If you are looking for help on how to get a nice, flat stomach and neat small waist, these exercise tips can aid you in achieving that look.
I Love My Six-Pack, But…
Many people dream about those beautifully sculpted six-pack abs, but not everyone is eager to get those cute little cubes on their stomach. From time to time I do get questions from women on how they can achieve just a flat stomach and a smaller waist without the six-pack. Actually, I too went through different fitness goals and stages in my life, and many years ago I thought that a woman having a six-pack wasn’t very attractive (I was very closed-minded back then), and I only wanted a flat stomach flat and smaller waist.
Now of course, I love my six-pack and just a flat stomach isn’t my thing anymore, cause it’s much easier to achieve just a flat stomach than a six-pack. But since I was able to achieve both looks, I would like to share with you what I did for flat abs and smaller waist.
All You Need Are Planks
I pretty much take it that you know about not being able to spot-reduce fat. But even if you reduced your waist and stomach, that firm look sometimes isn’t there. That often happens when the muscles in those areas aren’t developed enough, which is what happens to many women when they lost weight, but didn’t work their muscles. But we are able to take care of it! And for that, planks are my #1 go-to exercise! Never heard of them? No problem, EC did a video on those a while ago.
The secret when doing planks to address your probleam areas is to always change the variations. If you change the way you do your planks, you can do them 4-5 days a week, because you won’t be stressing them enough to go into overstraining.
As a beginner, start with regular elbow planks, holding each for 20-30 seconds and doing 3-4 rounds (one round is having done both sides). Within a week, you’ll usually find you can extend your time holding each position to 40 sec and more. Once you are able to hold the basic plank for a minute or longer, it’s time to start using different variations. You can, for example, elevate your legs on a chair, alternating between the push-up position plank and an elbow plank, Spiderman plank (a plank where you are standing in a push-up position while pulling each leg to your elbow and alternating it). Or you can even try holding a regular plank for 2 or even 3 minutes ( I personally can’t hold more than 2 minutes ).
Skip Other Ab Exercises But Keep Your Core Engaged During Regular Workouts!
What you can also try is simply keeping your abs really tight and engaged during your regular workout days (this is what you should be doing anyway, because it stabilizes you during your exercises). The abs have to work along when you do other exercises, and paying them just that bit more attention can make a difference.
While you are at it, you may try always keep your abs engaged during regular activities such as waking or sitting. Throughout the day practice tightening your abs for 1 minute at a time whenever you can. This will help also help making your planks more effective, as you will be able to hold them longer.
I used to go even a step further: I would wear a really tight belt around my waist that forced me to keep my stomach tight all day. I know it sounds a bit crazy and extreme, but gosh – what a girl wouldn’t do for a small waist! Ahem!
Avoid Side Planks!
If you want your waist to get smaller, side planks and other exercises engaging the side (“oblique”) ab muscles are your enemy. EC did them in the video, but he is probably not looking for a smaller waist. I noticed that this exercise made my waist wider, but when I skipped on it for a while, my waist became smaller again. Now, since I like my six-pack, but I want my waist to remain small, I skip on any oblique exercises as well. You can do them, but I’d say not too much.
Work On Your Posture
You can actually reduce your stomach within one second: by standing straight! A bad posture pushes your middle area together and that can result in your stomach rounding outwards. If you have a bad posture it’s much harder to get a super flat stomach. Even I notice that once my shoulders start to round and I don’t work on fixing it, my stomach starts sticking out, not too much but I can see a difference. If you like, try my Good Posture Challenge – this has helped me with my posture tremendously.
Picture courtesy of Frank Kovalcheck.