30 minutes a day, five days a week, four weeks a month. Was that how your fitness goals looked a few months back? You are not alone. Millions of people around the world promise themselves to get healthier but soon lose their focus. Such fitness resolutions reach an all-time high during the beginning of a year. Did you know that gyms usually get a surge in membership around January? According to Gold’s Gym, its traffic increases by 40 percent between the months of December and January (1). However, gym footfall soon drops, many members eventually stop showing up, and all good intentions soon die a natural death as life pushes them around from one priority to the other.
What’s the way out? Shorter, powerful exercise routines that are effective in keeping you on the fitness track. If you want to focus on your abdomen, take a look at the 8-minute abs workout that has climbed up the popularity index in recent times.
What is the 8-minute abs workout?
For all those looking for an exercise routine that is less demanding on their time but offers impressive results, the 8-minute workout might have an answer. Although it does not offer any ‘quick fix’ for your slightly out-of-shape tummy, it does come packed with intensive movements that many find effective in reconnecting with the core muscles when practiced religiously for at least two weeks. Both beginners and experienced fitness enthusiasts can benefit from it. However, it is especially useful for people whose workout regimen focuses more on the upper or the lower portion of the body, with little to no attention on the core area.
What exercises are included in the 8-minute abs workout?
Several variations of the 8-minute abs workout have surfaced of late. Following are the nine basic movements that mostly make up the eight minutes of rigorous exercise:
Lie on your back with your legs folded at your knees. Put your hand behind your head so that your thumbs are behind your ears. Tip: Avoid lacing your fingers together. Pull in your abdomen and curl up forward so that your head, neck, and shoulders lift off the floor. Hold your position for just a moment and go back to the starting position.
Oblique Crunch (Both Sides)
Lie on your back, keep your knees raised. Put your right hand behind your head and touch your left knee. Repeat it with your left hand touching the right knee.
Lie on your back, lift your legs (bent) in the air. Make sure your toes form a 45-degree angle when pointing out. Stretch out your hands and move your shoulders up so that you can touch the sides of your ankles.
This is just the opposite of traditional crunch. Keep lying on your back and put your arms underneath your buttocks. Now, bring your knees towards your chest. Unlike traditional crunches, in a reverse crunch, you bring up the lower part of the body instead of moving the upper portion.
This, once again, is like your regular crunch but with a difference. Bend your legs, keep your feet flat on the ground, then with your hands behind your head, turn your body. Your focus here is to stimulate the side muscles. Do this with both the sides.
It refers to your hands pushing through your thighs. For this, you need to lie on your back and bend your knees while keeping them slightly apart. Now join your palms and lift the upper part of the body so that your hands move through your thighs.
This is where you push your legs up in the air. Put your hands under your buttocks. This offers extra support and makes it easier for you to lift the legs. Now, slowly raise your legs so that they are at 90 degrees to your body. Bend your legs at the knees and push your feet upwards. Lift your buttocks with every push.
This is almost like your oblique crunch only in this exercise you DO NOT lift your body from the ground. You should lie on your back, put both your hands behind your head and then move in such a way that your left knee touches your right elbow. Follow the same with the other side.
Lie down on the floor. Keep your hands on both sides of the body. Your palms should be on the floor. Bend your legs at the knees. Lift your shoulders so that your abs curl up. Keeping your palms on the floor, slide your hands towards your heels every time you move your shoulders
Perform one set per exercise for 45 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest after each set.
What is the best thing about the 8-minute abs workout?
The most impressive part of this exercise is its short span of time. No matter how busy you are, you can always manage to squeeze eight minutes from your schedule. Also, it does not need any equipment at all. If you are uncomfortable lying on the floor, consider buying an exercise mat. That’s it! You are all set to do this exercise wherever you are and whatever you do. What’s more, you can even do this while on vacation!
Why should you opt for the 8-minute abs workout?
If you want to achieve that coveted six-pack abs, you should probably give this workout a try. However, apart from the well-sculpted and toned look, the 8-minute workout also focuses on the four primary abdominal muscles groups — transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, external oblique muscles, and internal oblique muscles (2). Together, they form the core muscles that connect the upper and the lower parts of the body, support the spine, help us move our torso, and regulate the internal abdominal pressure so that the organs stay in place. A fit core is the basis of a strong body.
Why should you care about abdominal health?
The past few decades have witnessed an increasing rate of abdominal obesity among men and women in the US. It refers to a condition when excess fat accumulates around the waist of a person instead of the hips, thighs, buttocks, and the other body parts. If you are looking for more definite terms, abdominal obesity refers to a condition when the waistline runs more than 35 inches in women and more than 40 inches in men. According to a 2014 Journal of the American Medical Association report (3), 54 percent of the US adult population suffers from abdominal obesity. In another report published in Pubmed, 17.95 percent of kids in the US between ages two and 18 were stated to be abdominally obese (4). This is a dangerous trend since abdominal obesity makes one prone to more serious health risks such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, resistance to insulin, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and even untimely death (5).
Including the 8-minute abs workout plan in your schedule is a step in the right direction as far as the fitness of your abdominal muscles is concerned. However, you must consult a physician before starting any exercise routine, even if it is a short one that lasts for only a couple of minutes. You must also check the viability of adopting such an exercise plan if you have a pre-existing medical condition or suffer from injuries of any kind. Remember to couple all your workout programs with an effective diet plan.