Exercise your way to 6-pack abs
Getting six-pack abs needs dedication. It is also all about the right technique and focus. Over-enthusiasm can be counter-productive since doing more is not as good as doing it right. For instance, doing less slowly can have more effect than doing more reps fast.
Biki Bora, Muay Thai instructor and fitness trainer, shows you four more ab tricks from his repertoire in this series which will also, over the coming weeks, cover diet and cardio exercises that will get you that envious midriff.
Here are some points you want to keep in mind while toning up:
- Once you become confident of the right way to do an exercise, remember to do it slowly. This way you will work the muscle instead of tiring it out.
- Do not repeat the exercises if they become too easy. Innovate on those, with a trainer, so that they remain constantly challenging.
- Work with your breath. As in yoga, exhale during the difficult part and inhale during the easy part of the moves.
- Every time you exhale, scrunch your shoulders, draw your stomach in, emptying the lungs deeply. Look at your stomach. This creates a deeper work-out.
- Eating wise can relieve you of oedema (water retention), bloating and belly fat. (Food tips for a toned ab soon to follow). The right diet plays a very important role in toning that stomach.
- If you cannot innovate for any reason, shift the easiest exercise towards the tail-end of the practice. This makes it more challenging, creating a deeper work-out despite the familiarity of your body with the pose.
The series on 'How to get six-pack abs' has been co-ordinated and photographed by Shameem Akthar, yoga instructor.
For more on Biki Bora's health and kick-boxing tips visit http://bikiboxing.blogspot.com
Disclaimer: Kindly note that aiming for a six-pack presumes that you in good physical shape. Also, the regimen has to be tailored to individual needs for which you must work in tandem with your own trainer and dietician. This series only provides broad guidelines.
Image: Muay Thai instructor Biki Bora shows you how to get that six-pack
Photographs: Shameem Akthar
Leg lift (sideways)
Lie on your right side, right hand stretched at your shoulder as shown. Use your left hand for support. Fold your right leg slightly at the knee to maintain balance. Lift your left leg high. Ensure that while lifting, the side of your foot is perpendicular to the ground, as shown. This intensifies the stretch along the body. Do up to 10 times then epeat for your left leg.
Later, after a week or so, you can add another move to this, by lifting either leg diagonally up and dropping it down. This too can be done 10 times.
Benefits: Creates an intense stretch along the entire body, trimming fat along waist, hips and legs.
Image: The sideways leg lift
Double leg lifts
Lie on your back. Place your hands along your body. Lift both your legs up and drop them down. Do this up to 10 times. After a week or so of practice, include this fresh challenge: drop your legs slowly, so they are 70 degrees off the ground. Then move them down to 40 degrees. Then lift legs back, first to 40 degrees, then shift it back to 70 degrees. This is one round. Do five to ten rounds continuously, using your breath to power your movements. each breath must be slow and steady.
After a few weeks, intensify the challenge by lifting your head off the ground, as shown while executing the leg drops. This creates a greater crunch at the abdomen.
Benefits: Tones the entire abdomen. Builds stamina.
Image: Double leg lifts
Extended double leg lifts
Do as you did in the previous pose. After you raise your legs up to 40 degrees off the ground, hold your hands down, touching the ground lightly. Simultaneously lift your torso off the ground, creating a V-shape with the body. Hold the pose for a minimum count of 10.
You can intensify this exercise by lowering your head and legs to 20 degrees. The lower the legs and head as you create the V-shape with your body, the greater the challenge and muscular demand. But this takes a few weeks of dedicated practice, so try it gradually, as you grow in the pose. Also, practice this at the tail-end of your leg raises, to intensify your work-out.
Benefits: Same as the previous pose.
Image: Extended double leg lifts
Do as before, creating a V-shape with your body and legs. Bend your legs at the knees, bringing your knees close to your chest. Hands remain where they are, along your body. Then stretch your legs, drawing your feet away from the body. This is one round. Do up to 10 rounds.
Benefits: same as in the previous pose.
Image: Abdomen crunch