Refine Your Abs
A flat stomach is as much about having a low percentage of body fat as it is about having lots of muscle tone. These five moves help you achieve both.
A wobbly surface like a stability ball makes you recruit more muscle, so you get more from your crunches. With your back on the ball, keep feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Place your hands behind your head. Contract your abs, lifting your shoulder blades and upper back off the ball. DO: Two sets of 20 repetitions, two to three times a week.
Work all of your ab muscles by lying on your back (knees bent, feet flat on the floor) and having a partner throw a medicine ball to you in different directions straight at you, to your left, to your right. Catch the ball by moving only your torso and arms. Toss the ball back to your partner. DO: Two sets of 20 repetitions, two to three times a week.
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor. Draw your knees toward you, keeping them bent at 90 degrees (hips at 45 degrees). Raise your upper body toward your lower until you're balancing on your butt (your body is making a V shape). Return to starting position. DO: Two sets of 20 repetitions, two to three times a week.
Blast calories with bursts of high intensity.
Long: Push yourself to the highest effort level you can sustain for three minutes. Then, drop down to an effort level of 3 (out of 10) for three minutes. Repeat five times.
Short: Push yourself to an effort level of 9 for 30 seconds, then back off to 3 for one minute. Do this five to eight times. DO: One long- and one short-interval workout each week.
LONG, SLOW DISTANCE
This teaches your body to become good at burning fat for fuel. Run or bike at an intensity of 6.5 to 7 on a scale of 1 (easy) to 10 (almost impossible) for at least one hour, increasing the amount of time by 10 minutes each week. DO: One distance workout per week.
Jason R. Karp, running/sports coach