The stomach muscles are often some of the weakest in a woman’s body and they tend to make up for this fact by letting the back take the strain. Our back can end up hunched, tense and overarched as a result- doing us a double disservice, as this results not only in bad posture but can lead to permanent injury, too. When you strengthen the stomach muscles you take pressure off the back and get a flat tummy in the process.
Tip: If your stomach muscles to bulge or quiver at any time during these exercises, you are attempting something that is as yet beyond them- so stop! When you are lying on your back, the lower your legsare towards the floor, the more strain you will be putting on the stomach; lift them higher and the exercise will instantly become easier. When your are doing these exercise- and indeed all the time- try to think of the stomach muscles providing a natural girdle, keeping the body in a lifted well held posture.
- With your feet hip width apart and slightly turned out, lift your arms above your head and clasp your hands together, keeping yours shoulders dropped.
- In one smooth movement, looking straight ahead, drop down to the left, bending from the waist. Try to get low enough for your arms to be parallel with the floor. Come back to the centre and repeat on the right. Do 4-8 drops each sides.
- Stand with your feet hip width apart feet slightly turned out and knees bent. Rest your hands lightly on your shoulders, elbows pointing straight and your tailbone dropping down towards the floor.
- Turn from the waist to look over your left shoulder. Do 16 turns and then repeat to the right.
Note: With these twists it is important to remember that it is only the waist and upper body that turns- the hips stay absolutely still and facing the front.
Upper Body Circles
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slightly turned out, your arms raised, shoulders down and hands clasped.
- Drops down to the left until your arms are parallel to the floor, feeling the stretch all the way up your right side.
- Now turn so that your are looking down at the floor, but keep your body on the same level. This calls for a lot of work from the stomach muscles.
- Turn back so you are facing forwards again and then strengthen up. Build up to 4 times each sides.
This is a series of exercises that build up in difficulty, so start with the first one and only go on to the later ones as your muscles strengthen.
- Lie on the floor with your legs stretched out and your arms at your sides palms upwards. Pull yours stomach muscles under you at the same time. This will cause your knees to bend slightly and your pelvis to tilt. Repeat 4 times.
- In the second stage, repeat the pelvic tilt, this time moving your upper body off the floor, arms outstretched and parallel to the floor.Your head should come up last. Do not raise yourself far enough to make your stomach bulge or your shoulder tense. Repeat 4 times.
- In the third stage you begin as before and continue to raise your upper body until your are sitting straight up arms stretched out in front, head and neck in a long line with your spine.
- Now drop your head forward onto your chest and roll back down through the spine holding on tight to the stomach muscles. Try to feel your back go down, vertebra by vertebra lengthening out on the floor. Repeat 4 times.
Start by lying on your back on the floor. Contract your stomach muscles so that you start to roll up until your are about halfway to a sitting position, knees bent, arms outstretched in front of you. Loosely clench your fist, then raise one arm above your head. Lower this arms again, and as you do so raise the other one. This movement looks as if you are pulling on a rope. If the stomach muscles start to bulge out or quiver stop. Repeat for 8 pulls.
Start by lying on your back on the floor. Contract your stomach muscles so that your start to roll up until your are about halfway to a sitting position, knees bent, arms outstretched in front of you. With your hands in loose fists, cross and re-cross one above the other, raising your arms at the same time until they are reaching straight upwards. Make sure your don’t tense your neck or shoulders as you do this. When your reach the top, reverse and come down in four crosses. Repeat the whole sequence, 4 times up and down.
Lie flat on the floor arms by your sides, then bend your knees into your chest and stretch your legs upwards. With your fingers resting just behind your ears, lift your heads and shoulders off the ground and look up at your legs. Pull your stomach well in, and if the exertion is too great raise your legs higher. Now scissors your legs, crossing them at the ankles, 16 times.
Note: Tough one for the abdominal if you’re not ready for this, the small of your back will come off the floor in which case stop. Remember, the lower the legs the harder the exercise.