How To Give Yourself An Instant Tummy Tuck
The small “pooch” that you have may not be fat, but a weak interior abdomen
If you struggle with “those last 5 lbs” hanging around your belly, you may not actually be struggling with your weight.
Often, it’s caused because of a weakened Core, known specifically as the Transversus Abdominis.
When you have a weak core, your lower abdomen can stick out a bit.
The cure is not more sit ups, either.
Interior Abdomen vs Exterior Abdomen
There are actually two types of abs on your body, based on where they are and what they do for you.
One type is your exterior abdomen.
Those are the “show off” muscles, the 6 pack. They are the visible ones.
The others sit behind your 6 pack. They aren’t visible.
However, if they’re weak or if you don’t have any practice with engaging them they can push out against your exterior abdomen, causing your gut to stick out near the bottom.
Interior Abs stabilize, exterior abs provide movement
The job of the exterior abs is to allow you to bend and move.
The job of the interior abs is to stabilize your body, allowing you to stay upright.
Good posture is the instant cure for a small “pooch”
The easiest way to fix your posture is to imagine a string going straight up from the top of your head.
Now, imagine that string being pulled upward.
If you do this, you’ll notice you stand more naturally upright and comfortable.
You’ll also notice your stomach is now flat.
Yay! Mission accomplished.
There should be a slight tension in your abs, just enough to support your posture.
That’s your interior abdomen doing its job.
Engage your abs in every exercise
Like any muscle tension that you hold for a while, if that muscle is weak it’ll soon wear out and have to relax.
So you have to strengthen that interior abdomen if you want to naturally keep the gut in and have good posture.
Exercise is the best way to strengthen that muscle, but it has to be the right kind of exercise.
Doing crunches and leg lifts only works your exterior abs, not your interior abs.
You need stability exercises to hit that.
The beauty is that you can easily turn almost any exercise you do in the gym into a stability exercise.
You still want to consciously engage your interior abs, though, when doing the movement or else you’ll still use other muscles to stabilize instead of your core.
Just bring the same feeling of good posture that you felt from the previous exercise into your workout routine, focusing on your posture just before beginning the exercise.
Exercises that strengthen the interior abdomen
Here are some great exercises for developing your inner core.
Running is awesome for this.
If you didn’t keep tension in your core while you ran, you’d fall all over the place.
The Plank focuses directly on your interior abs. That’s what the Plank is for.
Weight lifting is great because the weight acts as a lever that your core has to work against to keep you stable.
Like a lever, the further the weight is away from your body, the more it’ll want to pull you off balance.
So adding weights is like core work on steroids, because every exercise usually involves extending the weights away from your body.
At the end of a good Kickboxing workout, my core is at least as exhausted as my arms and legs.
Every punch and kick should engage your core to keep you from just bouncing off the bag.
The twisting of the hips also works your exterior abs, creating the best of both worlds.
But all of this only applies IF you’re hitting with good form.
That’s why you’ll constantly hear me telling everyone to turn their feet and hips with their strikes.
It’s not just because I want a bunch of powerhouse bad-asses (although I do).
It’s because THAT is how you make Kickboxing a FULL body workout (core especially) instead of an arm and leg workout.
Exercises involving balance, like Single Leg Rows
Any time you have to keep your balance, you’re engaging your core.
That’s why we’ll do some exercises (like the Single Leg Row) on one foot.
It’s not JUST because it’s fun to see if you can do it.
Exercises that involve stabilizing one side of the body, like Waiter Squats
Finally, as I mentioned, the job of the interior abs is to stabilize the body.
So by putting weight on one side of the body and not the other, your body is forced to engage the core in order to keep you from falling over.
An example is the Waiter Squat, where you hold a Kettlebell in only one hand while you do Squats.