FITNESS COLUMN - Treat your tummy

The Colonel
The Colonel

ROSIE, 23, asks: I’m trying to tone up and slim down my stomach and have been doing loads of crunches at the gym; however I don’t seem to be seeing any improvement! I was told this is the ultimate ab exercise, is this true?

The Colonel from award-winning budget gym chain Xercise4Less said: Rosie, while crunches may be one of the most iconic ab exercises, some gym-bunnies argue that they are actually not the most effective. Doing crunches doesn’t actually burn many calories and they therefore provide little use if trying to lose weight on your tum!

Although they can help tone up your abs and strengthen your core, it’s no surprise that you don’t seem to be seeing much improvement. The repeated bending and extending motion of the crunch can actually damage your spine if not done correctly and can place excessive strain on your lower back. So, although the crunch is always the go-to for ab seekers, they may not be getting you any closer to your ultimate goal.

Firstly, you need to carry out cardio work in order to burn calories and help shift some of that excess weight.

Try hitting the treadmill or cross trainer first to really work up a sweat and then follow this up with some ab workouts to tone and strengthen.

So, if you’re not sure the crunch is cutting it, swap this for the “Dumbbell Double Woodchop”... and it’s as brilliant as it sounds.

Grab a light dumbbell and hold this with a hand-over-hand grip and your arms extended above your right shoulder. Then, keep your arms straight (but not locked), bend your knees and then powerfully rotate your body to the left as you draw your arms down diagonally across your body. Then, pause when you reach your left ankle and quickly reverse the whole movement back to above your right shoulder. Try 5-8 reps and then repeat with the other side (starting above your left shoulder).

So, hit the cardio and replace the crunch and you’ll soon develop abs of steel!