When you’re looking to get fit, one of the first places guys target is the belly.
That’s smart, but maybe not why you’d expect. This should have nothing to do with how you think you look. Sure, people can get hung up on their appearance when they carry weight in their gut—but the fat you carry in your belly is more insidious than other types, making your focus on the stomach well founded. Belly fat, a.k.a. visceral fat, has been linked to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Once you begin to shed those pounds and flatten your belly, you’ll be able to move better, too. Strengthening those core muscles will only help you with everything else you’re trying to do in the gym, and outside of it, too. Think of your training that way instead of hanging all of your hopes on hitting a certain target weight. If you’re stronger, you’ll be healthier too.
Start honing your stomach with the following 7 exercises to hammer the dozens of muscles between your shoulders and hips and rev your metabolism at the same time.
Hollow Body Holds
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Think of the hollow body hold as the inversion of a plank. Rather than bracing yourself against the ground and letting gravity do the work, you’re flipped around, fighting against the force to keep yourself in position.
DO IT: Lay down, pressing your lower back into the ground. Hinge at the hips to tuck your knees into your chest while also raising your shoulders off the ground, reaching forward with your arms.
Extend your legs straight out and hold in position, stretching your arms back behind your head and squeezing your core to maintain your posture. For beginners, keep your arms pointed forward to make the move less difficult. Hold for 30 seconds to start, then ramp up to a minute or more once you develop the core strength.
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The bird dog helps you to move dynamically within your workout, which is a great way to help you hone that stomach. You don’t just work your core and hip muscles with the move—you also work on your balance and coordination.
DO IT: Put your weight on your hands and toes, bending your knees to take a tabletop position, squeezing your core to keep your spine straight.
Raise your left arm to reach straight forward, while simultaneously raising your right leg and stretching it straight out. Hold for a count, squeezing your core, before returning to the original position. Repeat the movement with your right arm and left leg to count 1 rep.
If you want to lose your gut, you need to work as many muscles as possible. The burpee does just that. The explosive exercise—which entails going from a pushup position to a jump and back to a pushup position—hits every muscle from head to toe.
DO IT: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your palms rest on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
Kick your legs backward into a pushup position, perform a pushup, and then quickly reverse the movement and perform a jump when you stand. That’s 1 rep.
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Think of the mountain climber as a moving plank. You perform a mini crunch when you explosively draw one knee into your chest.
DO IT: Assume a pushup position with your hands below your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from your head to your heels. This is the starting position.
Lifting your right foot off of the floor, drive your right knee towards your chest. Tap the floor with your right foot and then return to the starting position. Alternate legs with each repetition.
The kettlebell swing might be one of the best calorie-torching exercises of all time. You’ll use your posterior chain to generate the power to drive the weight up, using nothing but your hip hinge.
DO IT: Bend at your hips and hold a kettlebell with both hands at arms length down in front of you. Rock back slightly and “hike” the kettlebell between your legs.
Then squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward forcefully, and swing the weight to shoulder height. Reverse the move between your legs and repeat.
image : Menshealth
Poor posture can lead to a bulging gut, so your desk-jockey slouch maybe your flat belly’s enemy number one. To fix your day-to-day form, try the archer row to strengthen your core and your back at the same time.
DO IT: Grab one dumbbell. Get into a pushup position with your hands under your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Separate your feet so they’re slightly wider than hip-width and turn them so they both point to your left.
With your right palm on the floor, hold the dumbbell in your left hand and perform a row. Be careful not to let your torso rotate with the weight of the dumbbell.
If you haven’t used a medicine ball since high school, you’re missing out.
DO IT: Hold the ball above your head with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slam the ball on the floor as hard as you can. Catch the rebound and repeat.
watch out for more health tips next week Thursday.
Additional information courtesy MensHealth