Flatten Your Tummy
Here are some exercises to get you started on that flat tummy you always wanted.
1. Tummy Hold:
Exhale, and then suck in your stomach as far as you can, hold for about 15 seconds. Relax and breathe. Visualize moving your bellybutton straight toward your back. Holding in your tummy muscles and tensing your abs is a good way of firming and strengthening them. You will also become more aware of how to control your tummy muscles. Repeat several times. This exercise can be done anywhere, anytime.
Lie down on the floor on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Your knees and feet should be hip width apart.
Place your hands gently on the sides of your head for support, with your elbows out so you cannot see them.
With your chin tucked toward your chest, gently curl upward and forward so that your head, neck and shoulder blades lift off the floor and your lower back presses against the floor.
Pause for 2 seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position.
Repeat those stages several times.
Note - do not use your arms to complete the curl. If you can see your elbows, you're cheating. Do not put your feet under anything since this lessens the effectiveness of these types of flat tummy exercises. If this exercise is too difficult for you, then try this next one instead.
Sit-Back Flat Tummy Exercises - if your ab muscles are weak and you have trouble lifting yourself off the floor in #2 above, here is an alternative flat tummy exercise for you:
Start in a sitting position on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor (secure your feet under a piece of furniture).
Make your tummy tight (contract the muscles), and breathe in, then keeping your tummy tight breathe out as you cross your arms over your chest and roll your head and shoulders forward toward your chest.
Gently and slowly lean back, keeping your head and shoulders tucked. Continue until you begin to feel your stomach muscles contracting.
Then try to lean back just a bit more if you can and hold that position until your muscles start shaking. Try to hold this position with your muscles shaking for five seconds, then ease back to the upright sitting position.
Pause for 2 seconds then repeat.
3. The Plank
Lie flat on your stomach
Place your elbows at either side of your chest, and use them to prop the top half of your body up. Grasp your hands together in the front.
Keeping your back perfectly flat, push yourself up onto your knees - so that your upper body is off the floor, with your elbows and knees acting as support.
Keeping your back flat, pull in your tummy button as high as possible - as if to suck it in close to the spine.
Aim to maintain a normal breathing pattern and hold this position for 10 - 60 seconds.
Rest, then repeat.
As you get better with this exercise you can modify it so that instead of pushing up on to your elbows and knees, you push up on to your elbows and toes! It is a lot harder, and will work your tummy harder too.
What is the use of having nice abs if they are covered with body fat and no one can see them? Having great abs may require losing some body fat. Losing body fat means:
Cardio exercise on a regular basis - getting the heartbeat up with fun whole-body workouts several times a week.
Healthy eating habits - eating healthy foods, eliminating sodas/junk food and taking in fewer calories than you burn each day.
Besides flat tummy exercises, strength training for the whole body - any muscle tissue you add will burn extra calories 24/7.
Besides looking great, having great abs is about good health. Visually and physically, the midsection is the center of the body and the foundation of strength. Weak abdominals will leave you weaker looking and vulnerable to lower back pain.
At first, the goal is to build up the basic strength in the ab area with flat tummy exercises. And remember, always check with your health care provider before starting any exercise program. Start out slowly and gradually build up your strength and repetitions.
For great abs and good health, the ideal is to reduce body fat down to no lower than 15-20% for women. Sometimes, doing flat tummy exercises is the easy part, losing excess body fat is the hard part. Eat right, exercise right. It may take time, but don't give up.