In a previous post, we treated 9 tips for a snatched waist Click Here to View and as mentioned in that post, exercise is a vital part of losing belly fat and giving you that trim waist and defined abs that everyone craves.
Granted, popular culture has put flat bellies and sculpted abs on an unnecessarily high pedestal but we have to admit that toned midriffs have benefits that exceed aesthetic beauty.
As the torso (and by extension, the abdomen) helps in lifting the body, a toned midriff and strong core gives one a better posture. Also, large midriffs are an indication of pending heart disease and as such losing belly fat and toning up the abdomen significantly reduces one’s risk of having heart-related issues later in life. In addition, doing abdominal exercises help in alleviating digestive and stomach related issues.
When combined with healthy habits and enough rest, the following exercises help to shrink the belly and define your abs. For best results, do at least 15 reps of 3 sets for each exercise and gradually work your way up to 20 reps of 5 sets. You don’t have to do all the exercises at once. A combination of 3-5 of the listed exercises is enough to bring amazing results.
1. Leg Raise and Hold
It is ideal to start of any set of abdominal exercises with this work out as it effectively loosens up the entire abdominal muscles and prepares them for subsequent and more demanding exercises. The leg raise and hold targets the upper and lower abdomen and helps in strengthening the core.
2. Mountain Climbers
This is a high intensity multidimensional exercise that works the thighs, the arms and the entirety of the abdomen. It also strengthens the core and the back and helps in toning the inner thighs.
3. Jack Knifes
The burn one feels when doing jack knifes tells a lot about its efficacy. This intense work out targets the whole of the abdominal muscles especially the stubborn lower belly area.
While they can be done with the legs lying on the floor, lifting the legs a few inches of the ground gives an additional burn that is ultimately more satisfying and more rewarding.
Planks are the holy grail of abdominal fitness. They are isometric core strengthening exercises. Planks come in different variations, some of which target specific areas of the abdomen. Elbow planks, power planks and plank up (alternating planks) are some plank variations that target the whole abdomen and are comfortable at a novice level.
5. Sit ups (Curl ups)
Another vital abdominal exercise. These are a set of abdominal endurance training exercises which has a wider range of motion that the traditional crunch. Sit ups work the lower and upper and lower muscles and help tighten the core and the abdominal muscles in general.
Although crunches work on your abdomen as a whole, their effects are more pronounced on the upper abdomen. This is why when you only do crunches, you have that defined look at the top of your belly but everything goes haywire below. This doesn’t mean that they are not effective just that It is better to not rely solely on them but rather also incorporate other exercises that target the lower belly. Crunches also help to strengthen your core.
7. Leg Raises with Reach
Leg Raises are a set of very powerful exercises that help in burning even the most stubborn abdominal fat. Leg raises with reach work your upper and lower abdomen and help in defining the indentation of the waist.
8. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This yoga pose works on the spine and back and the entirety of the torso. It helps in shrinking the waistline, keeping the spine firm and flexible and in accentuating one’s silhouette.