Hundreds of exercises and complicated pieces of equipment tend to claim to ‘iron out’ your stomach yet you can spend months doing them and not see any results. Keep reading to find out what really works to flatten out your stomach.
First of all, it is important to keep in that that the abdominal exercises aimed to tone your tummy and create that ‘six-pack’ look do not remove flab. You can exercise your abs nonstop and have rock-hard muscles, but if you’ve got a layer of fat covering them, they’ll never be able to see them. And, vice versa, if you have a flat abdomen but don’t exercise, your tummy will lack tone and definition.
This doesn’t mean, however, that abdominal exercises are not worthwhile unless you’ve got a supermodel-flat stomach. On the contrary, they help to strengthen your core and in doing so, encourage good posture; plus, if you’re on a weight-loss program, reducing fatty tissue and strengthening muscle will boost your metabolism, and this will mean that when your stomach is flatter, it will have better tone and definition.
Build Up Your Abs
The abdomen consists of one long segmented muscle, but has three parts: the upper abdominal, the lower abdominal and the side abdominal. Each one has two corresponding ‘sides’ and this makes the ‘six-pack’ definition we’ve come to recognize. The deepest abdominal muscle, the one that holds the whole six-pack together, is known as the transverses abdominal.
Another question concerns whether or not you really want one: it’s possible to have a toned, flat stomach without the six-pack look and it’s also possible to look overly muscular with one. The best plan is to exercise your abs until you like what you see, then switch to a ‘maintenance’ regime: when you’re building up your abs you should, as with any major muscle group, exercise them only every other day; for a maintenance program, switch to three times a week.
Tightening the abdominal muscles without increasing muscle mass elsewhere (particularly on the back) can cause shoulders to roll forward and round your upper back, which will lead to back pain and posture problems. The key to avoiding these and to get the most from your workout-is making sure that your abs are engaged that is contracted (by pulling your tummy in) during your workout.
Breathing properly is important as well, you should exhale when you’re doing the work (the part where your abs are being squeezed). Also, keep in mind not to arch or flatten your back during any lying down exercises, there should be a gap of at least a figure’s width between the small of your back and the floor. You should do your abdominal exercises towards the end of your workout when you’ve already targeted other muscle groups-otherwise they will be too tired to do their job properly supporting the rest of the body.
Trim Your Waistline
It’s not all about abs, though. Some of us just want our waistlines to look a bit trimmer, and if that’s you, consider stretches (on top of a general aerobic-i.e.-burning- workout). Pilates is a good system for waist-toning because it concentrates on the ‘core’, and also often involves stability balls-those large, inflatable grown-up beach balls that you often find in gyms. Good gym exercises include sitting on the ball with one foot on the floor and the other stretched out in front, holding for a count of ten and then swapping over.
Who doesn’t like having fun while exercising? Bring back the hula hoop! The hula hoop movement rotates the hoop around the hips and waist using circular trunk movements, targeting the abs, hips, and waist. Also, because the movements are circular and not linear, the body works in all directions, allowing the arms to stay the same distance apart. Plus, it’s just plain fun!
If you are in New York City and interested in joining an all woman’s boot camp please visit NYC ADVENTURE BOOT CAMP, mention that you found us through our blog for and extra 15% off a membership. Come work out like a GIRL!!!
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