If you want a flat stomach, strengthen and stabilize your deep core muscles. It is also critical to stabilize deep core muscles to protect yourself against injuries.
It is a mistake to focus on over-training the superficial abdominal muscles like the rectus abdominis (six pack abs). It would be like a thin crust of ice on top of liquid. You need a firm foundation under your superficial abdominals for support and definition. This will also help you burn dangerous visceral fat.
The body’s core is so much more than your “six pack” abs. A strong core will maximize your strength and power. Since the core is your body’s center of gravity and all movement begins with the core, it is essential to strengthen and stabilize it.
A strong core will allow you to handle heavier loads as your training progresses, with reduced risk of injuries.
Transversus Abdominis – the deepest of the abdominal muscles, it lies under the obliques and wraps around your spine for protection and stability. Think of the transversus abdominis as “your internal weight belt.” It is recruited when you brace your torso (like getting ready to take a punch to the gut).
3 Tips to Get a Flat Stomach
1. Engage your deep core muscles throughout the day. As you sit, stand and walk during the day, keep upright posture and brace your core.
This will make a huge difference as you strenghten your core day after day, all day.
2. You need to do isometric core exercises to stabilize deep core muscles.
This is a surprise to many people. Isometric core exercises build up the deep stabilizing muscles and give tone to your entire core area. Isometric exercises help you build strength and burn fat without moving much.
Isometric exercises are very underrated. They are great for building muscles, stabilizing muscles, building strength, improving power and burning fat.
Isometric contractions can be described as a type of muscle contraction where your muscles develop tension without changing length. For example, pushing against a wall and holding for 30 seconds causes an isometric contraction.
You should strength train your muscles with all contraction types (eccentric, isometric, concentric). All muscles function eccentrically (reduces force or deceleration), isometrically (stabilizes force) and concentrically (produces force).
Isometric exercises cause most if not all of your muscles to work during an exercise. The stability ball plank exercise (pictured above) is a great example. To do the plank, you get into position and hold for a period of time (like 20 seconds). So, many core exercises are great isometric exercises.
3. Brace your torso while doing exercises.
Unknown to many, exercises like squats, standing shoulder presses and standing bentover rows work the core in a major way.
There is probably no other exercise that has a greater impact on your body’s muscle-building, metabolism and energy expenditure than squats (bodyweight, barbell or dumbbell).
This means your legs (especially quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes), abdominals and lower back are targeted. Even your arms and shoulders will feel the effects of the exercise.
Research shows that the abdominal muscles are engaged more when doing squats than they are doing many of the more popular ab exercises.
Your lower back will also get quite a workout. If you do the exercise correctly, you won’t injure your low back.