There is one common problem area on most women – the dreadful pooch. Even when a woman’s body fat is low, they can still have a rounded tummy. Why? Because their muscles aren’t strong enough to hold their tummy flat.
Picture the ab muscles acting like tie down straps. As you engage your core muscles and tighten your tummy, it’s like cranking on the ratchet to pull everything in. As your muscles get stronger, it is easier to hold your tummy flat. But, if your abdominal muscles are weak, you only can hold your stomach flat for a few seconds or minutes – and some people can’t even pull the tummy in at all.
The more you work your abdominals, and engage the core, the stronger and tighter those muscles will get, making it easier to hold your stomach. Sit ups and crunches are always the go-to exercise, but there is one exercise that is often left out of routines that trains your core to improve posture, tighten the waistline, and flatten the stomach all in one exercise – it’s called a plank.
You’ll never work so hard staying so still.
It’s funny how holding a position still is so much work. Your arms will tremble, your core will burn, your body will wobble around and your body will drip with sweat. You’ll grunt, moan and pant – and you’re eyes will be glued to the clock until it reaches 0 so you can have relief. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Give it a try today.
Try to do all three rounds with NO rest (don’t even let your knees or hips drop once). If you MUST rest, set rules, like only allow 5 seconds rest after round one. Set goals each time you do this workout. Slowly increase your time from 30 seconds each to 40 seconds each, etc until you reach 1 minute each for 3 rounds. This workout can always be amped up by increasing length of time, or number of rounds.
My #1 Flat Abs Tip is NOT an exercise. We crunch, sit up, lift, squeeze and burn our abs up hoping to make improvements, but there is one extremely important thing many people don’t do when they leave the gym that can sabotage it all – they don’t hold their stomach in.
Of course Uma Thurman, photographed left a few years ago, is not a fat girl by any means. But if she had been standing up tall and holding her stomach in, she would have even looked more slender and fit. Unfortunately the paparazzi caught her in a not-so-glamorous pose and now this photo continues to float around the internet, which stemmed the question “is this just another weird bikini shot or could she be pregnant?”
The idea behind training your abs is not JUST to build cubes of muscle that show through the skin and look like the coveted six-pack everyone dreams of having, but ab exercises also shorten and tighten the muscles which flatten the stomach. However, if you leave the gym only to eat huge meals that expand the stomach area, stretching back out the muscles, you are defeating the purpose of an awesome ab workout.
Here are a few things you can do outside the gym to train your abs to stay nice and flat.
6 Tips to Getting (and KEEPING) Flat Abs:
2.) Keep meals small. If you’ve ever eaten a HUGE meal, you know how difficult it is to hold your stomach in. It’s MUCH easier to do this when you keep your meals and snacks small and manageable.
3.) Avoid loose clothes. Lose clothes say to me “relax! be sloppy! Let it all hang out!” Fitted clothes say “Shape up! Stand up straight! Suck it in! If you want to be held accountable, let your clothes help!
4.) Check yourself. Many times we don’t realize just how poor our posture is and how little we really are maintaining a flat tummy. Look in the mirror and use your muscles (opposed to just sucking wind like kids do when trying to hold their tummy in) to flatten your stomach. Hold that for as long as you can. At first you may not be able to hold it for long, but eventually your muscles will get stronger and tighter
5. ) Create triggers & reminders. Your body learns it’s resting tone. For instance, have you ever seen how a cop walks aroundwith their arms bowed out? That’s a learned behavior as they have to position their arms where it doesn’t swing and hit their gun belt. Over time, their body assumes this new position as their resting tone. You can do the same thing with your stomach. The more you practice it, the more you remind yourself with notes and set triggers, the sooner your body will learn this new posture as it’s resting posture and it will just become a natural position for you.
6.) Practice good posture. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to keep your stomach flat if your hips are rolled under and your shoulders are hunched over. Try it! Go look in the mirror and see how your your entire posture effects your belly. Elongate your body, flatten your stomach, stretch out your neck nice and tall, stand up straight, roll your shoulders back, lift your chest up, and curve your hips out (which delivers a nice perky looking bottom) – and see how much better you look!! Practice makes perfect!
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