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Excerpt from "No-Risk Abs: A Safe Workout Program for Core Strength"

by Blandine Calais-Germain


Abdominal Exercises and a Flat Belly
Why Work the Abs?


- Abdominal Exercises and a Flat Belly
- Flat Belly and Protruding Belly
- “User’s Guide” to a Flat Belly
- A Flat Belly and Abdominal Strength

“User’s Guide” to a Flat Belly

- Alternate Stretching and Contracting of the Abdominals
- Alternate the Contraction of the Broad Muscles
- Alternate the Contraction of the Broad Muscles and the Rectus Abdominus
- Coordinate the Contraction of the Abdominals with One Another
- Coordinate the Contraction of the Abdominals with the Breath

Alternate Stretching and Contracting of the Abdominals

When we alternate the stretch and contraction of the muscles, the contractile fibers of the muscle change in shape and volume: this movement of the tissue promotes blood circulation to the belly of the muscle.

The recommended exercises in part 4 of this book often alternate stretching and contracting of the abdominal muscles.

Alternate the Contraction of the Broad Muscles

The broad muscles are superimposed and crossed like a latticework. They form three layers that adhere a bit to each other by way of their “envelopes”: their fascia.

When one of the obliques contracts preferentially in an exercise, it draws all three layers of muscle along with it in the direction of its contraction.

This changes the form of the other two muscles whose fibers don’t run in the same direction. They are “massaged” a little like a towel being twisted.

If on the next contraction, we focus on another oblique, the same phenomenon occurs, and the whole three layers move in another direction.

The exercises recommended in part 4 of this book often alternate the contraction of the broad muscles.

Alternate the Contraction of the Broad Muscles and the Rectus Abdominus


The broad muscles pull the anterior aponeurosis (fascial extension of the broad muscles across the front of the belly) to the outside: putting it under lateral tension.

The rectus abdominus, itself, when contracted, shortens from top to bottom along the length of the belly. It pulls the anterior aponeurosis in the same direction as its fibers.


Chapter Sixteen “No-Risk Abs” Exercises


Alternately Stretch and Contract the Abdominals
1. Stretching the Rectus Abdominus
2. Contracting the Rectus Abdominus
3. Stretching the Internal Obliques
4. Contracting the Internal Obliques
5. Stretching the External Obliques
6. Contracting the External Obliques

Contract the Abdominals and the Glutes
7. Using Arm Movement to Contract the Obliques
8. Using Leg Movement to Contract the Obliques
9. Using Leg and Arm Movement to Contract the Obliques

Coordinate All of the Abdominals
10. The Little Airplane

The Drawback Lunge
11. Stretching the Rectus Abdominus with the Drawback Lunge
12. Contracting the Rectus Abdominus with the Drawback Lunge

The Turning Lunge
13. Stretching the Obliques with the Turning Lunge
14. Contracting the Obliques with the Turning Lunge

The Side Lunge

15. Stretching the Obliques with the Side Lunge
16. Contracting the Obliques with the Side Lunge

Alternately Stretch and Contract the Abdominals

Exercise 3
Stretching the Internal Obliques
Stretching the Upper Region of the Right Internal Oblique (“Cross/Lift”)

1. Lie down on your back, the arms at your sides, and legs extended on the floor.
2. Bring the right arm across the chest and reach it on a diagonal to the upper left side of the body.
3. Feel how this stretches the top portion of the right internal oblique.
4. Return to the starting position.
5. Make the same movement on an inhalation into the ribs.
6. Return to the starting position.

Fix the Lower Part of the Right Internal Oblique to Stretch the Entire Muscle (“Cross/Turn”)

1. Open the right leg on a diagonal along the floor; externally rotate the leg from the hip.
2. Feel how this slightly turns the pelvis to the same side. Just let it turn.
3. Keep your right leg in this position as you repeat the preceding exercise, bringing your right arm across the chest and reaching it on a diagonal to the upper left side of the body.
4. Feel how the rotation of the trunk now stretches the entire right internal oblique.
5. Return to the starting position.
6. Make the same movement on an inhalation into the ribs.
7. Return to the starting position.

Repeat the Same Series on the Left Side


1. Bring the left arm across the chest and reach it on a diagonal to the upper right side of the body. Then return to the starting position.
2. Make the same movement on an inhalation into the ribs and return to the starting position.
3. Open the left leg on a diagonal along the floor, externally rotate the leg from the hip.
4. Keep your left leg in this position as you repeat the preceding exercise, bringing your left arm across the chest and reaching it on a diagonal to the upper right side of the body. Then return to the starting position.
5. Make the same movement on an inhalation into the ribs and return to the starting position.

Then you can alternate, doing the “Cross/Turn” part of exercise 3 on one side and then on the other to alternate stretching and contracting the two internal obliques.

Blandine Calais-Germain is the author of the bestselling Anatomy of Movement, The Female Pelvis: Anatomy and Exercises, and Anatomy of Breathing. In addition to being a dancer and a dance teacher, she is a certified physical therapist and attended the French School of Orthopedics and Massage in Paris. Known for her innovative method for teaching the physical structures of anatomy in relation to movement, she teaches workshops to students from all over the world. She lives in Limoux, France.

Availability: Now.

Price: $19.95

To purchase this book visit InnerTraditions.com, B&N.com, Borders or your local bookstore.

Excerpt No-Risk Abs by Blandine Calais-Germain © 2011 Healing Arts Press. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.


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