20 Minute Ab Workout Better than 22000 Crunches

Women’s Health magazine was in PANIC mode last Monday. They needed an expert to fill in at the last minute for their daily workout column.

I gave them a…

TT-powered 20-Minute Total Body Ab & Belly Fat Blaster. But you know what?

I have HARDER, more intense fat burning workouts that I’ll be delivering at the TT Summit next month in San Diego.

Reserve your spot for our Kick Butt TT Bootcamp workouts here

Here was the exact question I received from Women’s Health and the workout I delivered for them – and YOU.

WH Question: Good morning! We need a fitness expert to answer this question from the Women’s Health website:

“I’m doing core exercises like crazy, so why don’t I have defined abs yet?”

Thanks Craig–hope you can take it on! My deadline is about 2-3 pm but earlier is better.” – Esther at Women’s Health

My Answer:

Hi Esther, happy to help!

According to Men’s Health, it takes 22,000 crunches to burn one pound of fat. Unfortunately, not even Rocky Balboa has the time or motivation to do that. Almost all ab exercises, from planks to crunches, simply don’t burn a lot of calories. Our readers are better off doing less core training and more total body metabolic workout.

For a woman to see her abs, she needs to be down to about 16-18% body fat (for men, it’s only 10-12%) because women carry more fat in the lower body. Crunches and situps are not going to give women sub-20% leanness.

But that’s where total body metabolic ab exercises come into play.

Here’s a 20 minute circuit you can use that will burn a lot of calories, dramatically boost your fitness, and give you the defined abs you deserve.

The 20-Minute Total Body Ab & Belly Fat Blaster Workout

1) KB Swing – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
2) Med Ball Overhead Slam onto Mat – 40 seconds on, 20 seconds rest
3) Elevated Pushup (one hand elevated 4 inches) – 20 seconds for one side, rest 10 seconds, 20 seconds other side, rest 10 seconds
4) Total Body Extensions or Burpees – 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds
5) Cross-Body Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds alternating sides
– Rest 1 minute and repeat 3 more times.

(NOTE: An alternative workout approach would be to make every exercise 30 seconds of work with 15 seconds rest between each…with 30 seconds total for elevated pushups, not per side)
Esther loved the workout for her WH readers, but came back with these follow-up questions. I think you’ll learn a lot, so I’m sharing them…

Q: Do genetics and body shape play a role in whether you’ll see definition? Are some people just never going to have it, even if they’re in shape and have a flat stomach?

Craig’s Politically Incorrect Answer:

Genetics play a role, but NO ONE has such bad genetics that they can’t achieve flat abs. #NoExcuses

Q: If a woman wants ab definition, she should totally forget about crunches, sit-ups, and other core moves and focus on burning calories to get her body fat level down?

Craig’s Answer:

No one should ever do crunches or situps, period. These are damaging to the low-back and relatively useless exercises. Any exercise that causes spinal flexion compresses the discs between the spine…this is what leads to a herniated disc.

Go here for more of my ab training advice

Q: Are some core moves still a good idea–as long as you don’t rely on them to give you ab definition or flat abs?

Craig’s Answer:

You should never give up doing planks, side planks, bird dogs, rollouts, and mountain climbers 1-2 times per week. Building abdominal endurance is mandatory for limiting low back pain.
Everyone should be able to hold a perfect abdominal plank for 2-minutes and a side plank for at least 60 seconds per side. Dr. Stuart McGill found that people who can do this have a much lower risk of low back pain.

That was fun. I hope they invite me back for future contributions, even though my answers were politically incorrect.

If you want to learn more advanced training strategies, join me at my next live seminar in San Diego in June. If you’re a trainer, you can’t miss it.

Reserve Your Spot for Craig’s Bootcamp Workouts in San Diego

See you in the San Diego sunshine,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

PS – Brand NEW way of burning fat coming tomorrow!