It’s crunch time! If you train hard and diet sensibly you can be turning heads before you know it when you concentrate on critical body parts that make you look fit and firm: your butt and abs. The Cardio Crunch Ab and Butt Blast Workout attacks the glutes and abs on three fronts: intense and varied cardio that burns calories and fat during and after exercise; intense resistance exercises that sculpt and tone the muscles; and a sensible diet that gives you the energy to train hard while melting off the pounds.
Women store most of their fat in the butt, so that’s where we’ll concentrate most of our efforts. The program includes a variety of butt-building and calorie-burning cardio exercises that will help you lose fat throughout your body and build round, shapely glute and thigh muscles. Specific exercises, such as bicycle crunches, single-leg squats, side-bridges and step-ups will target the glutes and abs. Finish the workout with glute stretching exercises that will build the muscles and prepare them for harder work to come.
The Cardio Crunch Ab and Butt Blast Workout is effective if you’re willing to pay the price. You can lose 5 to 20 pounds of fat in two months or less (depending on your current fitness level) by following a few basic principles and sticking with the program. The workout will help you be thinner, more vibrant and healthier, and you’ll look terrific. Follow the principles of the Cardio Crunch Ab and Butt Blast Workout and there will be a new you!
Lose Fat and Tone Muscles Quickly
This program is designed to give you fit, lean-looking glutes and abs in a short time. If you really want to achieve a fit, hard body, this program is for you. The program is arranged in a circuit involving 20 minutes of cardio followed by ab and glute exercises, followed by more cardio, and so on. The cardio includes prolonged exercise, such as treadmill walking or running, and short intense exercise, such as rope skipping.
The workout will take approximately 60 minutes, so you can get in and out of the gym or train at home rapidly. You will metabolize (burn) about 700-1,000 calories a day, which is enough to get rid of about a pound of fat per week. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but you will lose fat, not muscle. What’s more, you will lose the weight and it will stay off.
The weight-training exercise included in the workout will firm and develop the muscles of the butt and abs. Having more muscle mass means you burn more calories during the day. Also, you’ll look more physically fit and athletic if you have more muscle. The program will not build large bulky muscles, so train hard when lifting weights.
Stretch after you workout, when your muscles are warm. Maintaining flexibility will help you prevent injury and maintain normal range of motion in your joints. Stretch after exercise during the cool-down period, rather than before. Pre-exercise stretching decreases muscle strength and may predispose muscles to injury.
Well-Balanced Diet for the Energy to Train Hard
The Mediterranean diet – high in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, monounsaturated oils, nuts, red wine and fish – is best for women who want to be lean and exercise intensely. Avoid simple sugars and saturated and trans fats. This diet is consistent with the diet recommendations issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Atkins-type diet – high in protein and fats and low in carbohydrates – is not a good idea for women following this training program because you need carbs to train intensely. The Atkins diet works well for people who want to lose weight, but are only moderately active.
Do this program three days per week. Start conservatively. If you are a beginner or haven’t exercised for some time, modify the workout by shortening the cardio sessions, doing only one set of the resistive exercises, or resting longer between exercises or sets.
Train as intensely as you can during each exercise after you get used to the exercise routine. This is a circuit, so do the exercises in the order below:
1. Treadmill walking or running: 20 minutes at a 3% to 6% grade
2. Bicycle crunches: 2 sets, 20 repetitions
3. Single-leg squats: 2 sets, 10 repetitions
4. Elliptical trainer or Cybex Arc Trainer: 20 minutes
5. Side-bridges: 2 sets of 30 to 60 seconds on each side of the body
6. Plié (Sumo) squats: 2 sets, 10 repetitions
7. Rope skipping: 6 sets, one minute, with one-minute rest between sets
8. Isometric sit-ups; 3 sets for 10 to 30 seconds
9. Step-ups: 3 sets of 10 repetitions
10. Stair climber or Gauntlet (StepMill): 20 minutes
11. Knee raises on Roman chair: 3 sets of 10 repetitions
12. Kick-backs or butt-blaster machine: 3 sets of 10 repetitions
13. Glute stretch (standing or seated): 2 sets, hold for 10 to 30 seconds
This is a specialized workout aimed mainly at cutting fat and toning your abs and glutes. It’s excellent for getting you ready for a beach vacation, or if you want to put the finishing touches on an already fit body.
Treadmill Walking or Running. Walking or running on an inclined treadmill helps you burn calories like a dynamo and overloads and builds your calf, thigh and butt muscles. Inclined treadmill exercise provides the same benefits as doing cardio and weight training at the same time. Walk or run on the treadmill up a 3% to 6% grade for 20 minutes, rest one minute, then immediately do bicycle crunches.
Bicycle Crunches. EMG shows how much a muscle is activated during an exercise. The bicycle crunch is one of the best exercises for activating the front and side abs (rectus abdominis and obliques). The technique: Lie on your back with legs extended with your hands placed across your chest. Pull your right knee in toward your chest while twisting your left shoulder toward your right knee. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other knee and elbow. Do two sets of 20 repetitions, resting one minute between sets.
Single-Leg Squats. EMG studies show that the single-leg squat – particularly when done to parallel – is one of the best thigh and glute exercises. The technique: Squat down on one leg until your thigh is parallel with the floor. Return to the starting position. You can do this exercise without weight, holding dumbbells or a barbell, or on a Smith machine. Do two sets of 10 repetitions, resting one minute between sets.
Elliptical Trainer or Cybex Arc Trainer. The elliptical trainer and Cybex Arc Trainer are similar. Both are combinations of a walking machine, treadmill, stationary bike, ski machine and stair climber. The Arc is more advanced with 11 inclines and 101 resistance levels going as high as 900 watts. Both will give you a terrific workout. Exercise for 20 minutes, rest one minute and move on to side-bridges.
Side-Bridges. This is a great exercise for the obliques (side ab muscles) and a deep spinal stabilizing muscle called the quadratus lumborum. The technique: Lie on your side and support your body between your forearm and knees. As you increase fitness, first move your non-support arm across your body as you hold the side-bridge; later, support your weight between your forearm and feet. Do this exercise on your left and right sides and try to hold your spine straight – don’t let it sag during the exercise. Do two sets of 30 to 60 seconds on each side of the body, resting one minute between sets.
Plié (Sumo) Squats. This exercise can make the muscles on the inside of your thighs very sore the first time you do it, so begin with only one set and build up. The technique: Stand with your feet about a foot wider than your shoulders, with toes turned out diagonally. Keep your feet flat and try to squat with your pelvis until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Return to the starting position slowly, squeezing your buns together as you ascend. Do two sets of 10 repetitions, resting one minute between sets.
Rope Skipping. Jumping rope is a high-intensity exercise that builds aerobic and anaerobic capacity like sprinting on the track. The technique: Use a rope that fits you – one that can move easily around your head and body. Jumping rope is a high-impact activity, so you must maintain a good posture to protect your knees, hips, back and neck. Look straight ahead and keep your waist and back straight. Hold your elbows low and bent at 90-degree angles. Swing the rope using your wrists and skip on the balls of your feet rhythmically. Keep your knees bent so you don’t shock your knee joints when you jump. Do six one-minute sets, with a one-minute rest between sets.
Isometric Sit-Ups. This exercise builds strong, fit abdominal muscles and helps prevent back pain. The technique: Lie on your back with arms folded across your chest, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Sit up until your torso is at a 45-degree angle and hold that position for 10 to 30 seconds. Try to do this exercise without anchoring your feet. Do three sets, resting one minute between sets.
Step-Ups. Do step-ups on aerobic boxes or a flat bench. The technique: Start by stepping up on the bench or box using your bodyweight as resistance. Step up using your left leg then your right leg. Do the exercise holding a dumbbell in each hand as fitness improves. Later, perform the exercise with a barbell on your back. Increase the height of the step to boost the load on your glutes. Do three sets of 10 reps (both legs), resting one minute between sets.
Stair Climber or Gauntlet (StepMill). The Gauntlet and stair climbers provide exercise similar to walking or running up a flight of stairs. They are great for the glutes, particularly if you use a high stair height. Exercise for 20 minutes on one of these machines, rest one minute, then proceed to the Roman chair.
Roman Chair Knee Raises. EMG studies show that this exercise is one of the best for developing the ab muscles. The technique: Support your body by your forearms on the pads of the roman chair. Flex your hips and bring your knees toward your midsection; then return to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 repetitions, resting one minute between sets.
Butt-Blaster Machine. This machine builds the glutes, hamstrings and back muscles. You can do this exercise without a machine by mimicking the motion on a mat or rug. The technique: Kneel down on the machine, grasp the handles and place your elbows on the elbow rests; put your foot on the footplate. Lift your leg straight up toward the ceiling, extending your hip fully; return to the starting position. Do all reps with one leg first and then switch to the other leg. Do three sets of 10 repetitions, resting one minute between sets.
Glute Stretch (seated or standing). These stretches increase flexibility and build strength and shape at the same time. The technique: Seated: Sit on a bench with feet flat on the floor. Place your right ankle on your left knee and hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Don’t do this exercise if you have had problems with the ligaments of your knees. Standing: Stand with arms extended to the side. Place your right ankle on your left knee and squat down slowly. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Do one or both of these stretches at the end of your workout.
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