Extreme tummy tightening

Raphael Calzadilla
Chief Fitness Pro

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable." - Christopher Reeve, 1952-2004, Actor and Speaker

The words tummy and tightening got your attention, didn’t they?

Want to know the secret to getting a tight tummy? The secret is, there is no secret. There is, however, a formula that works for everyone.

Attaining a flat and tight abdominal area will depend on the total amount of body fat that you have to lose. However, anyone can flatten the mid-section - yes, anyone!

If you read my articles often, you know that I place a great deal of emphasis on reducing body fat through a calorie reduced nutrition programme and by incorporating weight training and cardiovascular exercise to stimulate the metabolism.

Abdominal exercises serve to strengthen and tighten the abs, so when your body fat reduces - you then see the fruits of your labour. I know I’m like a parrot on this subject, but the myths related to spot reduction have to be fought by someone!

Abdominal work is vital, but it’s only part of the formula.

I’m focusing on three abdominal exercises that will strengthen and tighten your tummy, but your food intake must be taken into consideration.

The routine will require some gym equipment, but it’s very effective for tightening the upper and lower abdominal region, as well as the oblique muscles ("love handles").

After providing each exercise and a description, I’ll explain exactly how I want you to perform it, as well as how frequently. The key to the effectiveness of any exercise is based on proper technique, sufficient intensity and intelligent frequency.

Here we go!

1. Machine Ab Crunch
Starting Position:
• Adjust yourself in the machine per the instructions.

Movement:
• Contracting the abdominals very tightly, curl your rib cage toward your pelvis, stopping when you have reached a peak contraction of the abdominals. Don't focus on just pushing the torso downward. Instead, focus on the abdominals pushing down and tight.
• Slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of the weight stack touching.

Key Points:
• Exhale while curling forward.
• Inhale while returning to the starting position.
• Do not round the upper back or let the chest cave in.



2. Reverse Trunk Twist
Starting Position:
• Lie on the floor with your back relaxed and your arms out to the sides forming a "T" with your body.
• Extend your legs straight up in the air so your hips form a 90-degree angle with a slight bend in your knees.

Movement:
• Contracting the abdominal and oblique muscles, lower your legs toward one side, keeping your feet together and your back on the floor. Stop at the limits of the strength of your abdominal and oblique muscles.
• This may start out as a very small range of motion and gradually increase as you get stronger.
• Slowly return to the starting position.
• After completing the set on the one side, repeat on the other side.

Key Points:
• Exhale while lowering your legs.
• Inhale while returning to the starting position.
• After completing, immediately go to the next exercise.

3. Bicycle Manoeuvre
Starting Position:
• Lie on a mat with your lower back in a comfortable position.
• Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle.

Movement:
• Slowly go through a bicycle pedalling motion alternating your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee.

Key Points:
• This can be a more advanced exercise. Do not perform this activity if it puts any strain on your lower back.
• Do not pull on your head and neck during this exercise.
• The lower to the ground your legs bicycle, the harder your abs have to work.

Frequency
If you’re a beginner, perform each movement slowly and at your own pace. Try for 12-15 repetitions of each exercise and take your time moving from one exercise to the next. Perform only one cycle. A cycle is defined as performing all three exercises in order. Attempt the routine three days per week on alternate days of the week. Don’t worry if you can’t get the recommended rep range. Do as many as possible with good form and try to increase week to week.

For those with more experience, perform three cycles with one minute of rest between each cycle. The key is to keep the intensity level high, as well as a constant contraction on the abs. As you progress, you’ll be amazed at how hard and tight your abs get. Perform the routine three days per week on alternate days of the week.

The Machine Ab Crunch will focus primarily on the upper ab region, the Reverse Trunk Twist on the oblique muscles and hips, while the Bicycle Manoeuvre will focus on the entire abdominal area.

In research studies, the Bicycle Manoeuvre ranks as of the most efficient abdominal exercises.

Remember, work at your own personal fitness level and focus on perfect form to avoid injury and in order to isolate the muscle.

This routine is effective and produces results when you’re consistent on your nutrition plan and overall exercise programme. It’s all about balancing all the components to achieve that firm and tight tummy.

As always, please check with your doctor before beginning any exercise programme.

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Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.