The most popular question asked in the gym? How do I achieve a flat stomach?Cy
Looking for the toned look this summer?
How to get that 'flat belly'
Everyone is looking to get that flat belly look for summer right? Most people's main focus at this time of the year is to lose weight, sometimes to extreme effect! In fact you can still have a protruding lower belly even with low levels of body fat. If this sounds like you, and you're wondering how to get that last bit of your stomach flat, then this is for you.
1. Training superficial (outer) abdominals before you train your deep abdominals.
Yes it's true the outer abdominals are the ones you'll see first ( the legendary 6 pack) however the 'abs' are not restricted to just this. They are actually a very complex group of muscles each with important roles in the body for every movement we do! The famed 'weight belt' is actually designed to push into the abdomen forcing this muscle to engage first in super heavy movements creating intra abdominal pressure! This stabilises our core and provides us with our platform.
Train deep core muscles first and give them as much attention as superficial abdominal muscles. If you are unsure how to engage these muscles correctly get one of the gym instructors to show you.
quality of reps over quantity
There is a common misconception that performing 100 crunches in a minute or 60 sit ups in 60 seconds is the best method of training this muscle group. Just like any other muscle, the abdominals should be engaged and focused on during every rep through every set. These muscles should engage systematically from the TVA outwards! To do this work the belly button needs to be drawn in towards the spine (vacuum). This provides stability and helps to engage the abdominals properly to help you get the toned stomach you desire. If it's not squeezing and burning then it isn't working. Don't waste a single rep and use your time in the gym efficiently.
Focus on slower squeezing reps whilst drawing the belly in to the spine and exhaling forcefully and fully on the positive contraction phase to better engage the abs.
Cy is very knowledgeable and has helped me immensely with my trainingJohn
Allowing yourself to get tight hip flexors.
The hip flexors is a catch all term, however two main muscles we are talking about here are predominantly the psoas muscle and the tensor fascia latae (TFL). The psoas is the muscle that runs down the front of the leg through the hip and runs straight through to the base of the spine. Because of it's origin and insertion when this muscle becomes inhibited or tight then it will pull on the lower spine causing an anterior tilt. This postural defect causing the bum to stick out excessively and as a result the bottom of the stomach will distend.
Most of us sit down all day which is a huge cause for tight hip flexors. How many of you are sitting down as you read this?! This is a massive issue for the hip flexors which need to be released using myofascial release techniques or through constant daily stretches for the hip flexor. (Half kneeling position stretches tends to do the trick for most).
Stretch! Posture is everything, it's how we are perceived, how we create stability and movement and also dictates how we develop muscularity.If you are unsure how to stretch these muscles ask a gym instructor about hip flexor stretches.
This was written by fitness instructor Cy Cass. Cy has qualifications in sport, nutrition and personal fitness and is based at Falaise Fitness Centre. If you would like any clarification on this article or advice drop him an email at Cy.firstname.lastname@example.org