[Image source: Human N Health]
Ah… That elusive flat stomach. The one you had when you were younger. But the one that went away years ago after you had children, stopped playing sport, or started a ‘real’ job. It is possible to get it back.
If the body is capable of change in one direction. It is possible of change in the other direction. If you can lose it, you can gain it. If you can gain it, you can lose it. That’s the exciting news about brain research. You can learn new things until you die. Your body can also be whatever you want it to be.
Sure, it gets more difficult to stay thin, defined and be more athletic as you get older — muscle mass declines, metabolism slows down and putting on weight seems to occur so easily. But there are plenty of people out there who are testament to the fact that you can reverse this. That you can be healthy, fit and have a flat stomach well into your life.
I used to dread growing older because I didn’t want to slow down, start putting on weight, lose tone or be able to do all that I could do as a young adult. I did the DVD program, P90X, with a colleague six years ago. Admittedly, I only did the first month because my first son was born and I couldn’t commit to the early mornings when we were doing it anymore — that’s why I didn’t get the ripping 6-pack you see in all the testimonials ;-p But I did see good results in fitness, strength and muscle. I would look at Tony Horton, the face of the program, and wonder how he was so fit as a 45 year old. Of course he trains but I thought for the most part, he must just be genetically gifted.
Over the last two or so years, my belief about fitness and health in general has changed. I’ve seen too many times, people who look ten years younger, simply because what they do with their body and what they put into it. I’ve seen the opposite too. I’ve come to realise and eliminate that ridiculous belief that those people are special, that those people must have special genes. It’s not about what or who you are. It’s about what you do with and for yourself. A flat stomach is possible; at any age.
There are different aspects of fitness and health that attribute to a flat stomach. From the foods you eat, to the exercise you partake in, and even how you do that exercise. But for the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on just one aspect. The other aspects are important but this aspect is one that most people don’t do and those who do, often don’t do it properly.
How to Get a Flat Stomach
To get a flat stomach you must do bracing. Bracing is a fundamental movement and foundational to being able to perform every other movement in the human experience, properly. Bracing is a term used in gymnastics and refers to supporting your own bodyweight. The most basic form of bracing is in the position most people recognise as a “plank”. This can be in a prone position (hands or elbows and feet or knees on the mat, facing downwards), side position, or supine position (hands and feet on the mat with either knees bent or straight, facing upwards).
Getting into this position is easy. Getting into and holding this position properly is not. When you brace, or plank as it’s commonly known, there are several key points you should focus on whether you’re in a prone, side or supine position.
Shoulders. Push your upper back up. Think about bracing over a camp fire and try to get your chest away from the ground. Pull your shoulder blades down away from your ears. Think about pulling them down into your back pockets.
Hips. Lift your hips to shoulder height. Dropping the hips is the second most common mistake with bracing. You might need to walk your knees or feet in a centimetre or two to help lift your hips. Think about making a flat table that can hold a glass of wine.
Pelvis. Tuck your pelvis. Even when people tuck their pelvis, they often don’t tuck enough. This is a 100 percent contraction so tuck, tuck, tuck. I didn’t even do this enough until someone at the Institute told me to tuck. I was like, “I am!”. I tucked as hard as I could and they said, “Yes! That’s it”. Think about tucking your tail like a scared cat and tuck until your tummy can’t squeeze any harder. This is the key to bracing and the key to creating a flat stomach.
These variations of bracing are considered vacuum exercises. They’re all about sucking in and your tummy will disappear. For the best and quickest results, incorporate other forms of exercise to a training regime that include speed development, strength, endurance and flexibility, along with a nutritious plant-based and morally-responsible meat diet.
How are your favourite core exercises?
Thanks for checking this out!
What did you think? I'd love to hear from you. Share this on your favourite social network and ask a question or leave your thoughts in the comments below.