When it comes to parts of the body that we’re most unhappy with, the stomach tends to take the lead. One survey found that 65% of female respondents rated their tummy as their least favourite bit of the body. It’s not just women who feel this way; four out of five men surveyed detest their beer bellies.
Despite such high levels of tummy dissatisfaction, it can be surprisingly difficult to shift excess belly fat. Many people resort to fad diets or weight loss tablets to tighten up the tummy, but often fail to see any lasting results.
Yet, achieving flat abs doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. With the right kind of exercises incorporated into your keep-fit regime, there’s no reason why you have to put up with a wobbly midriff. Plus, with excess fat around the middle linked to an increase in heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers, there’s never been a better reason to get those abs in shape. Here are some top stomach exercises to try.
This is an easy exercise to do, even at home, and will ensure those tummy muscles get tightened. Simply sit on a chair with your hands on the edge of the seat. Raise your feet off the ground, and lift your bottom off the chair. You should feel your stomach muscles tighten. Aim to hold this pose for 10 seconds. Lower yourself onto the chair and repeat the exercise for around a minute.
You don’t have to sweat it out in a gym to burn belly fat. Turn to yoga instead. This holistic exercise works the whole body, so while focusing on toning your tummy, other parts of the body don’t get ignored. Yoga poses that are good for tightening the tummy include the cobra pose, the boat pose, the plank and the bow pose. Crucially, yoga is a great way to relax the mind and reduce stress, which may stop you overeating.
There are lots of great reasons to make a beeline for the nearest rowing machine at your gym. Rowing machines give an impressive workout to your leg muscles, arms, shoulders, back and core, but they also help to burn fat in the tummy region. To pummel the fat from your midriff, row for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat this eight times. Try to increase the pace each time.
Opposite arm and leg raise
Warm-ups should be a part of every fitness routine, and this particular abs-focused exercise can be done before any main training session. Starting on all fours, raise your left arm straight out to shoulder height. Keep your left knee touching the floor, but extend your right leg outwards. Hold this pose for several seconds, and lean forward slightly. You should feel the muscles tighten in your stomach. Repeat this exercise on the opposite side, and do around 20 alternating reps. This exercise is also useful for toning leg and arm muscles and helps to strengthen your core.
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