Making Your Way To Middle Management

Five rules for awesome abs

The surefire way to a firmer, flatter stomach is to dedicate yourself to a daily abdominal routine. Besides contributing to your overall physique, strong stomach muscles support the often over-stressed lower back and improve overall athletic performance. As you perform your daily crunches, keep in mind these five basic rules:

Defy gravity. "Letting yourself fall back down during the lowering phase of a crunch puts your abs through only half a workout," says Kravitz. Slow yourself down as you return to the floor. This is an essential part of the movement because your body actually builds muscle by sustaining microtears that are repaired to build muscle.

Go low. Raise up only as high as you need to. When your torso goes beyond 45°, you stop emphasizing the stomach and start to use your back and leg muscles to pull yourself up. It's important to keep constant tension in the muscles by coming up only until your shoulder blades clear the floor.

Squeeze up. Most people think the premise of the crunch is to curl the shoulders up and forward. "This causes people to tighten the muscles of your upper back and neck, placing unnecessary strain on these areas as you exercise," says Kravitz. The emphasis should be on contracting your stomach muscles and drawing your ribs to your hips, as if your midsection was an accordion. Your shoulders still lift off the floor but your aim is the ceiling, not your knees.

Suck it in. Pulling in your stomach not only gives you the appearance of a flatter stomach, it can actually help you get one faster. "Holding in your abdominal muscles as you go helps target the muscles to make the exercise more effective," says Kravitz.

Mix things up. Your abdominal muscles have the attention span of a four-year-old. "Always be on the lookout for creative ways to vary your routine and surprise your muscles," says Kravitz, "Challenging them from new angles and with different exercises will keep you in the best shape possible."

Don't forget to pound the water. What I suggest is adding the juice of half a lemon or 4 tablespoons of unsweetened cranberry juice to 32 ounces of water with a sprinkle of Steviva Brand Stevia Powder . Aside from being less than 2 carbs, you will get the health benefits that the stevia provides along with the vitamin C and electrolytes that lemon have. You can substitute limes for lemons if you get bored. Click here to order stevia powder.

This information and other information is intended for general reference purposes only and is not intended to address specific medical conditions. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.

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