One question that I sometimes get from the seniors that I work with is; how do I get a flat stomach? The seniors that ask this question don’t want a “6 pack,” or a “washboard” stomach, but just a flatter stomach.  Often when we hear about training to improve your stomach muscles; most people see sit-ups or crunches as the solution.  So if I am not a big fan of sit-ups to achieve a flatter stomach, what do I do then? Well, here are a few reasons not just to do sit-ups and some possible solutions.

Can Be Bad For Your Back – Experiencing low back pain during sit-ups is actually a common issue.  Since sit-ups use more hip flexor and not rectus abdominals (6 pack muscle), they become over-tightened creating an additional pull on your lower back.  Also since most people already have tight-hip flexors from excessive sitting,  sit-ups will just contribute to back pain

Some Possible Solutions

  • Plank
  • Side Plank
  • Glute Bridge

Doesn’t fully replicate the function of our abs – I don’t know if you knew this, but our abs move in several directions, and not just flexion.  Additionally, if you have Osteoporosis, the forward flexion from Sit-ups isn’t a movement that I would encourage.  One major movement that abs are also involved in is anti-rotation.  

Some possible solutions

  • Side Plank (See Above)
  • Band/Cable anti-rational holds
Anti Rotation (picture From Sierra.com)

Won’t get you a flat stomach – I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret.  The majority of getting a flatter stomach has to do with your nutrition and metabolism.  I’m not saying you need to starve yourself, but if you have a few pounds to lose, this would be the first thing I would focus on.  You can get stronger/fitter abs by doing sit-ups/ab training, but might not see your hard work if you have to lose weight or get leaner.

Some possible solutions

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