Search Site: OnlineNigeria


4 Ways To Flatten your belly

Posted by by Jorge Cruise on 2004/07/25 | Views: 1812 |

4 Ways To Flatten your belly

Too often, people try to flatten their bellies the wrong way. They do just one exercise—often an abdominal crunch—over and over and over again. This is not an efficient way to tone your belly!

Too often, people try to flatten their bellies the wrong way. They do just one exercise—often an abdominal crunch—over and over and over again. This is not an efficient way to tone your belly!

First, abdominal crunches work only one area of your abdomen—the part along the front of your belly above the belly button. Unfortunately, this happens to be the one area of the belly that's often strongest for most people. So crunches simply make an already strong area of the abdomen even stronger, ignoring important weak spots that are the true source of your problem.

Second, I've never met a person who enjoys doing abdominal crunches. My clients have complained to me over and over about how crunches feel awkward and make their necks hurt. I don't believe in forcing yourself to do an exercise that you don't like. To truly create a slender waist and flat belly, you must strengthen your entire abdomen. That means doing moves that address the four core muscles:

The upper rectus abdominus.
This large muscle forms the much-sought-after "six-pack" along the front of your abdomen. Though it appears to be made up of four to six smaller muscles, it's really one large muscle broken up with striations of connective tissue. The rectus abdominus (upper and lower) starts at your sternum in your chest and runs all the way down to your pubic bone. The upper portion of this muscle ends at your navel. This is often the strongest muscle in the abdomen.

The lower rectus abdominus.
Even though your rectus abdominus is actually one sheet of muscle, not two, we trainers often refer to the lower and upper areas as separate units because you must do different exercises to address them. Your lower area is on the front of your belly below the navel. This area is often particularly weak in women after childbirth.

The obliques.
Your obliques are located along the sides of your abdomen. They start at the tip of your hipbones and end at your rib cage. They help you to twist or bend your body from side to side. Strengthening them helps to shrink love handles and slim your waist. Strong obliques are the key to cinching your belt one notch tighter.

The transverse abdominus.
This corset-like muscle wraps around your pelvis, just below your rib cage. It's the muscle you use when you suck in your gut or cough or sneeze. It's also the most neglected of abdominal muscles, primarily because so few traditional moves work this area. Your transverse abdominus is very important because it helps to hold your internal organs in place. It also helps support your lower back and stabilize your torso during certain movements, such as heavy lifting.

A strong transverse abdominus gives you balance and coordination in all of your daily movements. This is why in fitness classes you're told to suck in your belly. That makes you flex your transverse abdominus to support your spine. Few of us use our transverse muscle very much. Because it acts to stabilize your torso, it only works when you are moving. But most of us sit all day long, allowing this muscle to become woefully weak. When it weakens, it doesn't do a good job of holding in your internal organs in place, allowing your abdomen to bulge.

The Exercises
The following exercises address all four belly areas, what I like to call the Core Four. You'll notice that my "Cruise Moves" are a bit different than the typical abdominal exercises you may have seen. In many of my exercises, you will use your body weight to add a stability challenge to your midsection, working not just your abdomen but also your entire core—your back, butt, sides, and abdomen. This is the key to standing taller, stronger, and slimmer. My Cruise Moves will not only help strengthen and beautify your belly, but also help you to function more easily in everyday life.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of these exercises.

Exhale as you contract your abs.
Exhaling when you contract any muscle—for example, during the up phase of a push-up or as you raise your arms during a biceps curl—will help you unleash an extra bit of internal strength to perform the movement. Exhaling during the contraction is particularly important for abdominal moves. Exhaling—even somewhat forcefully—will help in two ways. First, it will help you to better activate your transverse abdominus muscle. Second, if you inhale on the contraction, you risk outwardly shaping your belly muscles. You may still develop strong muscles, but you'll have strong muscles shaped in the wrong position.

Go slowly and deliberately.
Don't rush through these exercises. Slow down and focus your attention on quality and not on quantity. Research shows that you will recruit more muscle fibers the more slowly you move. This will make your sessions more efficient. Second, moving more slowly will help you to concentrate on using proper form and making the most of each movement.

Maintain a neutral spine.
In many of my moves I will suggest that you keep your spine long and straight. This will help protect your lower back and neck. I've noticed that many people think their spine is in the proper position, even when it's not. To find out what a neutral spine feels like, stand with your back and shoulders against the wall. Because of the natural S-curve in your spine, your lower back and neck won't be completely against the wall. However, everything else—including your ribs, shoulders, and head—should be against the wall. This is proper spinal alignment. Try to use it in most of your moves.

The Core Four
MOVE 1: Seated Vacuum (works the transverse abdominus)

MOVE 2: Seated Crossover (works the upper rectus abdominus)

MOVE 3: Seated Torso Rotation (works the obliques)

MOVE 4: Captain's Chair (works the lower rectus abdominus)

Best-selling author Jorge Cruise has more than 3 million weight loss clients at his Web site. His latest book is 8 Minutes in the Morning to a Flat Belly (Rodale Inc. 2004).

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :

Add Comment

* Required information
Captcha Image

Comments (1)

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.