Want a flat tummy? Want to lose your muffin top?
Well, first off, you can’t ‘spot reduce’, but you can tighten and tone the muscle below that layer of fat, if you clean up your diet before you know it: Viola! Your abs will show.
I want to dispel some of the ‘old school’ ab training methods and give you some alternatives.
I hope you already know this but the sit up, especially with hooked feet, will tax the hip flexors more than the abdominals. Your abs, or the rectus abdominus, will fire, and you’ll get a burn in your abs, but you also potentially can strain the back, especially if you add any weight to the movement. As well, your possibly too-tight-hip flexors will carry the majority of the load.
Have you seen people do weighted side bends? This, I expect is an effort to lose the love handles. Any weighted side bends are also on the ‘nay’ list. The spine isn’t designed to sustain the sheer that this movement causes. Again, the impetus for potential back strain is there.
How about those ab machines? Any machine that has your legs locked in a position while you do forward or side flexion is potential for back injury.
Are you catching what I’m pitching here? Your back can be seriously strained while your abdominals aren’t seriously taxed while doing some of the ‘old school’ ab training methods. The risk to benefit ratio is far too high with these movements.
Another reason these exercises aren’t very effective is that they may the abdominal wall, but more likely, they work muscles like the hip flexors (usually already too tight due to excessive sitting).
The quiet and shy muscle, the transverse abdominus will not fire under these loaded positions.
Let me introduce you to the transverse abdominus, hidden under those other ab muscles…
The transverse abdominus is a muscle that, when strong, aids with core stability and reducing back pain and strain.
Pilates is an excellent way to strengthen, tighten and tone your core safely. Check out my friend, Sylvia’s solution to safe ab training:
If you want more cool moves from Sylvia, check them out HERE