You've probably heard the phrase "built like a Greek god." The Adonis belt, also known as Apollo's belt, Hercules' girdle and Aphrodite's saddle, is named after many deities from Greek mythology, male and female alike. If you're trying to achieve it, here's what you need to know.
The Adonis belt refers to the two V-shaped grooves that some bodybuilders and athletes get on their abdomen. Named after the Greek god Adonis, who was considered to be a handsome young man, these grooves are formed primarily by your inguinal ligaments. Also known as your iliac furrows, they are thick bands of connective tissue that run from your sides to your groin.
Read more: Ancient Greek Weight Training
Reduce Your Body-Fat Percentage
If you want to make your Adonis belt more prominent, you need to have a very low body-fat percentage so that the grooves can stand out. Many bodybuilders are able to achieve the Adonis belt because they have so little body fat.
In order to reduce your body-fat percentage, you need to cut calories from your diet and increase your physical activity level so that your body is forced to burn body fat for fuel, explains the Mayo Clinic. It is recommended that you cut 500 to 1,000 calories from your diet per day to lose 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week.
In terms of exercise, a combination of cardio and strength training exercises can help you get leaner, says a study published in the January-February 2014 issue of the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases. While cardio exercises help you burn calories and lose fat, strength training exercises can help you build muscle and increase your metabolic rate, notes a study published in the July-August 2012 issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports.
So, how low does your body-fat percentage have to be for your Adonis belt to make an appearance? The truth is, it depends. The American Council on Exercise notes that female athletes tend to have between 14 and 20 percent body fat, whereas male athletes tend to have between 6 and 13 percent body fat.
Read more: Body Fat Percentage for Abs
Adonis Belt Exercises
These are a few exercises that can help develop your obliques and your transverse abdominal muscles. These muscles surround your inguinal ligaments and toning them can help accentuate your Adonis belt. You can do them along with other exercises that strengthen your core, like planks and stability ball crunches.
Move 1: Lateral Heel Touches
- Lie on your back and bend your knees, bringing your heels close to your hips.
- Keep your arms straight at your sides.
- Get into crunch position by lifting your head, neck and shoulders off the floor.
- Reach with your right hand toward your right heel and then with your left hand toward your left heel.
- Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Move 2: Side Planks
- Lie on your side with your elbow directly under your shoulder and your palm on the floor.
- Raise your other arm so that your fingers are pointing towards the ceiling.
- Stack your heels one on top of the other.
- Lift your hips up off the floor.
- Hold this position for one minute.
- Repeat the move on the other side.
Move 3: Reverse Crunches
- Lie on your back with your hands beneath your head.
- Bend your knees and raise your feet about 1 foot above the floor.
- Simultaneously bring your knees toward your chest and you lift your head, neck and shoulders towards your knees.
- Lower yourself down to your original position, with your feet above the floor.
- Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
- University of Washington: “Aphrodite and Adonis”
- Mayo Clinic: “Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics”
- Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases: "The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance"
- Current Sports Medicine Reports: “Resistance Training Is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health”
- American Council on Exercises: “Percent Body Fat Calculator: Skinfold Method”