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Cardio Abs Routine for Awesome Abs In Minutes

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

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What’s the point of toning your abs if you can’t see past the fat? That's the issue at hand. Far too many of us waste countless hours in the gym or in front of the television working for awesome abs that never come to fruition. No, despite our efforts, were left with the same old pooching belly and sagging skin. All our efforts are in vain and were left wondering, WHY?

Fitness expert and personal trainer Michael Stefano has the answer to this pesky problem. If you’ve never done circuit training, it’s time to put the intense workout to the test. The New York firefighter, who penned the bestselling Firefighter’s Workout Book (HarperCollins), says achieving fab abs is about following a proper diet and an effective cardio/strength training regimen.

Awesome Abs Creating toned and sculpted abdominal muscles wont do you any good unless you can burn the fat that keeps them hidden away, Stefano tells eDiets. Combine classic cardio or fat burning exercise in short spurts at target heart rate levels, with compact and effective ab builders to cover all bases.

Over time, your regimen may become dull, weakening your motivation. Stefano notes that boredom is the number one killer of a workout program. That’s why it’s important to kick it up a notch every now and then, which is exactly what the Cardio Abs workout achieves. Combining cardio and strength training into one workout gives exercise enthusiasts the best of both worlds.

What you’re doing is interspersing sets of two of the most effective ab exercises (the crunch and bike kicks) between intervals of cardio activity.

Stefano says: “The cardio is actually burning the fat. Doing the crunches and the bike kicks develops the abs and the obliques. While the exercises give you the six-pack abs, they don’t burn the fat that hides your stomach. You have to do cardio to burn fat. The great thing about this workout is that you’re keeping your heart rate at a fat-burning level throughout the routine.”

Michael Stefano Stefanos workout will also put to use the exercise equipment that's been left untouched since you bought it. Treadmills and stationary bikes are ideal for the Cardio Abs Workout. But, even if you don't own the proper machines, you can still march in place, jump rope or do step exercises for the cardio part.


1. Begin with 5 to 10 minutes of brisk walking or jogging on a treadmill, or pedaling on a stationary bike. Two other in-home cardio options might include marching in place or jumping rope.

2. Stop and immediately get down on your mat for one set of crunches done to muscle fatigue. If possible, adjust intensity (as described below) so as to hit fatigue in the 20- to 30-repetition range.

3. Get back on your treadmill, bike, step, or continue stepping or jumping for 5 to 10 more minutes.

4. Stop and immediately get down on your mat for one set of bike kicks done to muscle fatigue. Again, adjust intensity so as to hit fatigue in the 20 to 30 repetition range.

5. Beginners quit here, but for a greater challenge do another stint of cardio before calling it quits.

Repeat this program 3 or 4 times each week, and work at extending the time on the treadmill (or whatever mode of cardio you chose) to 10 minutes or even 15 minutes. Combine with some weekly strength and flexibility training for the upper and lower body, as well as a sensible eating program to achieve the overall best results.

Crunch Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet with your knees partially bent, feet flat on the floor, arms folded across your chest (as shown). Exhale as you press the lower back into the floor and begin to raise your head, shoulders and chest off the floor, concentrating on bringing the ribs towards the hips. Pause briefly as you feel your abdominal muscles tighten. The movement need only be a few inches. Inhale as you slowly curl back down, trying not to let your head touch the floor, maintaining tension in the abdominal muscles for the entire set. Repeat to muscle fatigue.

Intensity Booster: To increase intensity, lengthen the pause to 2 seconds, or place your hands behind your head instead of across your chest.

Bike Kick

Bike Kick Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet with the lower back pressed into the floor. Put your hands behind your head (but don't pull on the head). Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through the bicycle pedal motion. Touch your right elbow to your left knee and then left elbow to right knee. Continue to breathe naturally. Alternate opposite elbow to opposite knee in a slow and controlled manner to muscle fatigue.

Intensity Booster: Full extension of the legs will increase intensity (as shown), as will keeping the motion very slow and deliberate. Keep the knees partially bent throughout the movement to decrease intensity.

For more of Stefano's fat-burning and body-sculpting workouts in the The Firefighter's Workout Book: The 30 Minute a Day Train-For-Life Program for Men and Women, click here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: When it comes to exercise, there are many viewpoints and beliefs. eDiets has its very own fitness program. However, from time to time, we highlight programs and exercises developed by other well-known fitness pros. It is possible you will see contradictions from one story to another.

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