How the Abdominal Muscles Work
Though most people just think about the abs that are visible when a person has a six pack, there are actually four different sets of abdominal muscles that work together to support your stomach and back. The rectus abdominis muscles are two sheets of muscle that run from the pelvis to the ribs, and these muscles help you bend forward. Both the internal and external obliques run diagonally along your sides, starting at the outer edge of your ribs and wrapping inwards towards the hips. Below both the rectus abdominis and the abdominal obliques is the transverse abdominis, which wraps around the waist like a corset. This muscle supports the spine, but is also the muscle mostly responsible for holding the torso tightly together. In order to get a slim waist, it is necessary to actually work out all four of these muscle sets instead of just focusing on building the rectus abdominis muscles.
How To Slim Your Waist
Most people who work out in the gym just try to do crunches and bicycle crunches to work their abdomen muscles. While you definitely feel a burn when you do these exercises, they do not actually do that much to slim the waist. Instead, you want to try doing exercises that activate more than one group of abdominal muscles at the same time. Exercises that focus on slimming the waist are better because they mimic the natural movements of the body and exercises that tighten the transverse abdominis.
For maximum stomach slimming, eating at a calorie deficit is also helpful because it allows the body to burn any fat that has built up around the waist. However, even if you are already thin, your waist will remain larger than it should be if you have weak abdominal muscles. Therefore, you should consider trying the following exercises, which are specifically designed to work the muscles that slim the waist.
The Best Exercises to Trim Your Tummy
1. The Plank
This exercise has been gaining popularity in the bodybuilding community in the last few years because it is so incredibly effective at trimming your stomach. It works by activating all of the muscles of the abs while you are working to hold your body upright, and as a bonus, it also works out the glutes and shoulder muscles. To do the plank properly, start in a kneeling position with your elbows and forearms on the ground. Extend your legs one at a time so that you are putting all of your weight on your toes and arms while keeping your body as straight as possible. Be sure to tense your glutes and ab muscles while doing the plank for maximum benefit, and try to avoid letting your hips raise above your shoulders or sag towards the ground. Try to hold it for as long as possible.
This exercise really gets your heart pumping while activating the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis. Start by crouching on your toes with your palms on the ground. In one swift motion, extend both your legs at the same time so that all of your weight is on your palms and toes while your body is entirely straight. Then quickly hop back up to the starting position and stand up straight with your hands in the air. Repeat at least five times more. If you are interested in exercising more muscles at once, you can also include a quick push up between the plank position and returning to the crouching position.
3. Vacuum Exercise
This exercise is a little unusual because it does not include making any significant physical movements. However, it is a great stomach slimming exercise because it focuses entirely on the transverse abdominis, which is the muscle that pulls the waist inwards. You cannot do regular resistance training to work this muscle deep within the body, but it is still possible to exercise it by contracting it. Start by kneeling on all fours on the flour. Exhale all of your breath, which forcefully contracts the abs, and then pull your belly button towards your spine. Hold it for at least ten seconds, then relax and take a deep breath. After a quick rest, you can repeat this exercise a few more times. While doing it, make sure that you do not hold your breath for too long because that can result in dizziness or imbalances.
4. Leg Raises
Leg raises are a great way to work both the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis, without risking injury to your back. They primarily focus on the lower abdominals, tightening this tricky spot. Begin this exercise by lying flat on your back on the floor with your arms resting on the ground next to you. While keeping your back, bottom, arms, and head in contact with the floor, raise your legs to a 90 degree position. Be sure to keep your stomach contracted while raising your legs, so you activate the transverse abdominis. Keep your legs raised for ten seconds, and then lower them again. Do this at least 10 times.
For maximum waist slimming effects, try to incorporate all of these exercises into your weekly routine. If you cannot do them for the recommended amount of time at first, do not despair. With consistent exercise, you will be able to strengthen your abdominal muscles and trim your waist.