Abdominal exercises are important for strengthening the core muscles. Burning fat in the tummy area needn't be costly, and many gimmicks touting weight loss are useless, experts say.
"Doing crunches will not get rid of this fat, and neither will the vibrating belt in the television ads," fitness website BodyBuilding.com said
Doing lots of fat-burning cardio is the quickest path to losing abdominal fat.
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"Anything that brings your heart rate to its training zone and keeps it there for at least 20 minutes conditions your heart and burns fat," BodyBuilding.com noted. "As you lose subcutaneous fat, your skin will become more taut. As the fat within your muscles decreases, you will appear more toned and less flabby. The number one thing you need to think about is the cardio," which should occur five times a week.
While crunches, or sit-ups, that engage core muscles are touted as a fat-burner, they aren't the most effective because they only hit the front and side muscle groups, according to Shape
"Core exercises like the plank help train muscles to stabilize the spine and pelvis so you can avoid back pain and improve posture," fitness author Lou Schuler told Shape. "They also burn more calories than crunches because they work more muscles."
Men's Health magazine touted a 30-minute ab workout
in two alternating styles designed to vanquish belly fat. It includes dumbbells and cables.
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Health.com promoted a series of exercises
to get rid of the "muffin top" around the waist. They include planking, use of a weighted ball during mat work, as well as a Pilates-inspired "teaser," which works as sort of a grand sit-up with legs in the air. Other gut-busters include a "donkey kick-back" and crunches performed on a balance ball, the website noted.
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