I have been working hard to get leaner and trim my waist line. I have made some good improvements but I still have "love handles" I'd like to get rid of. Do you do any direct work for your obliques to give you a smaller waist line?
I don't do any direct work for my obliques. I feel the oblique muscles get enough stimulation stabilizing your body as you perform compound free weight exercises like squats and overhead presses for example.
A smaller waist line and the disappearance of "love handles" will be achieved as you reduce your body fat levels. You can't spot reduce your waist line by doing any specific exercise and direct oblique work will not melt away the fat in that area.
You have to attack fat reduction as an over all body process. Your waist line will become more trim as you lower your body fat. This will be a result of fat burning from watching your nutrition and your caloric intake closely with the addition of cardiovascular exercise to help you expend more energy. You need to create a calorie deficit and consume fewer calories than you expend in a day's time.
Rather than devoting the extra time and energy doing endless sets of oblique work, you'd be better off channeling that energy towards your nutritional plan and your cardiovascular out put. These are the two main components in the fat loss equation.
How do you perform leg raises on the Swiss Ball to get a smaller waistline? Does this exercise help you lose love handles?
To perform leg raises on the Swiss Ball you need to have something over your head that you can grab onto. I like to use the bar on the Smith Machine. That works well because you can easily adjust the height.
I position myself so my body is resting approximately on the center of the Swiss Ball. You can move your body forward or backward on the Swiss Ball to make the exercise easier or more difficult. The higher the Swiss Ball is on your back, the harder the movement becomes.
Once in position, I keep a slight bend in my knees and raise my legs approximately 12-14 inches past parallel then lower my legs until they are 2 to 3 inches below parallel.
I am currently doing 2 sets of Swiss Ball Crunches and 2 sets of Swiss Ball Leg Raises for 10 to 12 reps each. I find these great for keeping my waistline slim.
What should I be doing to harden or tighten my obliques? I'm thinking if I train my obliques it'll help my abs show more. Your suggestions would be helpful!
The obliques and the entire abdominal region get a lot of stimulation stabilizing your body during heavy compound exercises and I don't think the obliques require direct work.
Some people believe that training the obliques with exercises like side bends and twists will help to trim their waist lines. The truth is you can't spot reduce fat from an area no matter what exercise or how many repetitions you do.
Your abdominal development will become more visible as you reduce your body fat levels. That is a product of your diet and caloric expenditure more than any one particular abdominal exercise.
I advise training your abs with the heavy weight. The abs are a muscle so train them with resistance in order to increase development.
The abdominal region is worked indirectly every day during stabilization so I don't think a lot of direct is required. I like to train abs once per week with a total of 4 or 5 weighted sets. My current ab training consists of:
1. Weighted Leg Raises....2 sets 8-10 reps
2. Cable Crunches....2 sets 8-10 reps
3. Swiss Ball Leg Raises....1 set 12 + reps
4. Swiss Ball Crunches....1 set 12 + reps
*I perform Swiss Ball abdominal exercises to help improve my core strength and stability.
Don't try to get too creative with your abdominal training. Always remember the abs are a muscle like any other and should be trained heavy resistance to increase abdominal development. Your diet and cardiovascular efforts will reduce body fat levels and make the development you have achieved more visible.
I want to add more cardio to help me get ripped with a smaller waistline but I am worried about losing muscle. Do you worry about losing muscle as you increase cardio?
With an intelligent approach to training, nutrition, and supplementation, losing muscle with increased cardio is not a concern of mine and shouldn't be a concern of yours either.
First, make sure you continue to train heavy to effectively stimulate muscle growth. One of the mistakes people make when trying to get lean is they start training lighter thinking it will help them burn fat. Don't make that mistake. Training lighter will only reduce the stimulus for growth, it will not help you get leaner.
Next you want to make sure you implement an intelligent cardio strategy. Cardio is a tool to help you expend energy and increase your metabolic rate. This will be essential for getting in great condition. Just like anything else, some cardio approaches are more efficient and effective than others.
To maximize the positive effects of cardio and minimize any potential negative impact on muscle building I suggest doing shorter (15-20 minutes), more intense cardio sessions. The key is to keep them intense and try to better your output each session.
This shorter, more intense approach to cardio will cause a greater increase in your metabolic rate and elevate it for a longer period of time after exercise.
Cardio timing is important so you don't impede the muscle building process. You should spread your cardiovascular sessions at least 6 hours apart from your weight workouts if possible.
To maximize your cardio and weight training efforts you need to follow a sound nutritional and supplementation plan. Determine your daily caloric intake and nutrient ratios. This will ensure your body is getting all the fuels it needs to build muscle while not consuming an overabundance of calories which will promote fat gain.
With all these factors in place, the only thing you are going to lose is the unwanted fat.
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