Why the Jump Rope Will Get You a Six-Pack Before Crunches
Looking to get a six-pack this summer? No we’re not talking about that six-pack of Moosehead, although that does come in handy on a hot sunny day.
We're talking about your abs - or, well, lack thereof.
The good news is that you can put the ab roller away and stop doing a thousand crunches every day, which we know (hope) you're not doing anyway.
“Ain’t nobody got time for that!” (as Sweet Brown says).
If you are doing crunches every day, here's why you should stop...
Crunches and sit-ups can do some serious damage to your spine (read here). They also flat out don't work. For those of you who still believe that crunches are the way achieve washboard abs, I’m here to set the record straight.
The absolute best and most efficient type of exercise you can do for that dream six-pack is…
High Intensity Interval Training
Yes. In fact, here's the recipe...
High intensity interval training + healthy food choices = six pack
HIIT - specifically through jump rope circuits - combined with good food choices is the fastest way to achieve those washboard abs you've been after.
But before I dive into the HOW, let’s first address the WHY.
Why HIIT will get you a six-pack
Ever since resistance machines first hit gyms back in the 1950s, it was commonly assumed that by targeting certain muscle groups or areas of our body, we would be able to get rid of fat in a specific ‘problem’ area.
However, science came along and said, “Nope!”
Targeted fat loss or ‘spot reduction’ does not work.
Remember the Thigh Master?
Suzanne Somers must have missed the memo...Oops!
Now let's get into the science behind this stuff.
An interesting study from 1971 conducted on tennis players revealed that regardless of the player's dominant hand (whether left or right), the layer of fat on both arms was exactly the same (despite the fact that they used one arm more often than the other).
Another more recent study on abdominal fat (2011) revealed a similar outcome.
A group of participants were asked to perform 7 abdominal exercises for 2 sets of 10 repetitions 5 days per week for 6 weeks (no other exercise).
What they found was that there was absolutely no impact on abdominal fat loss (though their ab muscles did become stronger).
So what does this tell us?
It tells us that fat is distributed evenly throughout our body, and fat is also lost evenly throughout our body.
Spot reduction exercises, though they may make certain muscles stronger, will not reduce fat. You can train your left leg 5 days a week, and your right leg zero days a week every day for a year, but they will still have the same, exact fat measurement in the end.
What's more important is that these types of targeted exercises don’t burn nearly enough calories to effectively contribute to fat loss. And as we know, fat and weight loss ultimately boils down to calories consumed vs. calories burned.
For example, ab workouts burn only about 84 calories in 15 minutes (on average), whereas 15 minutes of high-intensity jump rope training can burn upwards of 200 calories.
Screw abs! I just want to get myself a good jump rope.
So, while targeting a muscle group will make that particular muscle group stronger, it is not efficient (or intense) enough to help you get rid of the overlying fat.
Think about it this way: You could have an amazing ‘hidden’ six pack, but no one would ever see it unless you applied the proper exercise and diet techniques…
Which leads me to the “How” portion of this post.
How HIIT helps you get six-pack abs
We've talked a lot about the power of HIIT and why HIIT is so great for fat loss.
In fact, just to give you a basis of comparison, HIIT is 9 times more efficient than steady-state cardio.
And everyone, from athletes to trainers, is quickly discovering that jump ropes are the ‘superstars’ of HIIT workouts.
Jump ropes are what we like to refer to as a ‘Friend of HIIT’ of ‘FHIIT’.
They can be effortlessly incorporated into any HIIT circuit (no waiting for machines, or walking to the other side of the gym between intervals), they’re versatile (used alone or combined with bodyweight training), and they can be taken anywhere.
Oh - and did I mention they’re also fun? Who says workouts have to boring?
Note: HIIT, of course, is only one part of the fat loss equation. Nutrition plays an even more important role, but we'll save that for another blog post.
We hope you enjoyed this post. Here's a quick summary:
> Crunches won't help you lose fat. They're not only inefficient, but they can do some serious damage to your spine.
> You can't target specific areas of the body for fat loss. Science has shown that spot reduction doesn't work.
> HIIT workouts are much more efficient for fat loss. They not only burn more calories, but they keep things fun and refreshing.
> Jump ropes are ideal tools for HIIT workouts because of their versatility - you can incorporate them into any circuit and mix them with other training methods.
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