3 Best Ways To Reduce Belly Fat: Get A Flat tummy
Regular exercising, in particular abdominal, pelvic and oblique crunches, can help you have a flat tummy minus all the fat that you hate. So, let not your waist waste away into eternity when you can work towards the perfect ABS.
The abdominal muscle (will now be referred to as ABS) is a stretch of muscle called the rectus abdominus (not divided into upper and lower as commonly thought) on either side of the abdomen cavity running from the lower chest to the pelvic area, divided horizontally by a line that runs through the middle called linea alba. The oblique are muscles that run diagonally on the sides of the waist supporting the abs, giving that curvy look in the female anatomy and the well cut look on the men's waist.
The washboard effect starts with learning how to sit, stand, work and walk the best way you can and that is with the ABS contracted AT ALL TIMES. This assists in stabilizing the trunk and correcting bad postural habits. Besides, strong ABS help in keeping the internal organs in place and providing support to the spine.
To sit-up or not to sit-up
It has been said a hundred times: a hundred sit-ups will not a flat tummy make. You HAVE to work off the fat around your tummy by engaging in some form of aerobic exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three to five times a week. Needless to say, fats and sweets should be a NO-NO.
Three reasons why fitness instructors do not recommend sit-ups:
- Besides sit-ups not doing much to the ab muscles, they could damage the back.
- In sit-ups you tend to use momentum rather than your ABS to come upwards so it defeats the purpose of an ab workout.
- Thirdly, to effectively work them, the ab muscles only need to contract to about 30 after which the muscles in the hip flexors take over as prime movers.
Here are the best exercises for the ABS, which can be performed for at least 12-16 of each tempo change (as given below) every alternate day. It is absolutely essential to develop good technique while executing these exercises to give you positive results. Concentrate on contracting the ABS each time you come up rather than the ABS popping out into a bulge which unfortunately will then DEVELOP your ABS into a paunch rather than tone it!
- Basic crunches
This takes care of your upper region of the ab muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet close to your hips, keeping the natural curve of your back. Now lift the shoulders off the floor with the head and neck as steady as possible, chin looking just above the knees (pretend there's a golf ball between the chin and the chest!) On your way up, contract the muscles in your abdominal area and breathe out. Breathe in on your way down without touching the ground and then start crunching again.
A number of variations are possible with the basic crunch, depending on which part of the muscle you want to train. A tempo change would include taking the basic crunch up for 2 and down for 2 OR up for 3 and down OR up and then down for 3. This way you work the same muscle using different contractions and ranges of motion. A good idea is to also develop holding strength by holding the crunch steady at the last count for as long as you can, breathing out, as you do. The same variations can be performed with the legs up, crossed at the ankles to make the workout more challenging.
The position of the arms also help in increasing the intensity of your ab workout - keeping them lightly placed behind the head being the most common and easiest - to placing them above your head, making it most difficult.
A number of people experience pain in the neck area while crunching that goes to show that the technique is not correct. The movement should start from the shoulders upwards NOT from the curling the neck as most of us are likely to do.
- Pelvic raises
These target the lower end of the abdomina muscles. Lie on your back in the same position as mentioned above. Using your ABS, raise your pelvic area up towards the ceiling breathing out as do. The movement can be compared to a wave in the sea, going upwards and inward. Continue the same movement with one leg lifted up towards the ceiling for one set, then change legs. Then lift both legs towards the ceiling and raise the pelvis in tiny movements upwards. This may be difficult at first but with practice you will get it.
- Oblique crunches
Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet resting on the ground, rest the ankle of the left leg over the knee of the right leg. Keeping the left shoulder on the floor, rotate the torso diagonally so that your right shoulder moves towards the left knee, exhaling as you come up.
But while you're at training your midriff to perfection, there are some things you could do to camouflage the love handles - wearing dark colours and trousers or skirts that don't have pleats or gathers at the waist might help. Also using a belt helps in accentuating the waist. Women might like to choose A line blouses or kurtas and men V cut shirts with loose shoulder cuts to take away the emphasis from the waist.
So let not your waist waste away into eternity - YOU CAN work towards the perfect ABS.
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