Start to sculpt your abs.
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Whether you want to tighten your stomach or develop washboard abs, weightlifting can't be beat. Weightlifting cranks up your metabolism while you lift and then keeps it elevated throughout the day while your body works to recover. Your entire core is targeted if you alternate working your legs one day and your arms the next, with two days of rest before starting again. In a few weeks, you'll be proud to wear your swimsuit or skinnier jeans.
Warm up for 10 minutes to prepare your muscles and tendons. Always walk, bike or row for five minutes. On squat and deadlift days, add 50 jumping jacks and 10 Spiderman stretches. To do a Spiderman, get in a pushup position. Bring your right foot forward and to the outside of your right hand, holding it for three seconds. Repeat on the left side, alternating left and right 10 times. On bench and press days, add 10 arm circles, forward and reverse. Then perform a triceps stretch. Put your right arm straight in the air and then drop your right hand behind your neck. With your left hand, pull your right elbow to the left and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with your left arm.
One of the most functional compound lifts is the high-bar back squat. Proper form is essential before adding weight. Start with a PVC pipe, progress to a bar and then add manageable weights. Your feet should be placed shoulder-width apart with your toes facing forward. Your knees will bend to 90 degrees without moving forward past your shoelaces. Your hips move back and down while keeping your back flat. Keep your chest up with the weight centered over the midfoot. The bar goes across the shelf formed on your back by the upper border of the scapula, below your neck. The workout is five squats followed by a three-minute recovery, repeated three times with moderate weight.
Perform the shoulder press with your upper body and without knee bending. Start with your feet hip-width apart. Your hands should be just outside of your shoulders with your elbows bent, pointed down and in front of the bar. The bar will go straight up to your arms as they are locked overhead. Keeping the weight close to your body makes it easier to lift, so you will need to pull your head back as you raise the bar to avoid hitting your nose. Keep your core tight and your eyes looking straight ahead. Using the bar or moderate weight, repeat five lifts with a three-minute recovery and do three sets.
While working supportive muscles of the waist, back and hips, the deadlift builds core stability. In just five lifts, you are working your core and abs more than countless reps of situps. Proper form is essential. Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend over to grab the bar, placing your hands on the bar just outside shoulder width, with your arms locked straight. Bend your knees, touching your shins to the bar. Keep your back straight -- avoid arching or rounding your shoulders -- and your head and chest up. With your weight on your heels, start to stand up, maintaining a flat back. Once the bar has passed your knees, stand up completely. Lift moderate weight with good form five times and do just one set.
While working your core, the bench press develops upper-body strength and improved cardiovascular health. Perform the bench press with a barbell and a spotter, or work alone with dumbbells on a bench. Start by lying on a bench with your shoulder blades pinned together. Your feet should be flat on the floor, your seat on the bench and your midsection tight. Lift the weight, take a breath, then lower the bar to your chest and press it back up to the start position. The workout is five lifts of moderate weight with a three-minute rest break repeated three times.
Repeat Back Squat
The squat is a beneficial exercise for muscle tone, strength, power, balance and posture. Repeat the squat on day five, but you can use variations. Dumbbells can be used and balanced on your shoulders. You can use a medicine ball and hold it in front of you when you squat and then extend it overhead when you stand. For a front squat, use the barbell while holding it in front of you on your shoulders, keeping your elbows high and parallel to the ground. Perform five squats with a three-minute recovery, repeated three times.