Bellies vs flat stomach – should women do this popular exercise?

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For a long time, there has been a debate in the fitness world about the validity of doing abdominals as a method to strengthen abdominal muscles

Can abdominals do any harm?

The long-standing belief, ingrained in the minds of women, that an effective way to get a flat abdomen are performed in countless abdominals, is systematically shattered by experts and fitness trainers.

Numerous studies, as well as the experience of experts, show that abdominals harm women. The first element that must be emphasized in the context of a flat abdomen and in relation to visible muscles is the fact that such an effect can be achieved only with a small amount of fat tissue in this area of the body. In practice, it is achievable for professional female athletes who take care of a low level of body fat and a high rate of muscle tissue

For women who are physically active and lead a healthy lifestyle, such a low level of body fat is unfavorable and can lead to many disorders. Exercising abdominal muscles alone is good, but abdominals are not the most recommended method to build muscle tissue. Doing this exercise systematically can lead to many painful health problems and complications.

Negative effects of abdominals

As research shows, regular performance of abdominals can carry serious health consequences. Exercise can lead to lowering of the pelvic organs and in the long run lead to urinary retention problems.

The abdominals increase intra-abdominal pressure, thereby decreasing abdominal space and lowering the bladder toward the vagina. In women who are postpartum, this action is especially detrimental. Moreover, studies show that ¼ of women who systematically practice abdominals are unable to tighten the pelvic floor muscles, and thus are unable to get visible abdominal muscles

The common benefits of abdominals have also mentioned the reduction of pain sensation in the spine. This myth too has been debunked by experts as this type of exercise increases tension and thus pain in the lumbar and cervical region

How to take care of abdominal muscles?

Specialists in the field of physiotherapy and fitness unanimously emphasize that there are many other exercises that are more effective in building abdominal muscle tissue. General strength and endurance workouts are definitely a better way to strengthen muscles. What’s more, the exercises benefit not only the upper body, but engage the entire body to work. As a result, the body develops evenly, blood circulation and blood pressure improves.

Specialists in the health of the spine and pelvic floor muscles recommend visiting a urogynecological physiotherapist before starting abdominal muscle strengthening exercises. This appointment allows you to check your current state of health, pelvic floor muscle strength, and abdominal muscle conditioning.

Exercises, even less harmful than abdominal exercises, are not recommended for all women. This group includes, among others, ladies who have problems with the white line. Exercises for the abdominal muscles can in this case lead to an aggravation of the separation of the rectus abdominis muscle.

Main photo: Jonathan Borba/

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