Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tighten That Tummy, Wittle That Waist

Oh the belly battle. Keeping a nice, flat, toned tummy is the holy grail of many women's fitness goals. Big thighs? No problem. Big butt? Great! Big Belly? Not so great. As my mother likes to say when I get a little chunky - You can't stick out from both ends. You look like you're coming and going.

As Black women, if we're honest with ourselves, then we know having a big belly and a big butt is not the business. And I know some of you are sacrificing getting rid of that stomach to hold on to the bootie. This is not a healthy (or aesthetically pleasing) strategy. We have discussed time and time again on this blog that while but fat won't kill you, belly fat will.

So what are the best exercises to get the tight, toned belly and little waist we all craves? Well with a combination of 30 minutes of intense cardio and these 5 exercises you should be getting your Beyonce on in no time:

Bicycle Exercise

1.1. Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head.
2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on the neck.
3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedaling' motion for 12-16 reps.

Reverse Crunch

1. Lie on the floor and place hands on the floor or behind the head.
2. Bring the knees in towards the chest until they're bent to 90 degrees, with feet together or crossed.
3. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling.
4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.
5. It's a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum.

Exercise Ball Crunch
1.Sit on a stability ball and place your legs shoulder width apart on the floor.
2. Walk your feet out as you roll yourself down until the lower part of your back is on the ball.
3. With your elbows wide and chin off the chest, lift the upper part of your back off the stability ball (like a floor crunch).
4. Slowly lower yourself back onto the ball. Be sure to control any movement with the stability ball. Focus on proper breathing and do not hold your breath.

1. Start by lying face down on the ground or use an exercise mat. Place your elbows and forearms underneath your chest.
2. Prop yourself up to form a bridge using your toes and forearms
3. Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground.
4. Hold this position *focusing on tightening your abs* until you can no longer maintain a flat bridge. For beginners, start with 10 seconds
5. Return to start position.

Vertical Leg Crunch

1. Lay on the floor, an exercise mat with your legs bent 90 degrees at the hip.
2. Slowly lift your hips off the floor and towards the ceiling. Hold 5 seconds.
3. Lower hips to floor to starting position.


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Abdominal Fitness said...

Focusing on exercises that target your entire core are the best for flattening your stomach and overall abdominal fitness. The above exercises are great and increasing the intensity can simply be done by adding resistance such as a weighted abdominal ball.

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