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Level with Me - How many to get a flat tummy? REALLY??? - Page 2

post #21 of 29
You'll never get a flat tummy without doing a cardio workout to burn fat. You can increase the muscle in your tummy by doing leg lifts, situps, crunches, etc, but without cardio, you don't really burn a whole lotta fat. The extra muscle will help your whole body to burn more fat, but not just your tummy. You are toning your muscles but not really buning fat. There is no way to get rid of belly flab without a cardio workout You can work stomach toning exercises into your cardio workout so you only have to do one routine. Alternating cardio/toning/cardio/toning in one workout works best. HTH
L
post #22 of 29
I do pilates too. I use a video and there is no equippment. It has really really helped my back. I do have alot of fat in my belly, but the biggest reason for the pooch is saggy muscles so pilates is really helping with that. Plus since I am not exactly thin, pilates is cardio for me too lol I like it because I really feel like I have worked out. I can feel it in my muscles and my heart rate is up (but not so much that I think I am going to die like aerobics or treadmills) I just feel good after it's done and I don't wreck my joints.
post #23 of 29
After two babies I now have a flatter midsection than before I got pregnant with #1 (and this includes a muscle separation after DC#1, who I had via c-sec). Keep in mind that I wasn't exactly starting from a great place, though.

The keys for me are:

1. Eat healthfully and watch portions--you can have really tight muscles but won't see them if there's fat over them. I ate poorly before I had my kids, probably because I didn't need to have anywhere near the energy I require now. I feel so much better now when I eat well, keep my blood sugar stable (no screaming at the kids!) and set a good example for my family. It's also imortant to do some cardio to help with fat loss but even more important, to stay healthier and reduce stress.

2. Work your core muscles--not just the rectus muscles which are worked in crunches (they're the ones down the middle) but all of them--using a variety of exercises. Doing only one exercise can make you imbalanced and bored, and your body will adapt quickly and stop showing any results.

My favorites are plank (described in an earlier post; I like to add tiny lifts of my legs one at a time behind me as well as bringing legs in to my chest one at a time without moving the pelvis--this kills); external oblique plank (lie on your side with bottom arm at 90 degree angle under shoulder, then lift hips off the floor and hold your body so there's a straight diagonal line between supporting shoulder and bottom foot); and crunches on the ball or Bosu balance thingy (works rectus but larger range of motion).

It's also important to work your back muscles to keep your whole core solid and improve posture. Leg lifts like you're describing worry me because they can hurt your back if you're not careful and can also really tax your hip flexors (front of hips and thighs) and not get at the abs if your form isn't nearly perfect.

3. I use Pilates home videos, just the mat exercises, sometimes. Pilates works your whole core and is great for abs. I find that it is hard to do the exercises right just using a video. I have gone to a few classes to make sure my alignment is right. Some people also swear by yoga for strengthening the core muscles. I unfortunately lack the patience and enlightenment to make it through a 90 minute class!

Beth, Mom to Benji and Maggie
post #24 of 29
Excellent post Benjismom. You saved me from writing an extra long post, as I would have recommended the exact same things .

I would add in doing Dead bugs for the transverse abdominus, the deepest layer of abs. They work as your built-in girdle.

I would suggest that you do modified versions of the front and side planks first.

To modify the front plank, place your elbows on the floor and clasp your hands. The base of support will be your forearms on the ground, intead of your hands. Also, push up from your knees (like in a girlie push-up). Contract your abs and keep the body in a straight line from your head to your knees. Do 3 sets. When you can hold this position for 1 minute, progress to the next level; pushup from your toes instead of your knees. The front plank targets mostly the multifidus muscles which are in your lower back and act as the back half of your built-in girdle. You can work your way to doing the front planks and variations as described my benjismom.

To modify side planks, start off by bending one or both of your knees to the floor. Again, Do 3 sets and hold as long as possible, and working your way up to one minute. When you can hold the modified version for one minute, progess to the next level as described by Benjismom.
post #25 of 29
Pilates and more Pliates. It has been the only thing that has worked post-twins. But really check with a doctor first about the neck and back problems! The last thing you need is to hurt yourself!!
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by FitnessMom
Excellent post Benjismom. You saved me from writing an extra long post, as I would have recommended the exact same things .

I would add in doing Dead bugs for the transverse abdominus, the deepest layer of abs. They work as your built-in girdle.

What is a deagbugs, exactly? I wonder if we do something similar in judo. I LOVE doing abdominal exercises in judo! I can't see PDF files. They kill my browser.
post #27 of 29
Dead bugs: The PDF file is a bit different from the following, which is how I teach it at the gym.

1) lie on your back with your hips and knees are bent, with feet flat on the floor

2) put your fingers on your tranverse abs just inside your hip bones(cough or laugh to feel the contraction)

3) slowly lift one foot a time, like marching in place. Bring your feet off the ground just a little. I usually do this laying lengthwise on a foam roller, as it works the muscles a little harder while it is also trying to maintain balance.

progression:
1) same as 1 and 2 above.

2) very slowly straighten then lower one leg while keeping your transverse abs tight.

3) Raise and flex leg to starting postion

4) Repeat 2 and 3 with other leg.

HTH,
Kim
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
this sounds great! Thank you everyone!

I may need to get a video tape, though, as I'm having trouble visualizing it all.

Did anyone have a good recommendation for a video? (prefer dvd! :LOL )
post #29 of 29
I use the Living Arts Yoga for Beginners Abs workout DVD (how's that for a mouthfull!). It also has a lower body workout & an upper body. I LOVE the abs workout. It's only 15 minutes, and you can really feel it. I have yet to be very consistent with it, but I can tell it works. The workout makes lots of use of leg lifts (lying on your back lifting both legs & lowering them back down) to tone those tummy muscles.

As for how many you need to do... I think that's more a matter of doing as much as you can without over-doing and building up your strength slowly. One of the things you don't want to do is over-strain your muscles by doing too many at first so you can't do anything at all later. I am also a believer that it is good to give your muscles a day of rest between workouts when you are starting out & do different muscles on the between days. You can work them harder if they are not all worn out from the day before. As time passes, you may be able to move to doing it every day.

Hope that helps!
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