There are countless exercise tools advertised on TV that claim to tone abs and flatten stomach muscles. Today's advertising would make you believe that it is impossible to flatten your abs at home without the aid of these tools. Between ab rollers, exercise balls and electric toning belts, having a flat stomach can seem very expensive and difficult. If you are targeting the right areas, though, you can achieve a flat stomach in your own home.
Your stomach is made up of a grouping of abdominal muscles. The obliquus externus is the muscle you achieve to see separated into four quadrants if you are in shape. The transversus abdominis, another outer muscle, can be seen stretching around your sides of your stomach. Toning this muscle will avoid the "spare tire" look many individuals have around their stomachs.
Place a towel or blanket on the floor. A hard, flat surface is the best place to tone your abs. You will want to focus on first your obliquus externus, then your transversus abdominis. Finally, you will tone and stretch all of your stomach muscles together. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place both palms underneath your head and lift your head and upper body off the ground until your stomach muscles engage. Repeat between 30 and 100 times. Place your right foot on your left knee. Repeat crunches in this position to work the transversus abdominis between 30 and 100 times on each leg. Next, lift both legs in the air and meet your chin to your thighs on each crunch. Repeat 50 times.
Stretch between exercises to minimize soreness. Lie flat on your back and hug your knees for several seconds. Then, rotate your lower body to the left side, while rotating your upper body slightly to the left. Hold this position for one minute. Rotate your lower body to the right side, while rotating your upper body to the right. Hold this position for one minute. Kneel on the floor, and curve your back over your knees with your head on the floor in front of you. Hold this position for as long as you feel comfortable.
The increase in heart rate associated with exercising is beneficial for losing weight and toning muscles. When you achieve a flat stomach, you will not feel bloated as easily and will be inspired to eat less to maintain your flat stomach. If you have a large, bloated stomach or are overweight, ab work alone may not help you get a completely flat stomach. See a doctor if you have any unusual stomach bloating.
Do not attempt these exercises if you have back problems, neck problems, or difficulty exercising. If you'd like to start exercising regularly, but you're not sure how to start, contact your local gym and they will set up a trainer to get you started. If you are exercising at home and you hurt yourself, call a doctor immediately. Never lift weights or perform any other strenuous exercise while you alone. If you're in doubt, ask a spotter to watch if you're doing the exercise correctly.
- Photo Credit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/scottsnyde
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