My main fitness goal is to have a lean stomach with well-defined abdominals. A lot of my friends are really into pilates and yoga and they swear by this type of workout routine to tone up their overall core muscles. I’m more into traditional weight lifting but wanted to know your thoughts on this topic. Will pilates or yoga help me get ripped 6 pack abs faster than my current workout routine?
While there are many different types of exercise methods for one to develop 6 pack abs, diet and cardio for fat loss is the quickest way to get a lean stomach. A six pack of defined abdominals simply comes down to decreasing your body fat levels to the point where the top layer of fat over your stomach is removed, revealing your abs underneath. Everyone has 6 pack abs, it’s just that layer of fat covering them that causes all the problems.
Losing that flab of fat on your abdomen not only involves regular workouts but also depends on the amount of calories coming in. No matter how much a person exercises, regulating the intake of nutrients is the key to fat loss and will be the biggest factor for helping you obtain the results you want.
The proper intake of nutrients will ensure that your body only stores the necessary calories. However, if a person lowers their intake of calories too low, they may sacrifice hard-earned lean muscle tissue along with a crash in energy levels. You need food to survive and when you’re training hard you need enough high quality calories to power you through those tough workouts. Along with diet, cardio is absolutely essential to keep the body active and burn off the unnecessary calories stored in the body, which in turn results in faster fat loss from all over the body. Focus on doing 4-6 cardio workouts per week with each session lasting 45-60 minutes. Mix up your cardio with different exercises like jumping rope, sprinting, jogging and burpees to keep your workouts fun and interesting.
Now that the cardio and diet information has been covered, lets talk about the different methods to target the core muscles and help strengthen the abdominals with pilates and yoga.
Yoga is a Hindu discipline which includes control of breathing, simple meditation, and the acceptance of specific bodily postures to assist in overall health and relaxation. Pilates is a system of exercises using special equipment designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, posture, and enhance mental awareness. Here is a large list of pilates exercise guides with detailed photos and instructions to help you get started:
Focus On The Core
Both disciplines focus on the core parts of the body that include the abdomen and the spine. These exercises help strengthen the spine and help achieve perfect alignment. This in turn helps the body to develop the muscles in a much more stabilized manner which protects you from workout related injuries and also strengthens your body. In most movements, the focus is often on the alignment of the spine or the abs which allows for better flexibility.
Using The Whole Body as a Single Unit
Pilates and yoga not only targets specific parts of the body but mainly focuses on the whole body as a single unit. In yoga, you must hold your body in a certain position, pilates takes this to the next level by using both holding and moving stances. Holding the abdominal muscles in perfect alignment while doing any exercise for the legs will yield faster results in developing a strong midsection and abdominals.
Qualitative not Quantitative Workouts
Pilates and yoga consist of many routines which stress whole body workouts which provide greater results in less time. Both disciplines are highly focused on the proper execution of movements. A perfectly executed pose or exercise will help greatly in targeting the specific muscle group and allow for a greater degree of tension on that area.
More Focus on Body Awareness
Pilates and yoga are not all about just performing different body movements and positions. There are various types of workouts that involve attaining perfectly aligned body posture and controlling your breathing technique. This not only provides better results for the muscles you want to develop but reduces unnecessary stress through a controlled breathing system.
Energizing Not Exhausting
Most forms of regular exercise can leave you exhausted and depleted after your workout. Pilates and yoga methods focus on controlled breathing and a mix of high quality movements that do not tire your body out like traditional weight training and cardio workouts. These types of pilates and yoga routines, if properly executed, will definitely make you feel more energized and refreshed after your workouts.
To get an idea of how beneficial pilates and yoga can be to developing your abdominals, sign up for a few classes at your local health club and see how you like them. Along with a clean diet and some cardio exercise to burn excess calories, implementing a few of these different methods of training into your overall fitness routine should help you greatly in achieving a lean stomach and ripped abs!