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It is no secret that everybody wants a flat stomach quick and easy and waist training seems like the thing to do! There are so many waist trainers out there and there are a lot of women advertising them on social media daily. Do waist trainers REALLY work? How do you get a flat stomach? How do you get abs? Contrary to popular belief… there is no magical trick or “quick fix”!!! 

In order to achieve and maintain a flat stomach the number one key is NUTRITION and second to that is CARDIO and last but not least STRENGTH TRAINING. It is important that we understand the role that nutrition plays in having a healthy gut, and gut health aids the immune system and controls digestion. Gut health is key because this can contribute to weight gain and other serious health conditions such as high cholesterol and heart disease. There are various different foods that we can consume to promote gut health such as garlic, asparagus, onion, and various probiotics. 

Most people think of the stomach as one muscle, but  in fact the abdominal muscle group contains 4 different muscles which are: the rectus abdominis, the external oblique, the internal oblique, and the transverse abdominis. Posterior pelvic tilts, supine abdominal curls, reverse abdominal curls, and abdominal crunches develop the rectus abdominis, but they do not work the other abdominal muscles. This is why just doing crunches all day does not give you a 6-pack. The abdominals are also the quickest muscle group to recover so it is even more important to switch up your routine and to do these exercises daily. There are many ways you can switch up your ab routine by adding weights, changing the number of sets and/or reps, tempo change (slow and quick twitch movements), and of course by simply adding different exercises to your ab routine.

Waist trainers do not activate your core, the tight fit actually compresses your organs making it challenging to breathe during exercise. Waist trainers can help with back support to promote good posture, however this is the job of the abdominals so it takes away from building the core strength you need to do this on your own. The core muscles play an important role in providing feedback about the spinal joint position and knowing how to activate the transverse abdominis muscles is an important part of core stability. Learning how to activate your core will improve your movement capabilities as a whole because all movement evolves around the core. Strengthening the abdominals will not only get you a nice 6-pack or flat tummy, it will also improve low back pain, posture, build strength for simple actions (bending down picking up objects), improve balance, and better your performance in any sport and/or physical activity. 

Here are three of my favorite ab routines to help build and maintain a strong core!

Complete 15 reps 4 sets of each routine! Lets GLO!!!!

  1. The Pilates Series of 5 

-Single Leg Stretch

Laying on your back aiming to get your scapula off the floor use the abs to hug your knee into your chest, switching sides.

-Double Leg Stretch

Scooping the legs into table top moving the arms overhead as the legs extend to 6 inches, aiming to keep the belly button going towards your spine so that there is no space under your lower back each extension.

-Single Straight Leg Stretch

Lifting up in your crunch position grab behind your thigh using the abdominals to stretch the legs closer to your face, switching legs without movement using control from the abs.

-Double Straight Leg Lift

Holding your crunch position arms crossed behind your head, starting with your legs at 6 inches bring your legs vertically up to the ceiling and repeat. 

-Bicycles 

Lift up in your crunch position aiming to meet the opposite elbow and knee, switching sides while keeping the abs engaged and lower back touching the floor.

2. Lower Abs

-6 inches (1min 30 secs)

Holding your crunch position bring your legs 6 inches above the ground keeping your legs straight while holding them together.

-Mountain Climbers

Starting in a plank position take your knee to your chest switching sides, aiming to lift the knee towards your chin. Be sure to keep the hips in line with your spine to maintaining a straight line from your head to heels.

-Leg lifts

While holding your body up vertically using your upper body strength, allow the legs to lift up towards to ceiling. Use the lower abdominals to prevent the legs from swinging and the use of momentum throughout this exercise.

-Forearm plank (1 min 30 secs)

Place the forearms on your mat and get into your plank position, maintaining a straight line from your head to heels

-Reverse Crunches

While laying on your back lift the legs up vertically, then lift the hips up in the air. Smoothly come down to your starting position while keeping the abs engaged and repeat.

3. Obliques

-Wide leg cross sit ups

Start with your legs in a V laying on your back, then sit-up twisting aiming to touch the opposite foot and repeat to the other side.

-Side crunches

Laying on your side with the knees bent, twist to have your upper body flat on the mat and crunch keeping the hands crossed behind your head.

-Side plank oblique twist

Lift your body up into a side plank position with the forearms keeping the opposite arm behind your head. Reach the arm behind your head towards the ground with a goal of the elbow touching the mat.

-Forearm plank hip twist

Begin in a forearm plank and twist the hips to the side aiming to touch the mat while maintaining control when switching from side-to-side.

-Leg circles

Lay on your back and place the hands underneath your lower back for support, start with the legs straight out 6 inches above the ground and begin circling your legs. It is important to use the abs to minimize movement in the truck to strengthen the core with this exercise.