Would you like a tummy tuck without having to go through surgery? Clinically known as abdominoplasty, tummy tucks remove excess skin and fat and repair muscles in the abdominal wall that may be stretched out from pregnancy, aging or large fluctuations in weight.
The good news is that many of the results of an actual tummy tuck can be achieved through exercise and diet. And if you've actually had an abdominoplasty, it's important to maintain those results once you've recovered from your surgery.
A pooching stomach is probably a combination of excess weight and underdeveloped abdominal muscles. Exercise can give your abs definition, but if your six-pack is hidden beneath a layer of fat, nobody's going to see it. More importantly, fat around the middle isn't just unsightly, it's unhealthy, with adverse effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increased risk of diabetes.
There is no such thing as spot reduction – that is, losing weight in a targeted area, and alas, calorie reduction is non-negotiable. You must reduce your calorie intake below what you burn daily to lose fat. Cardio and strength training will help you build and conserve muscle mass while you're losing weight.
Tucking the Tummy
Exercises that require you to tuck your tummy in during the movement are a great place to start for pulling in your waistline. Some of these exercises, such as hollowing and bracing, may seem fairly passive, but do them consistently and it's quite possible their benefits will far exceed the amount of effort they seem to require.
Also known as the drawing-in maneuver and stomach vacuum, this exercise is performed by contracting your stomach into your lower spine as far as it can go and holding it. Breathe lightly while holding the pose. Abdominal hollowing can be done sitting, standing or lying down. Hollowing works the transverse abdominus, the deepest-lying of the abdominal muscles, and prevents and reduces back pain.
Bracing is what you do when you're holding plank position and squeezing your stomach muscles tight. This strengthens the obliques and the rectus abdominus, which is the sheath of muscle where ab definition is most visible.
Also known as crunches, curl-ups work the upper part of the rectus abdominus. Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent and feet planted hip-distance apart. With your hands behind your head, flex your waist to raise your upper torso from the floor. Keep your lower back on floor or mat and raise torso up as high as possible.
Lie on your back on a floor or bench. With your knees knees straight, lift your legs by flexing your hips until they are extended to the ceiling. Lower your legs until your hips and knees hover just above the surface of the mat or bench. You must bend at your hips to engage the rectus abdominis, the front abdominal muscle.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons: What Is a Tummy Tuck?
- ACE Fitness: 6 Strategies for Losing the Spare Tire
- Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation: The Effects of Abdominal Draw-In Maneuver and Core Exercise on Abdominal Muscle Thickness and Oswestry Disability Index in Subjects with Chronic Low Back Pain
- Journal of Physical Therapy Science: Comparison of the Effects of Hollowing and Bracing Exercises on Cross-sectional Areas of Abdominal Muscles in Middle-aged Women
- ExRx.net: Lying Straight Leg Raise