Archive for the ‘Abs’ Category

Flatten Your Tummy: How to Get a Flat Tummy Fast

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Flatten Tummy
Creative Commons License photo credit: lululemon athletica

In the gym my friends are constantly asking me about how to flatten their tummy. Is it a diet trick? Perhaps some sort of flat tummy workout? Actually, its not as secret as you might think. It does involve quite a lot of discipline though.

In this article I am going to show you how to flatten your tummy fast. If you follow these steps you will have that tight, firm and fat free tummy that you have been trying to achieve for years.

Why do we want to flatten our tummy?

I used to think about this a lot. Why are women so obsessed with a flat tummy? I used to think it was an unhealthy obsession that we had picked up from the media, Hollywood, etc. We see stars like Jessica Alba, Lady Gaga, Miranda Kerr, etc. and we want to have bodies like theirs.

But recently I read a study that showed that a belly is a very important indicator of health and, in actual fact, humans have used the belly to gauge the health of a mate for thousands of years. If your belly is too big you might not be able to provide for the family – that was the thinking.

Now science is showing us that even small amounts of belly fat can increase the likelihood of cancer, heart disease and so on. It is extremely important to be at a healthy body weight.

How much fat is healthy?

The Australian Government has put out some guidelines for what is a healthy amount of fat to have on your belly. They have been trying to get people to lose the fat because it is costing the health care system millions of dollars every year in heart attacks and cancer medicine. Lose the fat and you can potentially prevent a lot of this stuff from happening.

If your waist size is more than 80 cm you are at an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. If you are over 88 cm you are at a greatly increased risk. This should be motivation enough to change.

How to get a flat tummy

Flat Tummy
Creative Commons License photo credit: lululemon athletica

To get a flat tummy you need to take a double headed approach: diet and exercise. You need to put about 80% of your energy in to getting your diet right. And for the exercise, you need to make sure you doing a mixture of high intensity, low intensity, static and resistance exercises. We want to burn calories and boost your metabolism whilst building muscle.

1. Reduce meal sizes by 10%
If you can reduce your meal sizes by 10% you will begin a very good habit that will allow you to lose over 10kg of fat each year. And, more importantly, you will establish a routine that will stop you from gaining the fat back.

You see, a flat and tight tummy comes from losing the fat that is covering your ab muscles. The best way to do this is by reducing the amount of energy you consume over the long term. Try not going back for seconds at dinner time and buying smaller bowls so you eat smaller sized meals.

2. Drink water before every meal
In the same fashion, by drinking a tall glass of water before every meal you will reduce the size of your appetite. This will help you consume less calories and therefore spend less time at the gym. Every time you eat something you should have a glass of water first. Its easy.

3. Eat before you get hungry
Don’t wait until you are starving. Eat before you get hungry. The idea here is that you will eat a lot less and snack on less junk food. Eat when you are hungry and eat until you are full. This is very important.

4. Exercise every single day, even just a bit
I have an exercise bike in my TV room. I will pick one TV show per day and ride the bike during that show. For example, if you like watching the news you can ride your bike while you watch. If you don’t have a bike you can do sit ups, push ups and other types of exercise. Do it every single day and you will burn so many calories while you feel like you are relaxing at home.

5. Drink green tea
Green tea can help you speed up your metabolism and keeps you healthy and well. It also works towards keeping you feeling full.

6. Do high intensity exercise twice a week
We have written so much on the benefits of high intensity exercise. It builds up your muscles and gets your metabolism boosting. It also burns a lot more calories than a slow walk on the treadmill. Take a look at this article for some other ideas. Some of my favorites are:

7. Do Pilates for your abs
Pilates abs exercises are a great way to get a flat tummy. Some of the best ones are the swiss ball jack knife and the Pilates crunch.


A flat tummy is achievable but it takes time and discipline. Every woman can do it as long as you have the right tools. Read this blog and all our archives and you will have more than enough real information to start you on your flat tummy journey.

The Pilates Abs Crunch: How to Get a Flat Stomach [VIDEO]

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Well here it is! Free Women’s Fitness has started filming our own instructional videos to help all of our fans and friends learn new exercises and better workouts. In this video Pilates expert Tamara will show you how to do a proper crunch. She also tells you how to engage your core muscles and pelvic floor so that you actually target the correct muscles.

This is a must see video for beginners and experts because it really highlights how tricky even just a basic crunch can be. But, if you master this you will be well on your way to a flat stomach and toned abs. Please subscribe to our Youtube Channel or email updates to make sure you don’t miss out on the next video.

How to do the Swiss Ball Jackknife & Get a Flat Stomach & Toned Abs

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

swiss ball jackknife for toned abs

If you have been doing abs work for a while now you will, undoubtedly, be looking for some new exercises to keep your abdominal workouts spicy. Today I am going to show you how to do a Swiss Ball Jackknife – a very powerful exercises for working your lower and upper abs as well as your back and arms.

Preparing for the Swiss Ball Jackknife

Before you do any abdominal exercise you need to make sure you have covered a few areas. These include:

  • Ensuring you use the proper technique
    Make sure you always study the exercise well and learn how to do it with the perfect technique. If you perform any exercise incorrectly you run the risk of developing a long term injury that will haunt you for years.
  • Ensuring you warm up
    Make sure you do a warm up before you do any resistance exercise. Again, this helps to prevent injuries.
  • Ensuring you target the right muscles
    You would be surprised to know how many women do exercises that they think targets one muscle but, in fact, it targets something completely different. Before you do this exercise you need to know where your abdominal muscles are located and how they work.

Once you have these three things under control you will be ready to start the exercise. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to perform every exercise with the perfect technique. It will prevent injuries and help you get that sexy body a lot quicker.

How to do the Swiss Ball Jackknife for Toned Abs

Now we can move on to the exciting part! This exercise is an amazing way to target your upper and lower abs in one exercise. It also hits your arms and shoulders, your back and even your butt and legs. Many women find this is a great exercise to toned the whole body as it requires strength from a lot of different areas to complete properly.

Engage your pelvic floor muscles
It is very important when performing abdominal exercises that you engage your core muscles correctly. If you don’t you run the risk of completely missing out on the work that your lower abs should be doing. They simply won’t engage. To turn on your core you need to engage your pelvic floor muscles (the ones that you tense when you are busting for the toilet). You also need to tense your major abs muscles by pulling your belly button in as far as you can. Hold this throughout the exercise.

STEP ONE – Position Yourself on the Swiss Ball

Swiss ball jackknife position one

The first part of the jackknife is done by positioning your body on the Swiss ball in the correct posture. Without the correct posture your whole exercise will feel unbalanced and weak. To do this you need to:

  • Place your feet on the ball so they are balanced and stable. Close together is best but you can have a little space if you need it.
  • Place your hands shoulder width a part and lock your elbows so you can support your body weight.
  • Make sure that your shoulders are back by lengthening the distance between your ear and your shoulders
  • Make sure your back is perfectly straight; not curved upwards or downwards. This is vital.
  • Tense your abs and pelvic floor muscles.

Make sure you feel comfortable and secure. It will take some practice to get the balance correct but if you keep your posture as illustrated above you will find the stability comes quite naturally.

STEP TWO – The Actual Jackknife “Crunch” Movement

step two for the jackknife swiss ball exercise

From the initial starting position you will now do the main jackknife or “crunch” part of the movement which is where the majority of the work is done. In order to do this correctly you need to:

  • Very slowly bring your knees toward your chest by crunching your abs and rolling the fitness ball forward
  • At the top of the motion you tense your abs again as you breathe out
  • Very slowly return your legs to the original position making sure your abs stay tensed and firm

Repeat the above sets until your abs are too tired to continue. This is called “failure”. You should fail after about 15 to 20 repetitions if your technique is correct. Make sure you do not continue if your execution starts to get sloppy as you will not be targeting the correct muscles and you might do yourself an injury.


The Swiss Ball jackknife is an amazing exercise for toning your abs and getting a flat stomach. It is quite advanced so build up slowly by performing a regular pilates abs crunch. When you feel like you are ready get your fitness ball and go for it! You will see results in just a few sessions.