Flatten Your Stomach Without Crunches

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Do you want to flatten your stomach, but without doing crunches?

Or all those typical things that people do at the gym that don’t actually work?

Watch this video and I’ll tell you what it really takes to flatten your stomach.

Welcome to my channel!

I’m all about getting you fit healthy and strong and yes, a flat stomach is part of that.

A lot of people have that as their goal and I’ve been helping people do that for about 20 years now.

I’ve got some great tips coming for you.

At the very end I’m going to tell you why crunches can actually be a really bad idea and they can actually be dangerous for you.

I’m going to break this down into three simple tips. They are simple but unfortunately they’re not easy.

Lose Belly Fat To Flatten Your Stomach

I actually created an entire video about losing belly fat and I definitely recommend that you check that out.

Losing belly fat. Just in the simplest terms, you need to manage your calorie intake and calorie expenditure. So you need to be in a calorie deficit. So a lot of people think they’re in a calorie deficit, they think that they’re not eating that much or whatever.

By definition, if you’re not losing fat, then you’re not in a calorie deficit.

So you need to either increase your energy expenditure or decrease your calorie intake.

In some cases, modifying your macros may also make a difference. And that’s might be another factor that you need to consider. But producing a calorie deficit will reduce your belly fat, and that’s the first thing.

You’re losing fat all over anyway. For a lot of people, the last place to go will be the stomach.

You’re going to have to lose a certain amount of body fat before you starting to flatten things down around the midsection.

Simple but not easy.

Flatten Your Stomach With TVA Exercises

As opposed to crunches, which are primarily working the rectus abdominous TVA exercises, that’s the transversus abdominis. So it’s often thought of as the lower abdominals, but it’s not really just in the lower abdominals. It’s actually all the way around and it’s the inner abdominal.

Your abdominals are in layers, so you’ve got them underneath the rectus, the six pack muscle, the rectus abdominis is actually on the outside, but inside at the very inner part is the TVA or sometimes called the TA depending on um, your terminology. And that’s actually, it’s a big wide muscle. We often feel it just coming in.

You touch where your hipbones are and come in a little bit, but it actually is right under and it’s larger than most people think it is as well. And it, it wraps right around.

It helps to support your back.

A lot of people have weak TVA muscles.

That means that their stomach is kind of bulging out at the bottom, even though even if they are quite slim and don’t have a lot of fat, they’re bulging out at the bottom.

TVA muscles can actually help pull things in. Knowing to activate those when you’re either sitting or standing can help tighten things up and improve the appearance.

It’s going to flatten your stomach.

I’m going to go through a few of those exercises, the ones that are really important.

TVA Exercises To Flatten Your Stomach

The important thing when you’re doing TVA exercises is that you first need to learn how to activate that TVA.

TVA Contractions

Normally it’s easiest for people if they’re lying down on their back. And then you’re going to have your knees bent. And the first thing you’re going to do, cause you’ve got a natural arch, your lumber lumber arch here.

That should normally be in there. What you’re gonna do is just place your hands under there and then flatten. Press down with that arch onto your fingers. So then you’re squeezing. And by doing that movement, you should be able to start to feel the TVA in there. So you’re pressing down, but really you can feel the contraction on the other side.

Normally I have clients find it where the hipbones are and then just coming in a couple of maybe an inch or two in.

Then you just press down very hard. The one on the outside that would be rectus. It’s coming all the way.

Your rectus abdominis is outside and your TVA is very deep underneath.

It’s just a subtle movement. So as you pressed flat, then you should feel that area of contract underneath your fingers. And then you release and you go back into a natural arch position.

You look underneath my back there, I’m going back to a regular arch. And then we’re going to do another contraction. So to flatten your back and hold for one, two, three, and then release. So this one, when you’re starting out, you can just do three sets of 10 and you’re going to be doing it. Hold each of those for three seconds.

One, two, three, feel that squeeze and then relax it back. You have that lumber curve again.

And then press down one, two, three, and then relax. That’s the TVA contraction.

Marching

Now once you’ve learned to activate the TVA correctly, we’re going to move on to the next movement.

You’re in the same position. To start off, you want to flatten that arch to activate the TVA, and now you’re gonna lift one foot and then bring it back down again.

And then you’re going to lift the opposite side and bring it down again.

Initially you’re probably only to be able to do one lift and come back down before you feel like you have to release. And then let go of that. Let go of the TV at the front. Eventually it’d be able to do more in a row. So we’re going to start this. Maybe you start with five and that’s okay.

Press flat first and then do a March left. So your squeeze and keeping the back flat during that, and then switch, same kind of thing, and then back down and left. And it keeps switching from slide to slide. Just gently and always focusing on maintaining the contraction here at the bottom of the TVA.

TVA Foot Slides

The next exercise is going to start from the same position, flattening the back first to activate the TVA, and then you’re gonna move the foot. Just slide across the floor, just slightly off, off, up off the floor, and then back.

And then you want to maintain your contraction. You can actually have a rest here in between. And then squeeze again, tract, and then out with the other foot and back. So it was just a foot slide. You don’t need to do a big lift or anything like that. Just keep it along the floor, gentle. And then back. So those are the TVA foot slides.

TVA Seated Squeezes

And now we’re going to go into the TVA seated squeeze.

I’m going to show you this from a couple of positions.

You can have your legs crossed here. And the first thing that’s going to happen is that you’re going to breathe in and out. As you breathe out, you pull your stomach all the way in as far as you can possibly go. Then you’re gonna breathe out and pull it even further in.

You do the silly little breathing.

I’m going to show you this one from the side, but just sit however you’re comfortable. If you can’t do cross-legged, that’s fine. You can do this with your legs straight out in front as well. Whatever’s comfortable. So from the side here for a sun reigning in and out.

I’ve just done 10 there and that’s pretty challenging. You could work your way up to about 30, but the whole is that you want to squeeze even tighter each time that you squeeze out.

Sometimes I call this a pull. Pull, pull, pull. Just keep pulling it until you feel the inner abdominals or the lower abdominals, the TVA contracting as you do this exercise.

TVA Wall Squeeze

Now this last exercise is just a variation of the one that we did in the seated position. And you need to be up against the wall. You’re going to bring yourself just a little bit more than 90 degrees and you’re going to do exactly the same thing that you did on the floor. So what you’re gonna do is breathe in, breathe out.

You’re drawing your stomach in as far as you possibly can, focusing on the lower abdominals, keeping your back flat against the wall as well. So think about that when you did the TVA on the floor.

It’s the same kind of thing here.

You’ve breathed out as far as you can, and now you’re going to do the same kind of breath. So this is a progression from the seed of the one that’s a little bit harder. Sometimes it’s good to try it from different positions just so you can get the feel of it.

Eventually you want to be able to do the contraction in any position.

So as you’re moving around, you can feel that contraction. That’s really what it’s about.

Developing the functional strength and the abdominals and really tightening up that TVA to keep the stomach flat.

Why TVA Exercises Are Important To Flatten Your Stomach

It’s really important to do those TVA exercises on a regular basis so that you can keep that area strong.

You’ll keep your stomach feeling flat.

Reduce Digestive Bloating To Flatten Your Stomach

I actually already created an entire video about reducing stomach bloating.

Have Smaller Meals

To simplify, number one was have smaller meals so that you don’t have as much in your stomach at the time. It makes it easier for your digestive system to cope with the food that you’re eating.

Reduce Gas-Producing Food

Number two was reduce gas producing food. So those are the typical things like beans, cruciferous vegetables, like the broccoli and cauliflower and that type of thing.

Things containing fructose can be a problem for some people.

So that may be some fruit for sure, but some vegetables as well. So asparagus and zucchini, those are some vegetables that also have fruit toast, which may cause bloating as well. The one thing I didn’t mention was that raw vegetables can actually be much more difficult to digest than cooked vegetables. So a lot of people think that if they’re eating, they’re eating salads and they’re doing themselves a great thing, and then all of a sudden they’re like blown it out to here. Right?

I have a hard time because I have digestive issues. I have a hard time dealing with raw vegetables so I can have it only have small amounts of raw vegetables. Otherwise it becomes very difficult. Uh, when the food is broken down to a certain extent by cooking, whether you’re roasting it or baking or steaming, then it actually helps your body to absorb those nutrients as well.

So you can reduce your bloating and that’ll keep your stomach a little bit flatter.

Don’t Drink Liquids With Your Meals

And the third thing, not drinking liquids with your meals, because again, you’re going to have a larger amount of stuff in your stomach, right? So you want to keep it small meals and try not to drink water with your meals. Have them have it apart. So if you’re, you’re going to drink your liquids, then have it at least like an hour, half an hour before or an hour after your meals. And that will help reduce your stomach bloating. So I’ve just given you a three simple tips, simple but not easy for flattening your stomach. And if you follow all those through, your stomach will get flatter. It just takes a little bit patience and some time to achieve it.

Why Are Crunches A Bad Idea To Flatten Your Stomach?

And now what you’ve been waiting for, why are crunches such a bad idea?

I don’t want to say that they’re a bad idea for everybody because if you are a strong person, an athlete, a physique competitor, a bodybuilder or something like that. Crunches may actually be at useful thing.

They do help to define the rectus abdominis. That’s the six pack muscle. And you want to be doing them, preferably in lower rep ranges, just like you would do with any other muscle group.

But the reason that they’re not a great choice for most people is that number one, people don’t use great technique.

What Mistakes Are Made With Crunches?

They’re jamming their neck up and down. You make your neck really sore. A lot of people don’t do enough back work. So they’re not doing, say, Superman exercises or bird dogs to strengthen the back muscles as well.

They’re doing a lot of work forward. And if you think about what we do in our daily lives, we’re often forward anyways. So we’re sitting, we’re at our computers, we’re all hunched toward this way.

If people are just doing crunches and maybe they’re doing just cardio and crunches and that’s (I’ve seen that a lot at the gym) it’s actually quite common. and That’s probably one of the worst things to do.

You’re not strengthening your back, you’re only making things worse or you’re putting a lot of stress on your back probably by doing crunches with poor technique and also short range of motions.

For most people, crunches are not necessary and you don’t need to do them to have a flat stomach.

Hopefully you learned a little bit about flattening your stomach today.

Ivana Chapman

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 5-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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