The stomach muscles are often the ones that need maximum work in a weight loss program, as there is a tendency for fat cells to accumulate around the abdominal area, giving one an unattractive bulge!
Here are a few excellent exercises to build a trim torso:
Side Stretches: Keeping your feet hip-width- apart and slightly turned out, lift your arms above your head and clasp your hands together, keeping your shoulders dropped. Now, in a smooth movement, looking straight ahead, drop down on to the left, bending from the waist. Try to get low enough for your arms to be parallel with the floor. Slowly come back to the centre and repeat on the right. Do at least 6-10 drops each side.
- Torso Twists: While performing this exercise, keep in mind that it is only the waist and upper body that turn – the hips stay still and facing the front. Begin by standing on your feet hip-width apart, feet slightly turned out and knees bent. Rest your hands lightly on your shoulder, elbows pointing straight out. Keep your back straight and your tail-bone dropping down towards the floor. Turn from the waist to look over your left shoulder. Do 16 turns slowly, feeling the stretch and the repeat to the right.
- Upper-body Circle: Here comes a compact version of the Torso Twists exercise. To begin with, stand with your feet hip-width apart and slightly turned out, your arms raised, shoulders down and hands clasped. Drop down to the left until your arms are parallel to the floor, feeling the stretch up your right side. Hold the stretch for a second and then turn slowly so that you are looking down on the floor, keep your body on the same level. This calls for a lot of work from the stomach muscles. Slowly lift back so that you are facing forward again and then straighten up. Build this up to 4-6 times on each side.
- Roll-Ups: This exercise is a series of movements that build up in difficulty, so start with the first, only go on to the later ones as your muscles strengthen.
Lie on the floor with your legs stretched out and your arms at your side, palms facing upwards. Pull your stomach muscles back into the floor, tighten your buttock muscles under you at the same time. This will cause your knees to bend slightly and your pelvis to tilt. Repeat eight times.
In the second stage, repeat the pelvic tilt, this time moving your upper body off the floor, arms outstretched and parallel to the floor. Your head should come up last. Do not raise yourself far enough to make your stomach bulge or your shoulders tense. Repeat 6-8 times.
In the third phase, you begin as before and continue to raise your upper body until you are sitting straight up, arms stretched out in front, head and neck in line with your spine.
Now drop your head forward onto your chest and roll back down through the spine, tightening to the stomach muscles. Try to feel your back go down, vertebra by vertebra, lengthening out on the floor. Repeat 6 times or till muscle fatigue.
NOTE: If your stomach muscles begin to bulge or quiver at any time during these exercises – stop as you are doing something that is beyond them. Also, when lying on the back, the lower your legs are towards the floor, the more strain you will be putting on the stomach; lift them higher, and the exercise will instantly become easier. The key to seeking prominent results is consistency. Practising these exercises, slowly 5-6 times a week will show you considerable results.
By Reema Sarin, Founder BOLLYFIT