How to Lose Upper Abdominal Weight

How to Lose Upper Abdominal Weight

There are two main types of fat distribution on the human body: the android and the gynoid. The android body type distributes fat around the upper midsection of the body (the upper abdominals), while the gynoid type accumulates fat around the lower body (hips and thighs). These terms were coined by French doctor Jean Vague in 1947, who observed that body fat distribution can be linked to severe health issues. Upper abdominal weight has been linked to heart disease, bad cholesterol, stroke, and the metabolic syndrome X (see resources). Need to lose? Try these tips and exercises to lose upper abdominal weight and decrease health risks.

Burn more calories than you consume. This age-old weight-loss mantra is essential for losing abdominal weight. Exercising will improve your ab muscles, but changing your diet is the only safe way to lose the fat that hides them. Don't go on a crash diet, though; it'll hurt you in the long run. Eat a small meal every three hours, filling your plate with lean proteins, whole-wheat carbs and veggies.

Work out on an empty stomach. That way, your body will burn fat instead of whatever carbs you just ate. Drink plain water to stay hydrated during your ab workout, and fuel up afterward on quick-digesting proteins and carbohydrates.

Ready for upper abdominal exercises? The traditional crunch may sound boring, but it's effective if done right. Lie on your back with your legs bent. Place your hands LIGHTLY behind your neck. Press your spine into the floor, pull your bellybutton in towards your spine, and lift yourself up. Make sure you're lifting with your abdominals, and not your arms or neck. Hold the crunch for a few seconds, and then slowly move back down. Don't let your shoulders touch the floor---start the next crunch! If you do them correctly, you can do fewer crunches and see better results.

Try these variations on the traditional crunch. For the "butterfly crunch," lie on your back and bend your knees, then let your legs fall out to your sides (they should be forming a rough diamond shape). Lift as usual. For the "bicycle crunch," bring your knees to your chest. Instead of lifting your upper body straight forward, lift and twist to the right, touching your left elbow to your right knee, while simultaneously straightening your left leg. Return to starting position, and then twist to the left.

Sit on the floor, feet flat and knees bent. Clasp your hands and stretch your arms out in front of you. Lean back until you're approximately 45 degrees from the floor, keeping your back straight. Twist your torso to the right as far as you can, moving your hands in the same direction. Return to the starting position, slowly, and twist to the other side.

Try the yoga Plank pose for strong upper abdominals. Lie stomach-down on the floor, and push yourself up as though you're about to do a push-up. Only your toes and hands should be touching the floor. Keep your back straight and your body elongated. Pull your bellybutton back toward your spine, and hold this position for 30 seconds. Relax, stretch, and repeat.

The Boat pose is another great yoga move for the upper abs. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, and lean your torso back as in Step 5. Now, stretch your legs away from your body and hold them at a 45-degree angle from the floor. Your whole body should be forming a V. Hold your arms straight, hands lightly touching your knees. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds.

The Captain's Chair is an abdominal exercise machine found at gyms, but you can replicate it at home. Sit on the edge of a kitchen chair, feet on the floor, with your back as straight as possible. Hold onto the sides of the chair. Slowly bring your feet towards your chest, tightening your abs as you do so. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your feet back towards the floor.