It being summer, and beach session, I have had a lot of folks ask about getting a flatter stomach. While training your Rectus Abdominis (your six pack) is an important part of fitness and looking your best, just working these muscles out will not give you that flat tummy you are looking for. In fact an over developed 6 pack will make your stomach stick out and appear fat. The secret to a flat stomach is the human corset.
Don’t worry the human corset is not a renaissance era garment of torture. The human corset is the nickname for the Transverse Abdominals (TVA). The TVA is a set of muscles that are just beneath your 6pack muscles and connect to your back, ribs, and pelvis, and are responsible for stabilizing your entire mid-section. If functional fitness is your main goal working out these muscles is key. Having a strong TVA will allow you to do heavier lifting, more powerful movements and reduce the risk of injury. It has been shown that the TVA can reduce the strain on the spine by 40% during intense exercise.
All the health and fitness stuff is great but let’s get back to looking good at the beach! We have all seen people who have a bulging stomach on minute, take their shirt off and suddenly their stomach disappears. That is the human corset at work. The TVA is the muscle responsible for holding our stomachs tight and flat. This synching not only gives us the appearance of a flatter stomach but strengthens the core and allows for better posture.
So how can we develop a permanent flat stomach? The answer is easy… suck in the gut. By forcing the TVA to suck in your stomach you develop a mind body connection that will over time make a lasting change on your waistline and posture. Also try Vacuum Exercises, such as flutter kicks, where you lie on your back and pump your legs up and down while sucking your stomach in, or plank where you hold your body up like a table braced on your forearms and toes, while sucking in your stomach. Just keep in mind that they are called vacuum exercises for a reason, you have to suck in those stomach muscles as you do them.