have a visible six-pack or a flat, toned tummy.
The painful truth is that the state of your mid-section is primarily down to your diet – if you want a flat stomach or great abs then the best exercise you can do is change the way you eat.
N.B: The Push-Away is NOT a genuine exercise. ‘Changing the way you eat’ is not as simple as eating less food – the QUALITY of the food you eat is as important as the QUANTITY you eat…..but that’s another story for another time.