7 Stomach Muscle Exercise Habits To Avoid
As with all things, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about tightening up your stomach muscles in order to achieve a flat stomach. There isn't any benefit to your body if you're not working out correctly. You will not see any signs of improvement and the worst-case scenario will be to cause physical injury. When doing stomach exercises, or any other exercises for that matter, be sure to consult a professional. If unable to consult a personal trainer, try to do your exercises in front of a mirror so that you can see if your body movements are the same as the book illustrations or the DVD that you are watching. Remember to do stretching exercises and warm up exercises prior to starting your work out so as not to cause any injury to your muscles or ligaments. Keep in mind the 7 Stomach Muscle Exercise Habits to Avoid listed below while you are working out so as not to cause yourself unrepairable damage to your body.
1. Keep Your Knees Up
When you are doing crunches, make sure that your knees are bent and your feet are flat on the floor. Make sure that your knees are centered and pointed upward. Keep them centered and up, not leaning to one side. If you drop your knees to one side, you will be compressing your vertebrae, which can lead to a painful back injury.
2. Straight Leg Lift
This is a traditional "stomach exercise" that should be avoided. This exercise actually works the lower back more than any muscles in the midsection. Using this exercise can put strain on your back, and possibly lead to injury.
Traditional sit-ups actually do very little for the abdominal muscles, but can cause great injury to your neck and pelvic vertebrae and to your shoulder muscles. Even when done properly, the strain is mostly on the hip muscles and neck muscles. Momentum is generally what forces the torso up and down as most people do sit-ups in rapid succession. Usually your body is pulled up with the arms and the neck, as the fingers are laced behind the neck. Obviously, this is not the point of the exercise. The crunch is a much better choice as an alternative to old school sit-ups.
Crunches can be just as ineffectual as sit-ups if done by themselves. Crunches must be combined with resistance exercises in order to be effective. If the exercises are not done in the right combination, you could actually be making your stomach worse.
5. Too Many Reps
More is not always better, especially when exercising the stomach muscles. There is never a need to do more than fifty reps of a stomach exercise. If fifty reps is not giving you results, doing more than that will not help either. As you build strength, if you feel the need for a bigger challenge, try a more difficult exercise instead of adding more reps. As with Yoga exercises, your exercise movements will increase with more difficulty as your abilities increase and your body becomes more limber, your muscles elasticity increases.
Believe it or not, how you sleep has an effect on your stomach exercise routine. Sleeping on your stomach should be avoided. It is one of the best ways to cause back pain, because it forces your back to arch. If you sleep in a position that causes back pain, it will make it much more difficult to work on your midsection in the morning. The best way to avoid this is to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees, or sleep on you side with a pillow between your knees. This will help keep your vertebrae in alignment, prevent back pain, and allow you to work out pain free in the morning.
7. No Resistance
All stomach exercises need resistance to be effective, whether it comes from a resistance band, an exercise ball, or just gravity. Exercises that do not use any resistance, such as standing broomstick twists, will only benefit your waistline and not your stomach. Waist twist, however, can be useful as a good warm up stretch for your trunk, and to loosen up the vertabrae, but they just won't tighten up or flatten those stomach muscles.
Proper exercise technique is imperative.
These are just a few tips to help you avoid wasting time and energy, or causing yourself any physical injury or suffering. Be sure to do your research before beginning a new exercise routine, and always consult your physician before attempting any physical fitness routine, especially if you have been sedentary for any length of time.