It’s not easy to achieve killer abs, but all muscles benefit from a workout which encourages stretching, and the stomach is no different. Concentrating on the abdominal muscles will produce quick and noticeable results, especially when combined with a sensible healthy eating plan.
One of the very best exercises for achieving a toned tummy is the stomach crunch. Lie on the floor with legs bent and raised and neck lifted slightly off the ground. Now, for the crunch, bring knees and head closely together and hold for a second or two, before gently lowering back to the starting position. It is advisable to ensure the head is lightly supported by the hands, but all the work of this exercise comes directly from the abdominal muscles. The head is only supported to prevent neck strain.
Stomach crunches are best done slowly because the longer the muscle is held the better the stretch. The results will be much more noticeable too.
The debate rages as to which is better, sit ups or crunches. In a recent survey conducted by Dr Raymond Chong at the Medical College of Georgia, full sit ups came out as the winner, but it really depends on individual preference. Different exercises suit different people. A combination of crunches and sit ups is the best advice because, as Dr Chong discovered, the exercises target different muscles.
Full sit ups were defined in the study as sit ups performed lying on the floor with legs bent and arms folded across the chest. The abdominal muscles are then employed to pull the body upright to a sitting position.
It’s important not to forget about your sides when exercising the body core. To stretch the sides, stand with legs apart, then reach over first to the left, with left hand running down the left leg for support, right arm curved over head and stretching out as far as possible to the left. Then repeat in the opposite direction, stretching the left arm over to the right.