Busting that belly, melting that muffin top, whittling that waist – whatever you call it, most of us want to do it. Gym machines can be a great way to tone up abs, but what should we use and why?
There are three sets of abdominal muscles, working all the time to keep us upright whether sitting or standing. The rectus abdominis pulls us forward, and generates that ‘six pack’. The external and internal obliques run down our sides. The transverse abdominis is tucked beneath where it helps to support the spine.
There’s no escape from the importance of eating properly (to avoid putting too much on) and doing some good tough cardio to use up what is there.
Any cardio machine such as treadmill or stationary bicycle will help to burn off that fat. To work the core muscles, the two top gym machines are the captain’s chair and the cable machine.
The captain’s chair supports your back and is easier to use than a pull up bar for leg raises. Some captain’s chairs are just simple frames, while others allow you to add resistance with weights.
The cable machine will be familiar to most for upper body strength, but it can also be used to flatten those abs.
Here are two simple but effective exercises.
Captains Chair leg raise: Climb on to the machine, making sure that your back is firmly against the pad and your forearms comfortably on the rests. When you are ready, go into the hanging position and raise your bent legs, engaging your stomach muscles. Repeat as long as you can hold the correct form.
Cable machine wood chop: Set up the machine with suitable weights and rope handles. Holding your arms straight across your body, pull the handles across and down in a wood chopping motion. Keep arms straight, work your core and pivot feet.
It need not be complicated. Keep that belly under control with gym machines!
the student beer days have to be behind me now, the student beer belly was not a pretty look! The exercises are good but it all starts, as usual, with the input.
the Captain's Chair was a new one on me - but it really does work and you don't need to have a particular level of fitness to use it. OK, so I'm not in it for long but we all have to start somewhere!
I would also say don't drink too much beer! Since I cut back on having 5+ pints on a weekend my stomach seemed to appreciate it.