As a san diego Personal trainer, I’ve been asked so often about what is the best exercise to get abs. So what is the ideal exercise for the midsection? The answer is counterintuitive and may amaze you.
I’ll address this question on the perspective that it is usually asked. People are usually not searching for the exercise which will make their mid-section stronger and larger. What most people actually want to find out is how to make their tummy small, firm, toned, and defined. Sounds good?
In general, there are two things that contribute to a pleasing look at the midsection: first, less fat around the middle and second, stronger, firmer, and larger abdominal muscles. The main reason why these two factors are important is that the layer of fat that’s on top of your abdominals must be thin enough to be able to notice the muscles beneath it. And if that layer of fat is thin enough, the larger your abdominal muscles, the easier it is to notice them and they will look more “defined”. These things aren’t of equal importance on how your abs looks, on the other hand. Stronger and larger abdominal muscles only become relevant if the layer of fat on the abdominal area is thin enough that you could see the outlines of the muscles beneath the layer of fat. Almost everyone has excessive fat in the abdominal area to see the stomach muscles. So for almost everybody, cutting down fat on the stomach area is what will have the best result on how good your midsection looks.
Interestingly, there is no way to “spot reduce” fat on your body. Working on an exercise for the specific area on your body will not cause extra fat to get lost just from that particular area. This means that, despite the efforts of many people to do so, you can’t start a whole bunch of crunches (which directly work your stomach muscles) and believe that you’re going to hasten losing fat just from your stomach area. Rather, when your body loses fat, it loses fat from all over the body. (It may shed more fat from other areas compared, although how much it loses from each area will be determined by the inherited genetic programming for how the body proportionally gains and losses fat.) So, in order to lose fat from your abdominals to make your midsection lean and defined, you have to lose fat all over your body.
So what is the best workout for shedding fat from all over your body? Well, out of everything you can do, nutrition definitely has the major influence on fat loss. So nutrition is the most important thing to pay attention to for leaner abs. As far as exercise though, the most important exercises are the ones that work the biggest muscles in the body simply because they have the biggest result on boosting your metabolism.
The exercise that almost all of our clients do that works with the largest muscles in the body is the leg press. So, what is the best exercise for your midsection? I told you the answer is counterintuitive – for most people it is actually the leg press.
Of all the exercises that we normally use, the leg press works with the most of the muscle in the body. So it has the biggest possibility of adding lean muscle mass to your body and therefore the greatest possibility of helping improve your metabolism. It’s the exercise which when combined with appropriate nutrition can help you lose fat. Because you can’t spot reduce fat from your abs (or anywhere else on the body), it is the exercise that has the greatest impact on helping you shed fat from the abdominal region too. Achieving less fat in your abdominal region is considered the one that will have the major effect on the way your midsection looks, and the leg press is considered the exercise that helps you accomplish that the best.
So, to get a lean and defined midsection: first and foremost focus on a good nutrition plan that will help you shed fat. Then, when it comes to exercise, the top priority is to challenge the muscles as deeply as you possibly can on each workout to help stimulate your metabolism. This is particularly important on the leg press. You need to get to the point on the leg press that after several repetitions the muscles become so fatigued that completing another repetition is not only difficult, it really is impossible. You are pushing as hard as you’re able to, and the weight refuses to budge even a fraction of an inch because your muscles became so fatigued. At this point continue maximally pushing for a few more seconds, and you will fatigue the body’s main muscles a lot more. Doing this sends the most powerful signal possible to your body that it needs to get stronger and improve your metabolism, and will have the biggest impact that exercise could have on the midsection.
With my experience as a San Diego personal trainer, nutrition plays the biggest role for fat loss and the way your midsection looks. But for exercise, the leg press has the biggest effect on your metabolic process and on how lean and good looking you could get with your abdominal area.
Personal Trainer In San Diego County Including A Beneficial Definition For “Exercise”
As a personal trainer in San Diego County, I’ve been a rabid exercise enthusiast for nearly thirty years, and my very own workouts comprise exclusively of 20-minute high-intensity strength training sessions. I do not jog on a treadmill for workout, I do not climb stairs on the StairMaster machine to pursue fitness, and I don’t pedal on the stationary bike to try to get fit. Before, I do all of those things, but I’ve learned they are not ideal for me. The truth is I actually don’t even consider those ideas helpful to classify under a proper concept of “exercise”.
How can I make an outrageous claim like “jogging isn’t ‘exercise’ “? For language to be useful, each word’s meaning should be delimited appropriately. A term must be defined in a manner that it denotes under its meaning things which are fundamentally similar in a given context, and differentiates those basically similar things out of different things that are fundamentally different. For example, the term “car” differentiates the vehicles we drive on the streets from many other various things we encounter in everyday life, including buildings, mailboxes, and houseplants. It doesn’t make sense at all to call your houseplant a “car” and then try to drive it to your workplace every day – cars and houseplants are fundamentally unique and it’s inappropriate to classify a houseplant with the word “car”. Similarly, some kinds of physical exercise are fundamentally different from each other and in my view only a few of these are appropriate to group under the concept “exercise”.
The objective of the term “exercise” in the English language would be to denote activities that any of us perform to enhance the entire body physically. In this context you also need to comprehend that the muscles are the “window” into your body. Essentially all physical improvements that can be stimulated by physical activity are fundamentally brought on by loading your muscles. Loading the muscles is not just how you make the muscles strong; it is likewise the pathway to improving your heart, lungs, endocrine system, immune system, general metabolism, and more. For instance, the reasons you breathe faster while jogging is because your muscles are working, and this muscular work has kicked the cardio respiratory system into higher gear to assist the functioning muscles.
After realizing that loading muscles is just how you go about conditioning your body, it will become clearer that sensible versions of strength training make the perfect fit to classify as “exercise”. Rational power workout is a logical approach of looking at how you can efficiently, effectively, and safely load the muscles of the human body. Effective strength training takes into account the muscle and joint functions on the body, modulates the resistance appropriately according to the varying strength curves from the different muscles, considers speed of motion to protect the safety of the body, and makes the resistance demanding enough to create optimal physical change.
On the other hand, many other physical exercises people do in the name of “exercise” are fundamentally different from effective strength training, and therefore aren’t useful to categorize as “exercise”. For instance, stepping on a StairMaster machine is an activity which does involve muscular loading however the muscular loading encountered on the StairMaster is haphazard, inefficient, relatively low intensity, and can also be dangerous eventually. It does not consider the muscle and joint functions of the body, doesn’t modulate the resistance appropriately for any strength curves on the muscles, doesn’t include slower movement speed to guard the security of the body, and doesn’t include making the resistance demanding enough to motivate best physical changes. It is not a purposeful strategy for loading the muscles effectively and safely.
In Ken Hutchins- SuperSlow Technical Manual, he categorized a helpful (although technical) meaning for “exercise”: “Exercise is a process whereby your body performs work of a demanding nature, according to muscle and joint function, within a clinically-controlled environment, within the limitations of safety, meaningfully loading the muscular composition to inroad their potency levels to motivate a growth mechanism within minimum time.”
What are some dangers of not having an excellent definition for “exercise” like Ken has given above? As an example, not owning a useful definition for “exercise”, in the past the US Surgeon General’s office wrote a written report recommending a number of “exercise” activities to Americans which explicitly included such things as typing, shuffling papers, walking from your desk to the copy machine, and doing other light office work. If you’re typing and thinking you’re pursuing meaningful exercise, that’s analogous to attempting to drive your houseplant to work because you think it’s a “car”. It really doesn’t work very well.
Another illustration of the danger of a poor definition for “exercise” is that in the long run low-intensity “cardio” or “aerobic” activities (which many pursue as “exercise”, yet don’t qualify Ken’s definition above) often attain the opposite of the intended goal of exercise (that is improved fitness and health of the body). For example, quite a few lengthy joggers wind up wearing away the cartilage in their knees due to the overuse and high-force trauma from jogging and in those cases what results is painful chronic osteoarthritis in the knees or even knee replacements. Exercise is meant to improve the body physically, not destroy it. I have made those same mistakes in the past and unfortunately have the prematurely exhausted arthritic knees to prove it.
Being a personal trainer in San Diego County, I’m not suggesting that every activity other than strength training is bad and must not be performed. I’m just suggesting that they are not useful to classify as “exercise”. My suggestion is to perform effective strength training for exercise, after which enjoy your fitter body for any other exercise you like to do for fun. Making this distinction helps the body to be healthier, and the rest of your life to be more fun.