How do I Choose the Best Abdominal Toning System?

Ally Colby

There are so many different abdominal toning systems available, each one promising to fulfill your six-pack dreams, that just choosing one can seem a greater task than the exercises themselves. Different people will sometimes see different results with the same system, and there is no one system that will work best for everyone. When you are trying to choose the abdominal toning system that's best for you, consider the specific types of moves and techniques, whether or not the system includes stretching and aerobic exercise, and whether or not the system's time requirements fit into your schedule.

Abdominal exercises can build muscle, but do not have much affect on fat content.
Abdominal exercises can build muscle, but do not have much affect on fat content.

Whichever exercise regimen you choose, it typically should feature a thorough and well-explained warm-up and cool-down period, complete with stretches. This is important for avoiding injury and for reducing general post-workout soreness. That way, you will typically feel ready for your next workout session sooner.

Abdominal exercises that utilize twisting motions can give good results.
Abdominal exercises that utilize twisting motions can give good results.

When considering different abdominal toning systems, look for a system that includes cardiovascular or aerobic exercise in addition to toning exercises. Spot-toning — trying to tone up one area of the body — is usually not highly effective. While abdominal exercises can improve muscle tone, they cannot burn off any layers of fat that may be covering the muscles. Aerobic exercise burns off fat to reveal the sculpted stomach beneath.

Any good abdominal toning system will generally feature exercise moves or techniques that require all of the abdominal muscles to work together. A routine or system that is purportedly designed to tone lower abs only is counterproductive, as is a system that focuses solely on the obliques. The muscles of the abdomen are meant to work together naturally. Isolating a single group of muscles in the abs can overdevelop that muscle group while neglecting the others, thereby leaving them weak and flabby.

There is more to ab toning than just crunches. It is quite rare for a person to mimic the motion of a lower-ab-specific exercise like a crunch in any activity beyond exercising. Abdominal exercises that feature twisting motions tend to provide better results, because they are more similar to the motions that the abdominal muscles naturally make. Exercises that require you to keep your balance also involve your abs, because your core works to stabilize your body. You typically should look for abdominal toning systems that feature these types of exercises.

Effective abdominal toning systems include exercises for the back of the body. Strong back muscles act to pull in the abdomen, thereby acting almost like a natural corset. In addition, strengthening the back can improve posture. Slouchy posture can contribute to a bloated belly appearance.

Look for an abdominal toning system that has options for both modifications and progressions as necessary. If you are a novice exerciser or have any injuries or other physical limitations, you may not feel comfortable attempting the full version of every move in the routine. In that case, you generally will want a system that provides modified, easier versions of the move to begin with. After a few months of following the toning system, you might feel so fit and strong that the original exercises become too easy for you. When this happens, you will want the toning system to advance with you by offering more difficult variations on the exercises, or even different, progressive routines.

You typically will want to consider the amount of time required to adhere to the abdominal toning system you are interested in trying. The time requirements can vary quite a bit. You generally will want to feel confident that you can fit the system into your schedule. Also, decide whether you are interested in toning up at home or plan on going to a gym. This could help you determine whether or not you'll have access to any toning equipment the system requires.

Typically, the most important element to consider when choosing an abdominal toning system is whether or not you enjoy it enough to stick with it. This consideration is often overlooked, as aspiring exercise enthusiasts get swept up in the promises an abdominal toning system makes. Convinced that they have at last found the secret to a toned tummy, they forget to stop and ask themselves if they really are going to get up early every morning and do the required exercises. Naturally, there will be times when you have to drag yourself through a workout, but if you simply cannot adhere to an abdominal toning regimen, there is no use in beginning it because you likely will not be able to finish it. Hard work and consistency can be key, no matter what ab toning routine you choose.

It is not necessary to use fancy equipment to tone the belly.
It is not necessary to use fancy equipment to tone the belly.

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