Now that spring seems to finally be back in our lives, many people are concerned about losing those few extra pounds of chub which stand between them and a sculpted midriff. Those folks who let themselves go a little in the winter months may be working overtime now that it is April and thoughts of bikinis are dancing in their heads. The good news is that there are, of course, stomach exercises to speed along the process. Some are better than others, including these few, which are good specifically for trimming belly fat. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.
For this stomach exercise, you will need to lie on your back on a flat surface, such as the floor. Use a mat or towel to cushion your spine. Put your arms at your sides with palms facing up to the ceiling. Put your legs straight up in the air so that the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling and your legs make about a ninety degree angle with your torso. Keep your knees unbent and as straight as possible. Now, contract your ab muscles so that it feels like your belly button is being pulled toward your spine, while at the same time gently lifting your hips off the floor. Raise your hips to height of a few inches, keeping your legs extended straight upward. Hold this position, then slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set.
Stay on the floor for this stomach exercise, getting into a seated position. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Position your feet about hip width apart. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, interlocking your fingers. Contract your abdominals and lean back about forty-five degrees. Holding the contraction, rotate your torso as far to one side as you are comfortably able. Use your abdominals to control this motion so that your upper body moves at once, do not lead with your arms. Remember to keep your arms in from of you with fingers locked-- pretend you are aiming an imaginary gun. Once you have rotated as far as you feel comfortable, rotate back to center, then to the other side. Repeat these steps for an entire set. Take care to go slow and keep a controlled movement. Do not allow your momentum to twist you.
Using resistance bands can be an effective component of any workout routine, and stomach exercises are no exception. There are a number of exercises targeting the midsection that incorporate resistance bands. Resistance bands come in a variety of difficulties, usually indicated by the color of the band itself (e.g., green can be little resistance, yellow may be medium, red for difficult, etc.). Choose a resistance level that is appropriate for you, then move up as necessary. Do not overdo it by immediately grabbing the most advanced band you can find, as this can lead to injury. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.
This exercise provides the same benefits as the basic abdominal crunch, but with less neck strain and without the possible discomfort that comes with lying on the floor, since it uses a band rather than gravity to provide resistance. For this stomach exercise, you will need to be sitting in a straight back chair which you can somehow loop your band through. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and about as wide apart as your hips. Contract your abdominal muscles, and slowly bend forward to about a forty-five degree angle. Repeat for an entire set. Be sure to keep your feet on the floor and your back as straight as possible.
Put the chair away and stand up, again with feet hip width apart. Put your hands above your head, holding the band about eighteen inches apart. Keeping your left hand overhead, bring your right hand out to the side, elbow bent at about a ninety degree angle. Hold your left arm still as you contract your abdominals and lower your right arm until your hand is in line with your chest. Hold this position, then slowly return. Repeat for an entire set, then switch hands. Keep your back straight and avoid bending or leaning at the waist. For an additional challenge, do this exercise standing on one foot. Perform the exercise with both hands while standing on your left foot, then do it all again on your right foot.
For this stomach exercise, you will need to sit on a flat surface, preferably the floor. Use a mat or towel for cushioning to ease possible strain on your tail bone. Sit down with your legs bent and heels on the floor. Your toes should be pointing up-- do not put your feet flat on the floor. Loop the band around your feet, put one end in each hand and put your hands together. In a rolling motion, lower your torso toward the floor about forty-five degrees. As you do this, twist to the right and spread your hands to the sides. Hold for a second, then rotate back to the middle and raise your torso back to start. Your heels should remain on the floor throughout the exercise. Do a full set, then switch to the left side.
There are plenty of stomach exercises out the for those who want to shape their core and strengthen their midsection. This may be both a blessing and a curse. It is easy to find plenty of exercises and routines that work the midsection, but how does one know which ones are any good? Well, listed here are what appear to be some of the best around, according to recommendations by fitness experts. If you want to work on your stomach, but are not sure where to start, then this "all-star team" may be a good jumping off point. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.
Regular crunches are great for working the rectus abdominus (the muscles at the front of your stomach), but they do very little for the transverse abdominal muscles deeper in the midsection, plus they tend to put strain on your back and neck. This first exercise corrects that, working the transverse muscles with no back or neck strain. Essentially, it involves trying to pull the belly button in towards the spine. This can be tricky, as it involves using muscles which you may not be used to activating. To start, either lie or on your stomach or kneel. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible, then try to use only the lower abdominals to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. The goal is to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, let the contraction out.
Remain on your back for this stomach exercise. Put your arms at your sides with palms facing up to the ceiling. Put your legs straight up in the air so that the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling and your legs make about a ninety degree angle with your torso. Keep your knees unbent and as straight as possible. Now, contract your ab muscles so that it feels like your belly button is being pulled toward your spine, while at the same time gently lifting your hips off the floor. Raise your hips to height of a few inches, keeping your legs extended straight upward. Hold this position, then slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set.
For this stomach exercise, remain on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lie back and extend your arms straight back on the floor as though you are reaching above your head. Contract your abs and slowly lift your arms, head and shoulders off the floor to about a thirty degree angle. Hold it, then slowly lower your shoulders back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set. Be careful not to lead with your arms, keeping them straight and alongside your head.
Some other honorable mentions include the vertical leg crunch, torso twists, and any Pilates routine that emphasizes the core. Feel free to research some of these exercises more once you have mastered the three above. Now that you are armed with some of the better stomach exercises, you are on your way to a trimmer tummy!