This guest post is written by Dr. Liza, a chiropractic doctor, manual therapy expert, myofascial release expert and founder of the Cosmetic Chiropractic method, one of Hollywood’s favourite beauty secrets. When she’s not treating celebrities, Dr. Liza extols her holistic chiropractic approach on clients at the[fix], her boutique clinic in Toronto’s Financial District.
We all know that a good diet and exercise regime are vital to maintaining a trim physique. But when it comes to flattening and toning your stomach – those alone won’t do the trick. It’s equally important to practice exercises and postures to keep your pelvis and hips aligned because misalignment in this area results in a protruding abdomen – even on a thin person! Incorporate these five posture fixes into your weekly routine to keep your stomach looking svelte:
1) Dancer’s pose: Stand with your feet together. Bend one knee and reach for your ankle behind you. Your fingers should be on the outside of your ankle while your thumb wraps around the inner part. Raise your other arm towards the ceiling. Keeping your knees facing forward, gently kick your leg back into your hand. Let the weight of your foot in your hand tilt your hip forward as your leg extends behind you – until you feel a stretch across your chest and hip. You should be looking directly in front of you with your raised arm parallel to the ground.Try to hold this pose for one minute and repeat it twice on each side.
What it does: Tight hip flexors can cause your pelvis to tilt forward, creating the appearance of a protruding abdomen – even on a thin frame. This posture not only helps to stretch your hip flexors but it also strengthens your core, glutes and legs simultaneously.
2) Side bend: Stand with your feet together. Extend your arms over your head and interlock your fingers, then release your pointer fingers and point them towards the ceiling. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, slowly bend to one side until you feel a nice stretch. The key is making sure your upper body stays parallel to the front of the room and does not collapse or twist inward. With each breath out, try to go deeper into the posture. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds and repeat it twice on each side.
What it does: This is one of the most effective stomach toning postures because it engages your obliques and deep core muscles while instantly elongating them for a taller, leaner appearance.
3) Pelvic Tilt: Lie down with your back on the floor, knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Put one hand behind the small of your back. Tilt your pelvis so that you squish your hand into the floor. Hold this for five seconds to complete a pelvic tilt. After practicing this movement while lying on the ground, try doing it standing.
What it does: Often a result of too much sitting, tight hip flexor muscles cause your pelvis to tilt forward and create a protruding stomach, even if you’re thin. This little exercise helps to bring your pelvis (and stomach!) back into alignment and also reduces back pain by engaging your core and pelvic muscles.
4) Plank: Lying on your stomach on the floor, place your forearms on the ground in front of you with your elbows in in line with your shoulders. Next, place your toes on the ground with your heels facing the ceiling. Use your upper body and core to pull yourself up onto your elbows. Your body should be parallel to the floor while your back remains flat. You should feel your core muscles working hard as you hold the posture for 30 seconds. Repeat twice.
What it does: It’s no surprise that this popular core exercise still belongs on this list. Not only does it work your deepest core muscles, it also strengthens your glutes, hamstrings and promotes proper posture.
5) Toppling tree: Stand with your feet together. Extend your arms over your head and interlock your fingers, releasing your pointer fingers and pointing them towards the ceiling. Take one step in front of you and slowly bend forward as your back leg extends straight behind you, with your toes pointing to the back wall. You should be looking straight ahead while keeping your arms next to your ears. Stop bending forward when your back is parallel to the floor. Try to keep your back leg in line with the rest of the body so that you look like a ‘T’ from the side. You only need to hold this posture for 10 seconds. Repeat twice on each side.
What it does: By engaging your glutes and core at the same time, this pose is a serious posture fix. It also results in a major calorie burn because it engages so many muscles at once.