Have you been devoting your time to crunches to get flat abs and not seeing progress? Leading trainer Kelly Du Buisson shares six steps to a flatter tummy
The first thing any potential client will say to me is, ‘I want to tone my abs’. That’s great and I wholeheartedly applaud you for it, but it’s not that simple. Six packs don’t appear overnight. There are some key issues we need to address first…
Six packs don’t appear overnight
1. Don’t focus on crunches
Specifically focusing on the abdominal area will lead to over developed abs but this doesn’t mean you will get a six pack – instead your tummy muscles might build up and stick out. Full body exercises that burn plenty of calories are best such as clean and press, push ups and burpees. Resistance training is the best workout to tone your muscles, by putting muscles under significant stress the body has to repair, thus strengthening and defining. It also massively increases your metabolism.
2. Interval only cardio
These maximize your calorie burning potential and as we have said before they also build muscle. They draw on fat stored from around your middle and also engage the core muscles. Long, slow cardio can often leave muscle soft and undefined. Plyometrics such as knee lifts and tuck jumps really engage the lower abs and work the heart and lungs. They also use significant amount of calories by working the fast twitch muscles.
3. Strengthen your core
By this I mean the muscles engaged to stabilize and support the body. The TVA (transverse abdominal which act like a corset and lay under the abdominals) and the pelvic floor. These muscles support the body and also define shape. It is possible for the gut to press on the abdomen and cause that small bulging tyre around your lower abs. By working the TVA and pelvic floor you can help to flatten out the stomach and support this. Leg extensions and single or double leg pikes are great for this.
4. Go for short sharp workouts such as super sets or circuit training
These maximize calorie burn during and after the workout. Work the whole body and work it from every angle. By using all planes of movement you will activate what is known as the cross vector force which sends little vibrations through the muscles which will tighten and tone. For example when doing a push up, push your weight into the floor and tuck your hips under, as you come up to the center lift one hand and turn into a side plank reaching to the ceiling. This is cross vector force. See an example here
MORE: Yoga for a flat tummy
5. Workout at least 3 x a week
If you haven’t got time to exercise every day spread it out to every other day. Or cut it down short bursts of 10-15 mins. This will keep your metabolism elevated all through the week.
6. Eat clean foods
A clean-eating diet focuses on proteins such as lean meats, poultry, eggs and pulses and plenty of fibre such as spinach, broccoli, multi-coloured vegetables and low sugar fruits such as apples and berries. Smoothies are great flat belly foods and adding a high grade cod liver oil supplement to your diet will really help to shift stubborn belly fat, leaving your abs flat and defined.
Kelly Du Buisson is a leading London trainer specialising in short, high intensity workouts that get her clients super-fit, super-fast. She is also the creator of The 7 Minute Workout: The Fastest Way To Shred Fat And Change Your Body Shape For Good, available from Amazon.