Did you know that most women are attracted to men with a “V” shaped upper body, and most men like hourglass figures?
But getting and keeping those features in the modern world is not easy.
Especially since all the advice you get misses the point. They want you to focus on working the muscles of the midsection, as if that’s going to give you an hourglass figure or a masculine “V” taper. It can’t.
All that can do is build muscle in that area. What you’re really looking for is to melt off the fat. And you can’t melt off the fat in an area by working that area. Fat doesn’t work that way.
You don’t have one kind of fat on your stomach, and another kind on your arms. It’s all white adipose tissue. It doesn’t get burned off because you exert the muscles in the place where the fat is on your body.
If you seem to lose abdominal fat after a few weeks of lying on the floor doing those gruesome sit-ups or crunches it’s because you’ve dropped fat in general. From your midsection and everywhere else at the same rate.
They did a study on this at the University of Massachusetts. They put people on a rigorous abdominal exercise training program for 27 days. Each person had to do at least 5,000 sit-ups total for the project.1
Researchers tested fat from their abdomens, buttocks and upper backs before and after. Contrary to what spot-reducing proponents would have you believe, the fat decreased by similar amounts in all three places, not just in the abdominal region.
But doing 5,000 sit-ups is not a good idea. They create a Vasalva maneuver, where you bear down and try to exhale with a closed mouth and nose so that no air gets out. Like if you plug your nose and mouth when you sneeze, or hold your breath trying to lift a heavy weight.
The Vasalva maneuver impedes the return of blood to the heart. It’s not good for your blood pressure or circulation to your head. People have busted blood vessels in their eyes doing sit-ups.
I prefer a larger range of motion in a workout using a wider range of muscles.
But the main point is, the abdominal muscles are too small to melt a lot of fat by themselves.
It’s better if you use a fuller range of motion involving the big muscles at the same time when you exert yourself.
One of the best ways to do this is with the “Triple Step.” It uses alternating elbow to knee movement that works like a standing sit-up but with the rest of your body moving too.
- To begin, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands by your sides.
- Raise your arms, with elbows at a 90 degree angle, fists pointing upwards.
- Raise your left knee to your right elbow.
- As you lower your leg, take two hop steps to the left.
- Stop and raise your right knee to your left elbow – and as you lower your leg, take two hop steps to the right.
- Repeat until you are slightly out of breath.
Recover, and do two more sets with slightly increasing intensity. Focus on your intensity, so you can be in control. If you get to your peak heart rate after the second set, you’ve gone beyond your current level of conditioning.
Also, remember to breathe out as you engage your abdominals, so you don’t do a Vasalva maneuver.
For even more of these workouts, stay tuned. I have an infomercial based program that’s going to be airing all over the country. It will have an entire DVD full of progressive “core” workouts to help you keep your hourglass figure or natural “V” taper.
1 Katch, F.I., Clarkson, P.M., Kroll, W., McBride, T., Wilcox, A. “Effects of sit-up exercise training on adipose cell size and adiposity.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1984. 55(3): 242-247.