Strength Training Tips – Pelvic Tilts Flatten the Belly!

People are always asking me for the best exercises to flatten the belly. Here’s an easy one that you can do anytime to strengthen the transverse abdominis, the deep abdominal muscle, and the obliques, which run along the sides of your waist. In the pelvic tilt these muscles act together to compress the abdomen and provide a corset- like effect of flattening the belly, narrowing the waist and supporting the low back. As a bonus, the movement simultaneously stretches the low back. The three variations described here offer you several options in positioning. For all variations, repeat 10-15 times.

Supine Pelvic Tilt: Although pelvic tilts can be done properly in many positions, start with the easiest – lying flat on your back – while you practice coordinating the breath with the abdominal action.

  • Lie on your back on a mat or cushioned surface with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Rest your arms by your sides, palms up.
  • Your spine should be in neutral, with the natural curve in the low back.
  • Inhale, bringing your breath into the abdomen, filling the belly with air.
  • Exhale forcefully by pulling your abdominals in tight, pushing the air out.
  • With one fluid motion, flatten your low back into the floor, allowing your hips to curl one inch (2.5 cm) off the floor.
  • Release back to start and repeat.

Kneeling Pelvic Tilt: This position is helpful for anyone who is not able to lie flat. Physician guidelines recommend avoiding the supine position above after the first trimester of pregnancy because it may interfere with blood supply to the fetus.

  • Kneel on a mat with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, your back in neutral spine alignment.
  • Inhale, filling the belly with air.
  • Exhale forcefully, compressing the abdomen, drawing the belly button toward the spine.
  • With one fluid motion, reverse the curve in the low back and tilt your hips under.
  • Release back to start and repeat.

Sitting Pelvic Tilt: It is more difficult to perform the pelvic tilt in an upright posture, standing or sitting, but doing this exercise on a stability ball provides a helpful cue, as the ball will shift forward slightly when you do the movement correctly.

  • Sit up tall on the ball, legs parallel, hip width apart. Rest your hands on your knees.
  • Keep your back straight, in neutral spine alignment.
  • Inhale and fill your belly with air.
  • Exhale forcefully, compressing the abdomen, pulling the belly button toward the spine.
  • With a fluid motion, reverse the curve in the low back by tucking your hips under, rolling the ball forward one inch (2.5 cm).
  • Release and repeat.

This simple exercise takes only a few minutes to do during the course of your day. Squeeze in 10-15 reps whenever you think of it. As you strengthen the muscles involved, you create a natural girdle which encircles your mid-section, flattening your belly and supporting your back.

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