Getting a flat tummy is one of goals of a lot of people when it comes to exercises but not very many people are happy to put in the work when it comes to crunches and sit ups.
The repetitive flexing of the lumbar spine, or lower back, has been implicated in back injuries as serious as disc hernias. If you are keen about having a flat tummy, here are a number of core exercises that can help flatten your belly while minimizing pain.
To complete this exercise, lie on the floor with your knees together and bent, feet flat and arms by your side. Lift one leg at a time, maintaining the bend, and draw the knee as close to the abdomen as possible.
To draw-in, pull the area below your navel towards your spine, while maintaining a neutral spine.
Two-leg floor bridge
Lying on the floor with your knees together, bent, feet flat, and arms by your side, lift your pelvis and hips off the so that your knees, hips, and shoulders are all in line. Slowly lower to the floor and repeat. Expert recommend doing one to four sets of this core stability exercise, with 12-20 repetitions.
Lying down face up, bring your legs toward the ceiling, with the soles of your feet adjacent to the ceiling. Lift your legs, posterior, or rear, and low back off of the ground to “pulse” up as high as you can. As you return to the starting position, brace your core to limit the amount your legs fall toward the ground as much as possible.
Starting in a high plank position, begin to run in place, bringing your lead knee as close to the same-side elbow as possible. As you alternate your legs, resist the urge to lift your hips and posterior, maintaining a solid brace and engagement of your core throughout.
To complete a soccer throw, stand tall with a medicine ball (weight of your choice) overhead. Quickly throw the ball toward the floor and follow through with the arms. Complete two to three sets of this power core exercise, repeating the steps for eight to 12 repetitions.
Ensure you engage your abdominals. The most common mistake people make is that they go through the motions and don’t focus on tightening and engaging the core muscles.
One plank favourite is to hold high plank (arms extended versus on forearms) and alternate a weight between each hand. Ensure that the weight sits next to one hand and be pulled across the body with the opposite hand. Repeat this exercise for one minute.
Exhale while you lift the weight and inhale while you return to start position or relax.
The McGill curl up
To avoid creating too much flexion in the lumbar spine, the McGill curl up is a good core exercise. To complete this movement, lie on your back with one leg straight and one leg bent.
Place your forearms and hands under your low back. Lift your head, chest and shoulders off the floor as much as you can without jutting out your chin. Do two sets of 10, switching legs between sets.