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One question that I get all the time here on Tone and Tighten is “How can I flatten my abs?” or some variation of it…
“How can I shrink my stomach?”
“How can I tone my midsection?”
“My baby was born 1 year ago; what are the best exercises to get my stomach flat again?”
Well today you’re in luck! I’m sharing with you the ONE secret that you can incorporate into EVERY core exercise that will ultimately leave you with a flatter stomach.
We’re talking TA activation as well as sharing 4 of the best exercises to suck in your stomach and tone your tummy. This one should be a lot of fun! Here we go…
Push play on the video below to see your secret to a flatter stomach and 4 great exercises that are going to help you get there!
Before we get too far into this core workout, a little anatomy lesson is in order.
Your abdominal wall is made up of 4 muscles layered on top of each other. You’re outer “layers” are composed of your external obliques, internal obliques, and rectus femoris muscles. While these are great muscles to work and vital to having a strong core, if you really want to FLATTEN your stomach the most important muscle is going to be the transverse abdominis (TA). This is the deepest layer of your core muscles and the muscle responsible for “sucking in” your stomach.
Unfortunately the TA is one of the most often-overlooked and under-trained muscles in our body. Think of it this way – a strong muscle is a tight muscle. The best way to tighten our stomach is to strengthen the muscle that’s responsible for “holding everything in”.
That being said, your crucial, vital, essential, mandatory, must-do, key move for the following (and really ANY) core exercises you’re going to is this…
Suck in your stomach!
I tell people “use your muscles to pull your belly button in to your spine”. This is a great visual for activating that TA and holding it in tight while you’re doing any of these exercises (or any core exercises, really!).
This will result in a stronger abdominal muscle contraction, a stronger TA, and ultimately a flatter stomach.
No let’s get to work!
SUCK IN YOUR STOMACH, get up on your elbows and toes, and hold your back nice and straight. Keep your stomach sucked in while up in the plank position,
20 – 45 second hold
2. Bicycle Crunch
Put your hands behind your head and extend your legs out straight. SUCK IN YOUR STOMACH and pull your right knee up while rotating your left knee down. Return to the starting position and then repeat with left knee/right elbow.
3. Double Straight Leg Raise
Lay on your back with your legs out straight. SUCK IN YOUR STOMACH and use your abs to pull your straight legs up towards the ceiling. Slowly lower them back to the starting position; try to keep your stomach sucked in and your back flat throughout the motion.
4. Jackknife Sit Up
Lay on your back with your hands over your head. SUCK IN YOUR STOMACH and raise your feet towards the ceiling while lifting your torso up off the ground in a sit-up motion. At the top of the motion your feet should be angled towards the ceiling and your hands reaching towards your feet. Slowly return to the starting position; remember to keep your stomach sucked in throughout the motion.
There you have them! 4 great exercises and on essential move to a stronger, flatter stomach.
Regarding tightening your stomach, unfortunately there’s no substitute for a good diet. You can plank, crunch, and Russian twist all day long but the bottom line is the flatness of your stomach relies mostly on the food you’re eating.
If your diet could use a little help we’ve got your covered! Check out two of my favorite menu plans below and click the links to see more details and to get your copy today!
- Assembled by a registered dietician
- Breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner recipes for 14 days
- Each day’s total calories adds up to 1500 calories
- Click here to learn more!
- 30 days of breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner recipes
- Delicious recipes that the whole family will enjoy
- Easy, build-it-yourself menu planning format
- Click here to learn more!
And if you need a little more help with working out more regularly I’ve got you covered there, too! Check out our “30 For 30” home workout series by clicking the links below…
- 30 Unique workouts you can do at home
- Each workout is 30 minutes or less
- CLICK HERE to learn more!
Make it happen,