No more sit ups: Try these exercises for a strong belly

‘Fit Mom’ Natasje gives you tips about getting back in shape.

In my previous blogs you read about my transition to a more healthy lifestyle. Are you also thinking about working on a healthy body but not sure about how to get that physical metamorphosis done? Then start with these exercises.
During my outdoor training session a lot of participants just gave birth. The most common question asked during their first training session is: “Am I allowed to train my abdominal already?” Why? “To get a flat belly” they respond. Sit ups and crunches are not the right exercises. Why focus on your abdominal when you can make your whole core stronger?

Functional vs. isolated training

What is the difference between training the core or abdominal such as sit ups or crunches? First of all, core training is functional. All the core-muscles work together, which creates more core stability and reduces the diastasis (the widening of the gap between the two sections of the abdominal muscle). This is what gives you cosmetic results. Abdominal-training is less functional because you train just one isolated muscle. This can actually increase your diastasis (see below).

Illustration of diastasis. Closing the gap will give you cosmetic results.

Illustration of diastasis. Closing the gap will give you cosmetic results.

Abdominal exercises are sit-ups and crunches. People do these exercises ‘cause they think they can create a so-called “six pack” with it. Do you want results? This is not helping. Instead use a well known, and heavy, core exercise, called planking

Even I still use that last exercise on regular basis and even did a 30-day plank challenge. You start with 20 seconds of planking and build up in 30 days to 5 minutes of planking (!). To be honest, I did not think I would make it, but I did. Results? On a short term of 30 days it maybe made me a bit stronger, but not the instant cosmetic change. But I was convinced that planking makes your core stronger.
Doing my core-exercise almost on weekly basis I notice it stabilizes my core, my back is getting stronger and I also see the cosmetic effect (Six pack? No. Tighter belly? Yes).

Planking is a good core exercise that decreases diastasis.

Natasja doing a perfect plank. Planking is a good core exercise that decreases diastasis.

Train your core stability to prevent yourself from sneeze leaks

Of course there are so much more core-exercises than only planking. Think about squats, lunges, twists. I can hear you thinking: really those exercises? Yep. Actually, all standing and sitting exercises where you engage multiple muscles (belly, back, butt and pelvic muscles) are efficient.

All standing and sitting exercises where you engage multiple muscles (belly, back, butt and pelvic muscles) are efficient.

Your core-stability is so much more important than you know. It helps you with things you do on daily basis (sitting, standing, lifting kids), but also gives you the best results. Think about it during your next workout or the next time you see a picture of a person with a six pack!

Lots of women are having trouble holding their urine during running, sneezing or coughing. This has everything to do with the pelvic muscle. It is a muscle that you can train with simple exercises. It can help you hold your bladder for example during running. So why only train an abdominal muscle when you can strengthen your entire core including pelvic muscles with these simple core exercises?

Be happy, be you, be inspired! Have no excuses.

Signing off,
Natasja, Fit Mom.

Carin Exercise is based on the philosophy of core training and stabilization to help you control the bladder. You can order Carin Wearables online here

Natasja BeksNatasja Beks-Kartodimedjo (35) is living with her husband and lovely daughter in Eindhoven (The Netherlands). Besides being a mom and wife she is a full time owner of a successful business, fitness instructor and outdoor trainer for Mom in Balance

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