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Does Tightening Your Stomach Make You Get Abs?

author image Carolyn Robbins
Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.
Does Tightening Your Stomach Make You Get Abs?
A man lifting his shirt to reveal strong abs. Photo Credit leaf/iStock/Getty Images

Endless repetitions of crunches and situps aren't the only way to get the abs of your dreams. A simple exercise called "drawing in" can improve your core tone considerably. The exercise requires no equipment and can be performed in any situation, whether it's sitting in your car on the way to work or walking around the office. Simply tighten and relax your stomach muscles to build strength and stamina.


Assume a sitting, standing or prone position. Draw your shoulder blades back and down, then tighten your core muscles. Imagine that you are pulling your belly button into the small of your back with your abdominal muscles. Alternately, brace your core as if you were about to be punched in the stomach, suggests The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds while breathing normally, then relax.


Tightening the abdominal muscles with the "drawing in" exercise is often a starting point in physical therapy. Strengthening the core not only improves athletic performance, but can also help alleviate back pain and improve balance and coordination.


While you can strengthen your core by tightening your abdominal muscles, you can't spot reduce your midsection. In order to see abdominal definition, you'll have to lose body fat if it's covering the ab muscles, which means you will have to lose weight overall.

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