Home Fitness Flat stomach: 8 misconceptions about abs

Flat stomach: 8 misconceptions about abs

“To lose belly fat, you have to do abdominals”, “it is normal to have pain when you do abs”, “we must banish crunches” … Misconceptions about the abdominals die hard . Emilie Cailleau, sports coach and author of “Mon cahier abs sculpt” (ed. Solar), disentangles the true from the false.

In the hope of having a flat stomach, many are those who multiply the long sessions of abdominals. Crunches, sit ups, sheathing … These different exercises can help strengthen this area, but by no means the key to getting a flat stomach . And for good reason: they must be associated with a more general physical activity and a balanced diet to be of interest. We take stock with a sports coach to understand everything about the abdominals and to put an end to received ideas!

“To get a flat stomach, only abs are effective”

FALSE. To fight against the small bulge and have a flat stomach , doing endless series of abdominals is not effective. It is first necessary to combine sport and a balanced diet in order to lose weight overall. Secondly, it is possible to target the abdominal area to strengthen it.

On the sport side, Emilie Cailleau advises to favor a combination of cardio and muscle strengthening exercises . “Cardio increases the heart rate, which results in a great energy expenditure. Muscle building, on the other hand, increases the basal metabolism, in other words the number of calories that the body consumes while resting. Muscle becomes more energy hungry. and the body will look in the energy reserves, “she explains. To achieve this, it is first necessary to work the important muscle groups such as the thighs and glutes: the abdominals come after. Abs exercises on their own are therefore not effective in losing fat and getting a flat stomach.

What about food? The sports coach advises to eat balanced and slowly to achieve satiety and avoid digestive disorders. It is therefore recommended to reduce your consumption of industrial sugars, to increase your consumption of fiber, which is more satiating, but also to favor foods with a low glycemic index , which are absorbed more slowly by the body and which are less prone to cravings. “We must also be attentive to his feelings in order to avoid eating under the influence of his emotions and to wonder if our desires are dictated by hunger or by something else” , she specifies.

When the little tummy is linked to digestion problems such as bloating , gentle solutions can be good help “Yoga, breathing exercises, massages with essential oil of fennel, probiotics, Ayurvedic herbal teas special flat stomach … there are many possibilities! “, emphasizes Emilie Cailleau.

“Crunches are not recommended”

FALSE. Crunches are often pointed out and accused of all ills, because they can exert downward pressure when raising the bust and thus weaken the perineum . In question ? “They are often poorly explained and poorly executed, with poor placement or even poor breathing,” regrets Emilie Cailleau.

The sports coach does not recommend crunches if they are done the right way. How? ‘Or’ What ? “By engaging the perineum and the transverse muscle of the abdomen, because the connection of the two makes it possible to avoid overpressure,” she explains It is about doing chest and abdominal lifts in general in a safer way. To do this , “you have to suck the navel inward and contract the perineum,” adds the coach. What about the posture? The spine should be well stretched.“When we lift the bust, we stretch the spine by imagining a thread that pulls the top of the skull towards the ceiling. This self-enlargement avoids settling and creating pressure at the lower back. shoulders “, explains Emilie Cailleau.

The coach’s trick to check his placement? Place a hand on the lower abdomen: when the bust is raised, the hand should not rise, the stomach should harden and the navel should be sucked in.

“It’s normal to have pain when doing sit-ups”

FALSE. “If it hurts when you do abdominals, it’s a sign of discomfort, and you have to stop the exercise,” says Emilie Cailleau. Example: if the pain is in the lower back, it is probably that the pelvis is badly placed and that the lower back is hollowed out in excess. To avoid pain, the coach explains that it is essential to become aware of your body and to adapt the exercise when possible by asking a coach for advice or by choosing simpler options. You should also work gradually, starting with simple exercises, then increasing the difficulty as you go.

“Doing sit-ups doesn’t help you lose weight”

TRUE. The abdominals are not for weight loss. To achieve this goal, it is advisable to set up a balanced diet and to practice a more general physical activity, by carrying out cardio work and muscle strengthening. “With regard to muscle strengthening, favoring polyarticular work with exercises such as squats, for example, increases energy expenditure. Then, it is possible to target areas in particular, such as the abdominals” , indicates Emilie Cailleau.

“To have a flat stomach, you have to do sit-ups every day”

FALSE. Like any physical activity, the abdominals should be done gradually. Do not do it every day but respect the recovery time, having at least two days of rest per week. “This allows the muscles, which undergo micro-lesions under the effect of the exercise, to recover, but also to be more efficient during the following sessions. And from a psychological point of view, this makes it possible to avoid weariness and stay motivated, ” adds Emilie Cailleau.

“I’m thin, I don’t need to strengthen my abs”

FALSE. The interest of the abdominals is not only aesthetic: a toned abdominal strap also helps protect the back. In question ? The transverse muscle of the abdomen is connected to certain muscles of the back which guarantee stability and posture. “When we strengthen our deep abdominals in exercises such as sheathing , we therefore protect our back and our spine because the abdominals are connected to the back muscles like the lumbar muscles” , underlines the sports coach.

And that’s not all: working your deep abdominals contributes to a better balance and allows you to better stabilize your posture , but also to prevent the abdomen from slackening and pushing the organs down.

“The chocolate bar is not the ultimate goal”

TRUE. The chocolate bar is just the tip of the iceberg. This is the reason why we must not make this visible area an obsession! “When we do abdominals, it is not only a question of working the superficial muscles, made up of the rectus abdominis and the obliques : it is also important to strengthen the abdominals in depth, by working the transverse muscle ,  explains Emilie Cailleau. To achieve this, she recommends sheathing or even Pilates.

“After a pregnancy, I have to do sit-ups to regain my figure”

FALSE. After a pregnancy, the resumption of sport is done on a case by case basis. Before getting started, the sports coach reminds you that it is essential to seek the advice of a health professional and perform perineal rehabilitation , but also to listen to yourself and give yourself time.

In the case of an uncomplicated natural delivery, the return to sport can generally be done gradually after 6 to 8 weeks on average, after the post-natal visit and with the agreement of the midwife or doctor. gynecologist. In the event of a cesarean, it can be much later.

During the recovery, Emilie Cailleau recommends focusing on activities without impact and without skipping during the first three months. “The abdominals are not a priority! It is however possible to do small exercises such as sheathing knees on the floor and Pilates taking care to engage transverse and perineum, which allow to rework in depth the abdominal foundations and posture. An important step, because during pregnancy, the center of gravity has shifted forward, which tends to modify the posture, ”she adds.

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