Tips for a Flatter Belly

Flat absWe have all seen them, and we all want them. But how many crunches must one do to get them? You may have already heard this but you don’t have to do one single crunch to get them. That’s right, no more crunches. Ever. And from what I’ve seen, that’s a relief. Crunches are one exercise that are performed incorrectly most of the time. Clients have complained of neck soreness to neck pulls to no results. So I say, let’s throw that move aside and look at other alternatives that can really deliver!

One of my favorite moves is the plank. For those who are not familiar, the plank tightens your entire body because you’re using all your muscles to help hold you up. It’s great for you abs, your lower back, your arms, your hips, your legs, need I go on? It also helps to improve your balance. And there are so many variations that you won’t get bored with one stale move. Below are some great plank moves that if you’re not doing them already, I highly recommend putting them to use today!

Another consideration is your diet. You may already be doing planks and working the abdominal muscles but you’re not seeing the results you expected. If there is a layer of fat over those abs, then no matter how defined those muscles are, no one is going to see them. Diet is so important I can’t stress it enough. I like to recommend keeping a food journal. I keep one for myself and every day I write down exactly what I’m putting into my body, and you’d be surprised at how that can deter you from eating certain foods. If I want a piece of chocolate (one of my weaknesses!) and I know I’ll have to write it down, it forces me to think before mindlessly scoffing it down. It’s a great motivator because it feels satisfying to look back on your day and see that you made healthy choices instead of caving to the crave! So be mindful of everything that you’re eating and make healthy choices, like eating chicken, fish and plenty of fresh fruits and veggies.

Here are some great plank moves to add to your workout:

The X-Plank: Start in push-up position, legs slightly wider than hips. Lift left arm to shoulder level for a count of 2, keeping abs tight. Slowly lower left arm back to push-up position. Raise right leg to hip level and hold for a count of 2. Slowly lower right leg and raise right arm to shoulder height, hold for a count of 2. Slowly lower arm back down and raise left leg to hip level and hold for a count of 2. That’s one rep. Try for 5 reps.

Rotational Plank: Start in push-up position, legs slightly wider than hips. Lift left leg to hip level. Keep abs tight as you rotate hips to right, bringing left knee toward right arm. Return to start. Do five reps; switch legs; repeat.

Side Plank: Lie on your right side with shoulders, hips and legs stacked, right hand on floor, elbow aligned under right shoulder. Lift hips and slowly extend left arm to the ceiling. Hold for 8 counts. Slowly lower back to the floor and rest for 2 counts. Repeat for 10-12 reps, then switch sides. (To make it harder, lift top leg with top hand and hold).

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About the Author: Anne Marie Constanzo