Fitness Corner

by Danielle Smith
Contributing Writer

Since the start of the modern era beauty norms have told us that a flat, toned stomach is the epitome of fitness and beauty. This toned stomach is extremely hard to achieve and takes a dedication to diet and exercise. Fear not Average Joe, for there is hope that you too can achieve a nice flat stomach. This stomach may not be chiseled, though it will be lean and strong. To achieve this strong stomach all you need is a good plan and some hard work.

There are many machines on the market today that promise ripped abs in six weeks, we look on in disbelief since we are educated and know it takes more than simply using this machine faithfully to achieve these results. Since most of us cannot afford these machines and realize that even with them we will not have the stomach we have always wanted, we need to look to other means to achieve our goals.

Anatomy tells us there are four main muscle groups that make up your stomach area. The Rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, internal oblique and external oblique’s. To gain a flat stomach and a slim waistline you must work out all of these muscle groups. The rectus abdominis is the muscle that gives your stomach the ripped look or the ‘six pack’; it is the top layer of muscle in your stomach. The transversus is a deep muscle that runs horizontally wrapping around your torso. The internal and external oblique’s run from your hips to your ribs on either side of your stomach and around your torso.

The secret to rock hard abs starts with variance in your workout. It is smart to incorporate numerous exercises that focus on different parts of your stomach. Upper abs can be worked out with planks and sit-ups. The lower abs where most women find the ‘little pooch’ can be alleviated with exercised targeting the lower area. Exercises such as straight leg crunches and sit-ups on a Bosu or stability ball will work great. If your problem is instead those pesky love handles you should do side-to-side intensive exercises such as crunches and medicine ball twists.

Here is a sample abdominal circuit you can incorporate into your workout that takes all four muscle areas into account: Plank 1 min.; Bosu ball sit-ups 50 count; Medicine Ball Twists 50 per side; Straight Leg Crunches 50 and finish up with another plank for 1 minute. This circuit can be repeated multiple times and as often in a week as you wish! Have fun getting the stomach you have always hoped for!

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