“Everyone focuses on ab moves that hit the visible rectus abdominis, the six-pack muscle. But they skip the transverse abdominis, or TVA, which is the deepest layer of abdominal muscles. The TVA helps stabilize your core in almost all body movements. A few great exercises that target the TVA include ab rollouts, dead bugs, vacuums [more on those next], and planks.”
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Suck It In.
“Performing a vacuum pose, where you pull your stomach and abdominals in as far as you can, is a great tool for training the TVA and helps give the illusion of a smaller waist onstage. Doing vacuums as part of your exercise regimen won’t make your waist physically smaller, but what it does is give you better muscle control and endurance to keep your stomach tight and pulled in. To do it, exhale all your air, suck in your belly button toward your spine, tense your core, and hold that as long as possible.”
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Wreck the Rectus
“The rectus abdominis is obviously important, too, for impressive-looking abs. Its main function is to flex the lumbar spine, so simple exercises like crunches work great. I suggest trying them on a Bosu ball for more muscular activation, and also do lower-ab movements like hanging knee and leg raises to hit the muscle from both ends.”
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Tight Waist Starts at the Table.
“Avoid any foods that cause excessive bloating—common culprits include dairy, beans, wheat, and even cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. You need to experiment and note what your body reacts to, and stick to foods in your diet that sit well and are easily digested. When everything flows through your body as it should, your stomach will remain much more flat.”
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Control Your Calories.
“To make your abdominals visible, you need to reduce your body-fat percentage, and that means a caloric deficit diet. Work on figuring out how many calories your body burns in a day, and make sure your intake is a few hundred calories below that.”