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The Stomach Exercise All-Star

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There are plenty of stomach exercises out the for those who want to shape their core and strengthen their midsection. This may be both a blessing and a curse. It is easy to find plenty of exercises and routines that work the midsection, but how does one know which ones are any good? Well, listed here are what appear to be some of the best around, according to recommendations by fitness experts. If you want to work on your stomach, but are not sure where to start, then this “all-star team” may be a good jumping off point. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.

 

Crunchless Crunch

Regular crunches are great for working the rectus abdominus (the muscles at the front of your stomach), but they do very little for the transverse abdominal muscles deeper in the midsection, plus they tend to put strain on your back and neck. This first exercise corrects that, working the transverse muscles with no back or neck strain. Essentially, it involves trying to pull the belly button in towards the spine. This can be tricky, as it involves using muscles which you may not be used to activating. To start, either lie or on your stomach or kneel. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible, then try to use only the lower abdominal to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. The goal is to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, let the contraction out.

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Hip Lift

Remain on your back for this stomach exercise. Put your arms at your sides with palms facing up to the ceiling. Put your legs straight up in the air so that the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling and your legs make about a ninety degree angle with your torso. Keep your knees unbent and as straight as possible. Now, contract your ab muscles so that it feels like your belly button is being pulled toward your spine, while at the same time gently lifting your hips off the floor. Raise your hips to height of a few inches, keeping your legs extended straight upward. Hold this position, then slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set.

 

Long Arm Crunch

For this stomach exercise, remain on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lie back and extend your arms straight back on the floor as though you are reaching above your head. Contract your abs and slowly lift your arms, head and shoulders off the floor to about a thirty degree angle. Hold it, then slowly lower your shoulders back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set. Be careful not to lead with your arms, keeping them straight and alongside your head.

Some other honorable mentions include the vertical leg crunch, torso twists, and any Pilates routine that emphasizes the core. Feel free to research some of these exercises more once you have mastered the three above. Now that you are armed with some of the better stomach exercises, you are on your way to a trimmer tummy!

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Using Resistance Bands In Stomach Exercises

Using resistance bands can be an effective component of any workout routine, and stomach exercises are no exception. There are a number of exercises targeting the midsection that incorporate resistance bands. Resistance bands come in a variety of difficulties, usually indicated by the color of the band itself (e.g., green can be little resistance, yellow may be medium, red for difficult, etc.). Choose a resistance level that is appropriate for you, then move up as necessary. Do not overdo it by immediately grabbing the most advanced band you can find, as this can lead to injury. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.

Seated Crunch

This exercise provides the same benefits as the basic abdominal crunch, but with less neck strain and without the possible discomfort that comes with lying on the floor, since it uses a band rather than gravity to provide resistance. For this stomach exercise, you will need to be sitting in a straight back chair which you can somehow loop your band through. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and about as wide apart as your hips. Contract your abdominal muscles, and slowly bend forward to about a forty-five degree angle. Repeat for an entire set. Be sure to keep your feet on the floor and your back as straight as possible.

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One-Arm Band Pull

Put the chair away and stand up, again with feet hip width apart. Put your hands above your head, holding the band about eighteen inches apart. Keeping your left hand overhead, bring your right hand out to the side, elbow bent at about a ninety degree angle. Hold your left arm still as you contract your abdominal and lower your right arm until your hand is in line with your chest. Hold this position, then slowly return. Repeat for an entire set, then switch hands. Keep your back straight and avoid bending or leaning at the waist. For an additional challenge, do this exercise standing on one foot. Perform the exercise with both hands while standing on your left foot, then do it all again on your right foot.

 

Twisting Roll-Back

For this stomach exercise, you will need to sit on a flat surface, preferably the floor. Use a mat or towel for cushioning to ease possible strain on your tail bone. Sit down with your legs bent and heels on the floor. Your toes should be pointing up– do not put your feet flat on the floor. Loop the band around your feet, put one end in each hand and put your hands together. In a rolling motion, lower your torso toward the floor about forty-five degrees. As you do this, twist to the right and spread your hands to the sides. Hold for a second, then rotate back to the middle and raise your torso back to start. Your heels should remain on the floor throughout the exercise. Do a full set, then switch to the left side.

 

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Six Poor Stomach Exercise Habits

As with all things, there is a right way to go about working for a flatter midsection, and several wrong ways. Working out the wrong way can lead to no physical improvement or worse, serious injury. When doing stomach exercises or any other exercise, be sure to consult a professional, warm up properly, and remember the following tips.

 

Keep Your Knees Up

When doing crunches, you want your knees to bent and your feet flat on the floor so that your knees are centered and pointed upward. Keep them centered and up, not to one side. If you drop your knees to one side, you are unnecessarily compressing your vertebrae, which can lead to a painful back injury.

 

Sit-Ups

Traditional sit-ups actually do very little for the abdominal muscles. Even when done properly, the strain is mostly on the hip muscles. There is also the tendency to pull the torso up with the arms, which of course is not the point of the exercise. Further, when sit-ups are done very quickly, as people have a tendency to do, it is momentum that mostly forces the torso up and down, rather than any muscle groups. The crunch is a good alternative to old school sit-ups.

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Straight Leg Lift

Another traditional “stomach exercise,” this move actually works the lower back more than any muscles in the midsection. This is also another way to put strain on your back, possibly leading to injury.

Too Many Reps

There is never a need to do more fifty reps of a stomach exercise. If fifty reps is not giving you results, doing more than that will not help wither. As you build strength, if you feel the need for a bigger challenge, try a more difficult exercise as an alternative to adding reps.

Sleeping

Believe it or not, how you sleep has an effect on your stomach exercise routine. If you sleep in a position that cause back pain, it will make it much more difficult to work on your midsection in the morning. Sleeping mostly on your stomach is one of the best ways to cause back pain, as it forces your back to arch, often resulting in annoying back pain. The best way to avoid this is to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees. This will help keep your vertebrae in line, prevent back pain and allowing you work out pain free in the morning.

No Resistance

All stomach exercises need resistance to be effective, whether it comes from a resistance band, an exercise ball, or just gravity. Exercises that do not use any resistance, such as standing broomstick twists, will not be beneficial to your midsection. The good news is that this particular exercise will not do any harm and is actually a good warm up for your trunk. Just do not expect it to flatten out your stomach.

Proper exercise technique is important. These are just a few tips to help you avoid wasting time and potential injury. Be sure to research thoroughly before beginning a new exercise, and always consult your physician before beginning any physical fitness routine.

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Shrink Your Stomach

The midsection is a problem area for many people, and those who want to shrink the size of their belly are numerous. A balanced diet is a good place to start, but there are also some great stomach exercises to help along the process. The exercises discussed below meet this description, as they are specifically designed to help reduce belly fat, and therefore, the size of your tummy. These particular exercises are targeted at beginners, so give them a try if you are just starting out. Once you have mastered these, feel free to advance to something more challenging. When doing these exercises, it is important to move slowly so as to maintain control and not allow momentum to take over. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.

Vertical Leg Crunch

This is a variation on the traditional crunch that focuses more specifically on reducing stomach fat. To begin this stomach exercise, first lie on your back on a flat surface, such as the floor. Use a mat or towel to cushion your spine. Put your hands behind your head, with elbows out far enough that they are out of sight. Now lift your legs straight up into the air, crossing your ankles and bending your knees slightly. Contract your abdominal and lift your shoulders, head and upper back up to about a thirty degree angle. Be aware of not lifting with your hands or leading with your head.

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Long Arm Crunch

For this stomach exercise, remain on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lie back and extend your arms straight back on the floor as though you are reaching above your head. Contract your abs and slowly lift your arms, head and shoulders off the floor to about a thirty degree angle. Hold it, then slowly lower your shoulders back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set. Be careful not to lead with your arms, keeping them straight and alongside your head.

 

Reverse Crunch

You will need to stay on your back for this stomach exercise. Use a mat or towel to cushion your spine. Put your arms at your sides with palms facing up to the ceiling. Put your legs in the air so that your knees are bent at ninety degree angles and your hips make about a ninety degree angle with your torso. Keep your knees unbent and as straight as possible. Now, contract your ab muscles so that it feels like your belly button is being pulled toward your spine, while at the same time gently lifting your hips off the floor. Raise your hips to height of a few inches, keeping your legs extended straight upward. Hold this position, then slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set.

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Working The Transverse Abdominal

A group of muscles that often gets neglected in stomach exercise routines are the transverse abdominal, the core muscles that lie below the rectus abdominus. Most abdominal exercises target the rectus abdominus and the vertical abdominal, ignoring the transverse abdominal. Even crunches, the staple of most abdominal workouts, do nothing for the transverse abdominal. These muscles are actually the most important to target, however, as they connect to both the lower back muscles and the rectus abdominus and for a girdle for the entire abdomen. Any routine aimed at flattening the stomach should include the transverse abdominal as a focus. Using the following exercises, you can work out your transverse abdominal and really make progress on that flat tummy. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.

Pelvic Tilts

This stomach exercise requires lying on your back on a flat surface, such as the floor or a bench. Use a mat or towel to cushion your spine. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Raise your pelvis (and only your pelvis) off the floor, hold momentarily, and then lower it back down. Repeat for an entire set. Maintaining a controlled movement is crucial to this exercise. This will allow you to use your abdominal muscles, rather than your body’s momentum, to do the work on the exercise. Also, be sure to keep your upper body on the floor throughout.

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Crunchless Crunch

This first exercise is fairly simple but can also be fairly difficult. Essentially, it involves trying to pull the belly button in towards the spine. This can be tricky, as it involves using muscles which you may not be used to activating. To start, either lie or on your stomach or kneel. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible, then try to use only the lower abdominal to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. The goal is to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, let the contraction out.

Scissor Kicks

This stomach exercise also requires lying on the floor. Position your hands under your butt, keeping your back pressed against the floor. Slowly raise one leg to a height of about ten inches, then slowly lower it back to the floor. As your lower one leg, raise the other. Repeat this motion for an entire set. Maintaining control throughout is important, not allowing momentum to get the better of you. Your upper body should remain on the floor through the entire move.

There are plenty of other exercises targeting the transverse abdominal, but these three ought to be enough to get you started. Stomach exercises like these are key to any tummy-flattening plan, and they are especially good for pregnant and post-par tum women.

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Lower Stomach Exercises

An important and sometimes neglected step in stomach exercise routines is isolating particular muscles within the abdominal group. One such set of muscles which needs isolation in order to be exercised properly are the muscles in the lower stomach. There are a number of stomach exercises which isolate and work these muscles. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.

Crunchless Crunch

This first exercise is fairly simple but can also be fairly difficult. Essentially, it involves trying to pull the belly button in towards the spine. This can be tricky, as it involves using muscles which you may not be used to activating. To start, either lie or on your stomach or kneel. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible, then try to use only the lower abdominal to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. The goal is to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, let the contraction out.

Alternating Toe Touch

You will need to lie on a flat surface for this stomach exercise. The floor works best, using a mat or towel to cushion the spine. Lie on the floor and put your feet up in the air. Extend your right arm and use your lower abdominal to lift your shoulders off the floor. Touch your left toes with your right hand, then lower yourself back down. Switch hands and repeat. Keep your knees straight throughout and maintain a space between your chin and chest.

 

Sit-Up Hold

While you are still on the floor, try this stomach exercise. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor and position your hands behind your head. Keep your elbows back so you cannot see them– do not put them alongside your head. Use your lower abdominal to lift your shoulders off the floor. Hold for ten seconds. You may increase the number of seconds you hold as it gets easier. Be sure to lift with your abdominal and not with your arms or neck.

Lower Back Flatten

This stomach exercise is a good natural progression from the sit-up hold, as it starts from the same basic position: lying down, knees bent, feet flat. You may have noticed when you did the previous exercise that there is a natural space between your lower back and the floor, created by the curve of your spine. In this exercise, you want to use your lower abdominal to push your lower back toward the floor and eliminate this space. Try to focus on pushing with only your lower abdominal and not your legs. Your pelvis will rotate slightly, which is fine so long as the lower abdominal are doing the work. Once you have got your back flat to the floor, hold the contraction for ten seconds. Again, you should continue to build on this time as your stomach muscles gain strength and endurance.

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Free Exercises To Flatten Stomach

They are everywhere; magazines where on the front cover have beautiful models showing off their flat stomach and a caption that may say something similar to “Want flat abs, we’ll show you how!” These magazine articles are great for some people who want to spend the money to buy the magazine in order to find out how to flatten their stomach. Then there are endless websites that if you sign up and pay the fee, you will be given exercise routines meant to flatten you stomach. Again, this may be a good source for some people who have this goal, but where can you go to find free exercise to flatten stomachs?

 

The internet is probably one of the best sources for finding free information. There are hundreds of sites a person will find just by using the search words “free stomach exercises” or similar phrases. These sites will give step-by-step instructions on how to perform a variety of exercises to flatten stomachs. When a person finds several exercises he or she likes, it is simple to print them out and have the paper available when performing the exercise.

 

Another good source to find free exercises to flatten stomachs is at a library. The library may actually have more information then the internet; it is just not as convenient. A person who takes the time to visit the library can find books on how to flatten their stomach read magazine articles and borrow videos that talk about exercises to flatten stomachs.

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One source for finding free exercise to flatten stomachs is the television. If a person can set aside a specific time during the day for exercise, there are many television programs on throughout the day that are exercise related, even channels dedicated just to exercise and health. Many of these shows will focus on flattening stomachs, since this is a primary goal of most people that exercise. This method for finding free exercises to flatten stomachs may be the least convenient and may not be feasible to everyone, but for some people that can find the right program and make it work with their schedule or the ability to record for use at a later time, it may be a good option.

 

For people that truly need to loose weight around their stomachs for health reasons, doctors are probably the best source for free exercises to flatten stomachs. They will have available many brochures and other material that will help the person in their goal to look and feel better. In addition, a doctor would be a good source for finding out other places to obtain this information.

 

There are hundreds of sources for finding exercises to flatten stomachs. Some of these sources require a purchase or even an investment. There are also many sources available that offer free exercises to flatten stomach muscles. Just because a person paid for the information does not necessarily make it better. Remember, the best exercise is the exercise that works for the individual, regardless of the source.

 

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Improve Your Posture by Losing Your Belly

Everyone knows the children’s song about the leg bone being connected to the hip bone, but how many people really take it to heart? Obviously, everyone knows that the leg bone does in fact attach to the hip bone; that’s not the point. Probably not many people really stop to think about how related and interconnected the parts of the human body really are. In an illustration of this point, the back and stomach muscles are all affected by one another as they form a girdle around the lower torso. It stands to reason, then, that your posture affects how your tummy looks, and the strength of your stomach muscles affects your posture.

Stand Up Straight

This first step to losing a belly is to stand and sit up straight. This actually has a few different effects. First of all, slouching accentuates belly fat, so simply sitting up will make you appear slimmer. Second, proper posture help improves the strength of your back, which of course makes it easier to maintain proper posture longer. Third, poor posture leads to back pain, which makes stomach exercises difficult. Having good posture will make it easier for you to work out your stomach muscles and whittle down that belly. Lastly, a nice straight posture enhances blood flow throughout the body, particularly to the legs and lower back, both of which are involved in many stomach exercises. So, if you are trying to lose a belly, the first step is to simply sit and stand up as straight as possible as often as possible. Do that, and you are already on your way!

Back Extension

For the reader familiar with the crunchless crunch, this move will seem similar but backwards. For this exercise, you will need to start by lying on your stomach with your forehead on the floor. You may use a mat or towel to cushion your pelvis and head. Position your arms by your sides, palms up. Contract your back muscles to lift your torso off the floor. Hold the contraction briefly, then release and slowly lower your torso back down to the floor. Repeat for an entire set.

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The next part of this exercise begins by extended your arms out above your head (picture a superhero flying through the air). Now lift your legs off the floor simultaneously while keeping your head and arms held in place. Try to imagine your legs growing longer as you are lifting them up. Hold your legs up briefly, then slowly lower them back to the floor.

Doing these two things will help you strengthen your back and correct your posture, which are great first steps to losing an unwanted belly. You will also want to continue working on your back muscles and other core muscles, such as the transverse and rectus abdominus. Stomach exercises that work the core will help you straighten up your posture, lose belly fat, and gain muscle tone in both your back and tummy. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.

 

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When To Do Stomach Exercises

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There is no question, people want a flatter stomach. Whether it is a woman who just had a baby, or a man who wants to impress someone, or anyone in between. While most people have good intentions when it comes to building their “six pack” not as many people can find the time or dedication to really follow through to see real results, and usually give up. To remedy the problem there are several ideas that can help a person wanting to get a flatter stomach but cannot find the time or energy to do intense stomach exercises.

 

For as many people that want to do stomach exercises, there are just as many people, probably more, that like to watch television. This is a perfect time to do stomach exercises. During commercials, or every ten minutes if there are no commercials, try lying on the floor and doing as many stomach exercises as possible during the break. If you have not done stomach exercises in awhile, it is best to start slowly, but eventually make it a game, and try to get more repetitions in each time. By following this simple plan, it will help your body in several different ways. First of all, there is no extra scheduling involved, for most people, watching television at some point in the day is natural so no extra time is taken out of the day to do stomach exercise. The second thing this strategy helps with is that the human body should not remain motionless for more then thirty minutes anyway, by getting up and doing stomach exercises every few minutes it really boosts up the bodies metabolism.

 

Another good time to do stomach exercises is first thing in the morning. Try rolling out of bed, maybe literally, and lie down on the floor and do as many repetitions as possible in a set amount of time, even just five minutes. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that exercising first thing in the morning may be more beneficial to a person then trying to exercise other times of the day. While there are many reasons for this, one valid reason is that it gets the metabolism going for the day after a nights sleep. Since most people are extra concerned about the appearance of their stomach, it seems logical to start the day with a good set of stomach exercise.

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Of course, for those that are able to dedicate time each day to exercising, their routine should include stomach exercises. There are some reports that say that muscles need time to rest, so only exercise a particular group of muscles every other day, while other reports say that stomach muscles are ok to exercise everyday. One way to answer the question on when to do stomach exercises, every day or every other day is first listen to your body. If the stomach muscles are sore, rest them, if not then maybe one day work on them more intensely then the next day, but try to include at least one set of stomach exercises daily.

There is good reason for wanting to develop strong stomach muscles, besides for appearance sake. This is the core of your body. If it is not strong, the rest of your body will suffer. The good news is that most stomach exercises can be done anywhere with absolutely no machines or gadgets. With a little diligence and some creativity, there are plenty of times throughout the day to sneak in stomach exercises

 

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