As we embark on the tummy-tightening dash to the summer body finish line, we enlisted Kirsten King, co-director at Fluidform Pilates to share with us the best five exercises for a flat stomach.
Do you know where your obliques are and have you been training them?
Let me start by saying no exercises alone will achieve a flat stomach but the combination of a healthy diet and the below exercises will see a dramatic difference in your stomach.
Our mid section (particularly in females) is the hardest area to tone but don’t let it stop you because it can be done, so don’t give up before you have started. Commit to completing the below 5 exercises each day until Spring and watch your tummy transform.
When people think of tummy’s, they often are only concerned about the front of the stomach or the “six pack.” When in fact you will never achieve a totally flat stomach without training your oblique muscles as well. Therefore we have created a sequence of exercises to work the entire mid section in different planes of movement.
Kirsten’s Top 5 Exercises to help achieve a flat stomach.
Before you get started on the below exercises I would like you to get a tennis ball. The tennis ball is going to balance on your belly button for the duration of the below exercises. The purpose of the tennis ball on the belly button is to ensure that you are correctly using your internal abdominals and not training into your external abdominals. A flat tummy can only be achieved if recruiting and drawing your internal muscles towards your spine and away from the tennis ball. Your challenge is to balance the tennis ball on your belly button from start to finish.
1. Chest Lift
(Legs in table top or Legs extended at a 45 degree angle)
Place your hands at the base of your skull, inhale to prepare and as you exhale gently move your chin towards your chest as you peel your head and shoulders off the ground. Inhale to return to the ground.
Repeat 15 times
Repeat the same movement as above but twist your armpit to opposite hip.
Continue to move from side to side without resting your shoulders down.
Repeat 10 each side.
3. Reverse curl ups
(This exercise is the best for flattening the area under the belly button – or as I like to call it the “speed bump”)
Start lying on your back with your legs extended at a 45 degree angle.
Repeat same movement as the chest lift but as you curl this time bend your knees and pull your legs in towards your chest.
As you lie down extend your legs back out to the starting position (legs extended).
Repeat 15 times.
(Endurance in the abdominals)
Lift yourself into the chest lift position, reach your hands past your bottom and begin to gently move your arms up and down for 100 counts.
If you can stay lifted for the entire 100 counts.
(Mountain Climber, Brazilian and Spiderman) (This combination also adds an element of overall core connection and heart rate)
Make sure with plank that your weight is evenly distributed between your 4 points. Your 2 hands and your 2 feet. Also make sure that your hands are under your shoulders and you are pushing back through your heels.
To perform Mountain Climber maintain plank while you pull one leg/knee forward towards your chest. Keep knees parallel and repeat 10 each side.
To Perform Brazilian do the same as above but move your knee towards your opposite armpit and repeat 10 each side. Finally to perform Spiderman, maintain Plank while you bend your knee up the outside of your body towards your shoulder. Repeat 10 each side.
Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for achieving long, lean muscles or in this case, flat and sculpted muscles. These muscles will not only flatten your stomach but they will have a noticeable impact on your posture too.
3 things to remember, breath, start small (build towards larger repetitions as you get stronger) and always work without pain in your back. We need to teach our abdominals how to work correctly to achieve the best results.