Who said that to have a flat and toned stomach you have to undergo long, exhausting workouts? If you are constant and do the exercises well and at the right times, you can get excellent results even by dedicating a few minutes a day.
In order not to be mistaken, we asked an expert to explain how, how much and what to do, how Stefano Marini, personal trainer and Fitness Supervisor at Aspria Harbor Club Milano.
What can we do in ten minutes a day?
“Three times a week is already a great workout. With ten minutes, then, you can do a workout for the complete abdomen, choosing an exercise every day to activate different muscle groups from time to time: from the rectus abdominis (the central muscle that starts from under the breastbone and reaches the pubis) to the oblique muscles, up to the transversus. One or two exercises of 3 or 4 series with 15/20 repetitions interspersed with one-minute breaks, or 40/45 for the most trained ones are enough ».
How to start this mini abdominal workout?
«What matters is to choose a good exercise that you can perform well and that you feel is effective on your abdominal part. Many people, for example, experience some back stiffness or cannot lift their legs. So, the first rule is to feel which exercise makes me work my abdomen better ».
How often is it best to start?
“I do not recommend the full immersion zero to one hundred for beginners. This training has to be approached gradually, because the body has to adapt. For those starting from scratch I recommend doing the exercises twice a week, then gradually going up and three, until stabilizing after a month to four times a week. And there are already a lot of them, because fitness training does not only include abs: let’s not forget the rest! “
What aesthetic effects can be found?
«I would like to point out immediately that with this abdominal work the adipose layer does not disappear. You will see an improvement in posture, in tone and you will feel less back pain, but if I have inches of fat to lose, I must first focus on something else. The priority, in fact, for those who want to lose fat, is on the daily calorie deficit. In short, the famous turtle will be seen with these exercises, but only if we are already dry. If, on the other hand, the percentage of fat remains around 15-18%, I will have a flat or toned stomach, but I will not be able to get the abdominal squares ».
At what time of day is it best to do the exercises?
«By involving the abdomen and exerting endo-abdominal pressure, it is advisable to do the exercises two hours after the last meal or on an empty stomach. Furthermore, as soon as I wake up my muscles are colder, while in the evening when I am more flexible and with warm muscles it is better to train ».
Here are 4 exercises to do with ten minutes a day.
«Lying on your back with your legs slightly bent at 45 degrees, your hands resting behind your neck (not intertwined) and the soles of your feet resting on the ground. I have to lift my head and shoulders 5-10 cm so that the shoulder blades are off the ground. I return without touching the floor, but always leaving that half a centimeter off the ground to keep the part constantly in tension. You could start by doing 3 sets of 10, to get week after week, to 3 sets of 15, up to 3 sets of 20: this is the recommended progression. Between one series and the next I recommend a minute of rest for beginners, and 30 or 40 seconds for the more trained. Basically, I have to feel a cramp that tells me when the muscles are at the right training stimulus and therefore need recovery. Because if I don’t recover completely, I can’t do as many well ».
«In the facilitated version it can be done in the prone position with the arms extended on the hands below the height of the shoulders, the rest of the weight on the tips of the feet and the body completely stretched. The gaze is turned towards the line that joins the hands, with the position of the head neutral. Maintain the position for 20 seconds at the beginning, up to the minute as a progression of fatigue. Also in this case you have to evaluate your conditions. For example, a woman or an overweight man could feel all the fatigue on the arms and not on the abdomen: if you make too much effort just hold the position for less seconds. Or again, I can lean on my knees, so as to decrease the weight on my arms. This is a complex exercise because it trains the deep abdominal muscle which is called the transverse: a sort of natural corset that gives stability to the back ».
«Get in the same starting position as the crunch, with the right leg crossed over the left knee, the left hand behind the neck and the right arm resting diagonally on the ground. I will have to bring my left elbow in the direction of the bent right knee. The recommended repetition is 3 sets of 10 per side, with rest for one minute or 40 seconds ».
«The exercises for the abdomen can also be done standing, in order to facilitate the movement of bringing the knees to the chest. You have to stand with the right leg forward and left back with the heel raised, elbows at chest height with the fingers intertwined. Keeping the elbows still, raise the left knee, as if to give a knee to the chest, and come back always keeping the opposite foot on the toe. We do 15 or 20 per side, in this way we work on the lower part of the abdomen ».
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