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SWEATING IT OUT Best bet to thoroughly work the abdomen
SWEATING IT OUT Best bet to thoroughly work the abdomen

Sit ups and leg raises are slowly becoming part of history

Every nine out of ten persons who enter a gym dream of flattening their stomachs to a perfect 10. But perhaps, only a handful of the aspirants truly succeed in their mission. "I do a thousand sit ups everyday and hardly eat anything. Will my belly come down?" These are the kind of questions a trainer hears on almost a daily basis.Be informed that these wrong practices actually offer stiff resistance to fat loss while severely affecting the health. A well-informed trainer will emphasise on the fact that there is nothing called "spot reduction." Working on the abdominal muscles only tightens and builds them up. This to some extent helps in lifting the sagging abdominal wall and thereby takes off a maximum of two inch from the waistline. But beyond that there is hardly any possibility of breaking up the fat cells stored around the stomach. An overall reduction in calories consumed, combined with exercises to increase expenditure rate are the keys to achieve maximum fat loss.Exercises such as Sit Ups and Leg Raises are slowly becoming part of history. Such movements during which a person hooks up his/her legs under a pad (or any other such immovable object for support to raise the body) do not work the stomach muscles to the fullest. The Illiopsoas (hip flexor) muscles that attach the thighs to the lower abdominal area get the lion's share. Exercises such as Crunches and Reverse Crunches in which the rib cage moves towards the pelvic girdle and vice versa are the best bets to thoroughly work the abdominal. Though such movements have a very short range of motion, the involvement of other muscles is restricted to a bare minimum.Combining the right kind of abdominal movements with other exercises that increase oxygen demand such as cycling, brisk walking, swimming and weight training will eventually reduce the biggest of beer bellies.Several world-class physical trainers and kinesiologists have now started to consider Sit Ups and Leg Raises as least effective exercises. C. LAKSHMI KUMAR

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