If the ubiquity of cutout swimsuits and two-piece dresses is any indication, the stomach seems to be the center of attention this summer. Rather than using basic crunches as a means to feel comfortable and confident in your own skin, a new study suggests that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) targeting your abs is the way to go.
The study, published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, had 39 healthy adults do four workouts a week for eight weeks. Twenty-three of the volunteers did regular gym training during the study while the remaining 16 completed regular gym training twice a week plus HIIT on the remaining two days.
Throughout the study, the researchers measured total body fat in addition to visceral fat, which is the fat that is stored around the stomach and surrounds important internal organs including the liver, pancreas, and intestines. "Storing higher amounts of visceral fat is associated with increased risks of a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer," explains Diabetes.com. The researchers also noted indicators of physical health, including speed, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory fitness.
While both exercises were effective, the HIIT workouts "resulted in significantly greater reduction in both abdominal girth and visceral adiposity compared with conventional training," reads the study. In other words, HIIT is the best possible workout you can do if you want to improve your overall health and shape up your abs.
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Read up on the HIIT workouts that burn more calories than a three-mile run, and share your thoughts on the study below!