Published: 08/30/2015 - Updated: 12/28/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Getting a smaller belly and sculpting your waist is something a lot of people try to do these days. Women dream about having a tiny waist and a flat stomach. Fortunately, exercise can help get you the figure you have always wanted.
We know that exercise is a great ally for trying to lose weight, but it is also excellent for shaping your figure. One of the areas that generally accumulates the most fat is the abdominal area. Lack of tone and strength in this area will cause the belly to look puffy and unattractive. It also makes you vulnerable to developing other diseases, like those related to metabolic syndrome (hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, etc)
Abs are excellent for toning and working the belly, but if you have fat accumulated in the area, you will also need to follow a weight loss diet, and a bit of aerobic exercise to burn the fat.
Exercise to reduce your belly and shape your waist
The following recommended exercises are perfect for people that want to get a firm, defined waist. Abdominal muscles are the center of gravity for the body, they are our axis, and they improve posture.
They also help fight back pain and improve posture, compensating for work that the back might have to do. But if you suffer from prior back injuries, you need to chose exercises that are appropriate for developing your ab muscles. Ab workouts could at times be counterproductive.
Strong ab muscles also protect organs in the abdominal cavity. And last but not least, abs help improve breathing, which is reflected in the whole body.
Good posture for doing abs
In order to do abs, we recommend that you lay down on a comfortable surface, like an exercise mat. You need to make sure you have the appropriate posture for preventing injury. Key points to good posture include the back, the neck, arms, legs and feet.
Back: Whenever you lay down, your back should retain its natural curvature for starting the routine. Make sure that you have good posture by sliding your arm under the lower part of your back. Once you can do this, hold the position.
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Neck: Your neck should be relaxed. Try to keep your chin lightly up while laying down, and when you bend up your chin should point slightly towards your chest, but always avoid tensing your next when you bend.
Arms: Your arms should be positioned behind your head, and your elbows should be fairly far apart from each other. Your shoulders shouldn’t scrunch up when you do your exercise. If this happens, you might be using muscles other than your abs.
Legs: Before starting your exercise, bend your legs and keep them in this position when exercising. Try to separate your knees to prevent over straining your hip flexor.
Feet: Support the soles of your feet comfortably on the floor. Avoid lifting your feet, or raising your heels unknowingly while doing your abs.
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This exercise helps reduce the belly and strengthens abdominal muscles.
- Lay down on a comfortable surface, spreading your hands out behind your hand. Keep your arms flat, elbows apart.
- Contract your ab muscles, feeling your ans tense.
- Raise your head and lift your back from the floor. Focus your effort on your abs. Avoid making abrupt movements, or pulling your head with your hands. Pause between each rep.
Start with a series of 6 reps, and increase by two per week until you reach 15 to 18 reps.
Abs with crossed arms
Start in the same position as the previous exercise, but cross your arms across your chest, making an “x”. Place your hands over your shoulders. This position will make your results noticeable more quickly, and it makes your muscles work more. Be careful not to strain your neck, however.
In order to work your lower abs, which helps greatly at reducing your belly size, you need to do another series of exercises.
- Lay down face up on a comfortable surface. Rest your arms beside your body.
- Cross bent legs and push them towards your body, raising your legs and moving your knees toward your chest.
- Try to concentrate the effort in your abdominal area, and avoid tensing your neck at each rep.
Exercise for working the obliques
- Lay down on a comfortable surface, bend your legs, raise your left leg over your right knee, resting your ankle on the knee.
- Raise your hands to the height of your head, separating your arms wide.
- Move your body to the right, moving your shoulder to your right knee, then relaxing after you lower. Do 8 reps and change sides. Next time, bend your right leg over your left.
Do two series of 8 reps per side.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/28/2017
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