How to effectively and safely utilize stomach stretching:
Proper stomach stretching should be done prior to stomach exercises and after a proper warm up. This is true in any workout, most especially one that focuses on the abs. Stomach stretching helps ensure that your muscles won’t be ‘shocked’ into motion. This will also prevent muscle cramps and other workout – related injuries.
Is there a difference between warming up and stretching?
Yes there is. Warming up pertains to ‘waking up’ the muscles from a long period of inactivity while stretching means lengthening the muscles to give more flexibility and range and freedom of movement.
Now that you understand the basics, it is time to learn how to execute it properly. Stretching, when improperly done can cause more harm than good. Incorrect stretching of the abs may cause severe and recurring back pain so it is best to learn how it is done before engaging in this activity.
The Cat and Seal Stretch for Stomach Stretching
These are the two stretches that can be done prior during, and after any ab exercise. Seal stretches target the ab muscles while the cat stretch focus on the abs’ counterpart – the back muscles.
- Go down on all fours. Make sure that your knees are of parallel width with your shoulders. Your hands must be at least 2-3 inches wider than your shoulder and knees.
- Push down with your hips, bend your back and look up. This is the seal stretch. You should be able to feel some resistance on your obliques and ab muscles. Hold this position for approximately 3-5 seconds.
- Slowly raise your hips and arch your back upwards just like a cat stretching. Place your head between your shoulders and hold. This position is called the cat stretch. You should be able to feel your upper and lower back muscles stretch in this stance.
- Relax your back and slowly slide out your hands in front of you to end the stretching exercise.
Proper Stomach Stretching is a valuable tool for shaping the abs
By incorporating stomach stretching in your ab workout, Your lower and upper stomach muscles will develop a better chiseled shape, as well as prevent injury and strengthen the core. To help encourage a flat stomach shape, make sure to utilize your inverse and transverse abdomen muscles by pulling in your tummy during stomach stretching.