Cardio and strength-training exercises are the most effective types of exercises for increasing metabolism and burning fat -- the right combination of these exercises will give you the results you're after. Cardio exercise gets your heart rate going and helps you shed body fat. Muscle-building exercise strengthens muscles, boosts your metabolism and keeps it running long after your workout.
Cardio activity is one of the most effective forms of exercise for burning fat. While spot reduction is a myth, there are certain cardio exercises that work the abs better than others. Jumping rope is a full-body cardio exercise that not only burns fat, but also engages your abs. Burpees, twists, jumping jacks, squat thrusts, high knees and mountain climbers are all other ideas for effective exercises that help burn fat from the abs. Include at least three to five 30-minute sessions of cardio into your total weekly workout.
Crunch Up for Tight Abs
The crunch is an effective strength-training exercise for targeting the abdominal muscles. It works the rectus abdominis muscles at front, as well as the obliques along the sides. Lie flat on your back with your legs bent on a right angle, your lower legs resting on a bench or platform, your arms bent with your hands resting under your head. Keep your lower body relaxed, engage your core, and raise your torso up off the floor as far as you can without lifting your lower back. Return to your starting position.
Push Sit-Up for the Win
The dumbbell push sit-up targets the rectus abdominis muscles, but also utilizes the obliques, helping you burn fat from and build muscle around the abdominal area. Start with your back flat on an incline bench, your legs bent at a 90-degree angle with your feet secured under the foot pad. Raise your arms so they're extended straight above you, hands aligned with your shoulders, a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Keeping your arms straight, raise your torso, lifting yourself as far as you can without arching your back. Lower yourself back down for one rep.
Rotate with a Medicine Ball
The seated medicine ball trunk rotation targets all of the abdominal muscles. Start on the floor with your legs out in front of you, bent slightly at the knee. Position your arms in front of you, bent with your hands grasping a medicine ball, your upper arms close to your body. Engage your core and slowly rotate your body to one side, keeping the ball positioned in front of your chest as you turn. Keep your back straight and lower body rigid during the movement. Return to your starting position then repeat to the other side to complete one rep.
How to do it Right
Stretching before and after your workout can help maximize results and possibly prevent delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. It's also important to use the right amount of weight during your strength-training exercises. Use a weight you can manage but still get resistance with. Only increase the weight when you can complete at least a full set of 12 reps without impairing your form. Include a minimum of three to four sessions of strength-training workouts on a weekly basis, completing three sets of 12 reps for each exercise.
- Shape: 8 Cardio Myths That are Making you Fat
- Fitness: Burn, Baby, Burn: The Metabolism-Boosting Superset Workout
- ExRx.net: Fat Loss & Weight Training Myths
- ExRx.net: Crunch
- American Council on Exercise: Don't be a Sore Loser - Dealing with Muscle Soreness
- American Council on Exercise: Strength Training 101