Belly Toning 101

I start this month with a powerful quote from the incredible strength coach, Mike Boyle:

“I can’t even tell you how often I hear someone at the end of the workout say something like ‘I need to do more abs, I want to get a six pack.'”

The truth is that passing on a six pack is a better way to get a six pack than 600 sit-ups. The key to abdominal definition is the visibility of the abdominal musculature, not the strength of the muscles.

You can do 1 million sit-ups, crunches or whatever exercise you want and it will have no effect on abdominal definition.

When people ask me the best exercise for abs I tell them table push-aways.

It usually takes a few minutes for them to get it. It’s not a joke, it’s the truth. If you want better abs, eat less and train more but, don’t just train your abs.”

Now that you understand what it takes to make your abs visually more appealing, lets also talk about ways to make them internally stronger.

The main function of the muscles in your trunk is stabilization. The reason we need a strong trunk is so it can keep us standing and sitting upright, among other things. Here are a few great ways to keep your trunk strong:

1. Stabilizing a straight spine and neck in a straight arm push up position.

2. Kneel on both knees with your arms off the floor straight out in front of your chest. Clasp your hands together. Have a friend gently push/pull on your hands from each side. The work is done by resisting the force of your friend and remaining balanced and motionless.

3. Side plank on one elbow. Lift your hips as high as you can toward the sky.

4. Lay on your back with your arms lifted towards the sky and knees/feet off the floor bent 90 degrees. Remain motionless for 30-90 seconds.

5. Lay on your belly with your arms straight out over your head and legs straight, too. Lift your arms, legs, head, and chest off the floor and simply hold them there motionless for 15 sec.

Obviously there will be special populations who need modifications, but if you’re injury-free and have no restrictions, you should be able to gain a lot of strength from these basic trunk exercises. Enjoy your new ideas and I’ll be back next month with some more intermediate options for belly toning.

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